The Vermilion Bird: T'ang Images of the South

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University of California Press, 1967 - Travel - 380 pages
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In the seventh century the great T'ang nation was obliged to reconquer the southernmost portion of what had been considered Chinese territory for many centuries, a region today corresponding roughly with northern Vietnam and the Chinese provinces of Guangxi and Guangdong. The Vermilion Bird attempts to recover the actual character of the monsoon realms of T'ang-a scattering of palisaded garrisons, isolated monasteries, and commercial towns, all surrounded by dark, haunted woods. Professor Schafer examines the thoughts, emotions, imaginations, and daily lives of the men of that era, through the medium of their literature, for evidence of the changes inspired by this new environment, and especially for signs of the transformation of the ancient symbol of the South, the sacred vermilion bird. The Journal of Asian Studies called this book: A work of immense and devoted scholarship, a mine of fascinating information, a delight to read, and an indispensable work of reference on Medieval China.

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A unique account of Southeast Asia as seen by Tang Dynasty Chinese, discussing not only the people but animals, plants and exotic products. Read full review

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