New Book: Astrology and Cosmology in Early China

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

 *   DATE PUBLISHED: November 2013
 *   AVAILABILITY: Available
 *   FORMAT: Hardback
 *   ISBN: 9781107006720

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.

Table of Contents

Part I. Astronomy and Cosmology in the Time of Dragons:
1. Astronomy begins at Taosi
2. Watching for dragons
Part II. Aligning with Heaven:
3. Looking to the supernal lord
4. Bringing heaven down to earth
5. Astral revelation and the origins of writing
Part III. Planetary Omens and Cosmic Ideology:
6. The cosmo-political mandate
7. The rhetoric of the supernal
8. Cosmology and the calendar
Part IV. Warring States and Han Astral Portentology:
9. Astral prognostication and the battle of Chengpu
10. A new astrological paradigm
Part V. One With the Sky:
11. Cosmic capitals
12. Temporality and the fabric of space-time
13. The sky river and cosmography
14. Planetary portentology east and west
Appendix. Astrology for an empire: the ‘treatise on the celestial offices’ in The Grand Scribe’s Records (c.100 BCE)

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