Astrology and Cosmology in Early China

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 10, 2013 - History - 589 pages
The ancient Chinese were profoundly influenced by the Sun, Moon and stars, making persistent efforts to mirror astral phenomena in shaping their civilization. In this pioneering text, David W. Pankenier introduces readers to a seriously understudied field, illustrating how astronomy shaped the culture of China from the very beginning and how it influenced areas as disparate as art, architecture, calendrical science, myth, technology, and political and military decision-making. As elsewhere in the ancient world, there was no positive distinction between astronomy and astrology in ancient China, and so astrology, or more precisely, astral omenology, is a principal focus of the book. Drawing on a broad range of sources, including archaeological discoveries, classical texts, inscriptions and paleography, this thought-provoking book documents the role of astronomical phenomena in the development of the 'Celestial Empire' from the late Neolithic through the late imperial period.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Part One Astronomy and cosmology in the time
11
Looking to the Supernal Lord
83
Bringing Heaven down to Earth
118
Astral revelation and the origins of writing
149
The cosmopolitical mandate
193
The rhetoric of the supernal
220
Cosmology and the calendar
242
Cosmic capitals
317
Temporality and the fabric of spacetime
351
l3 The Sky River and cosmography
383
l4 Planetary portentology East and West
404
Epilogue
442
Glossary
512
References
529
Index
570

Astral pro gnostication and the Battle of Chengpu
261

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About the author (2013)

David W. Pankenier is Professor of Chinese at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania. His current research interests range from the history of ideas in early China, to archaeoastronomy and cultural astronomy. He is particularly interested in the connection between rare astronomical phenomena and epoch-making political and military events in ancient China.

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