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Astrology and Cosmology in Early China: Conforming Earth to by David W. Pankenier

By David W. Pankenier

The traditional chinese language have been profoundly encouraged by means of the solar, Moon and stars, making continual efforts to reflect astral phenomena in shaping their civilization. during this pioneering textual content, David W. Pankenier introduces readers to a heavily understudied box, illustrating how astronomy formed the tradition of China from the very starting and the way it motivated parts as disparate as paintings, structure, calendrical technology, fantasy, expertise, and political and armed forces decision-making. As in different places within the old global, there has been no optimistic contrast among astronomy and astrology in old China, and so astrology, or extra accurately, astral omenology, is a imperative concentration of the ebook. Drawing on a huge diversity of assets, together with archaeological discoveries, classical texts, inscriptions and paleography, this thought-provoking publication files the position of astronomical phenomena within the improvement of the 'Celestial Empire' from the past due Neolithic throughout the overdue imperial interval.

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Ruggles (1999); Aveni (2008b); Magli (2009); Kelley and Milone (2011); Campion (2012). A popular but informative online sketch of archaeoastronomical methodology is www. htm#2. For a critical survey of the progress of the discipline in recent decades, see Ruggles (2011). ” 6 Astrology and Cosmology in Early China: Conforming Earth to Heaven China’s first great historian, Sima Qian (fl. ” By the early Bronze Age, toward the very end of the third millennium BCE, attention had already begun to focus on the circumpolar region as the abode of the sky god Di, and from this time forward the north celestial Pole increasingly became a locus of spiritual significance.

Though the casting of nativities (horoscopic astrology or genethliology) did not figure in ancient China’s astrological repertoire, the increasing complexity of astromantic theory in Han times was accompanied by a proliferation of calendrical prohibitions and devotions directed toward quasi-astral deities and spirits. The ancient cult of Taiyi, “Supreme One,” the numinous cosmic force resident at the Pole, was elevated to a prominent place in the imperial state sacrifices, being imaginatively linked in contemporary iconography with the image of the Supernal Lord driving his starry carriage (Ursa Major) around the Pole: 14 This term qi is often left untranslated in view of the difficulty of devising a satisfactory English equivalent that captures its protean properties.

Part One, “Astronomy and cosmology in the time of dragons,” begins the story in the late Neolithic, as early polities were assuming precedent-setting shape. Chapter 1, “Astronomy begins at Taosi,” starts with a discussion of the recent archaeological discoveries of altar platforms (later denoted “numinous terraces,” ling tai) dedicated to ritualized celestial observation. Their discovery has pushed back the beginnings of Chinese astronomy and calendrical science into the third millennium BCE. Taking as its starting point the earliest account of the symbiotic relationship between dragons and human society, Chapter 2, “Watching for dragons,” delves into dragon lore and symbolism in the earliest period.

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