• Portents in Early Imperial China: Observational Patterns from the "Spring and Autumn" Weft Profoundly Immersed Herptile (Qiantan ba 潛潭巴)

    Author(s):
    Grégoire Espesset (see profile)
    Date:
    2019
    Subject(s):
    China, Middle Ages, Civilization, Classical, History, Ancient, Literature, History, Science, Apocryphal books
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    portents, knowledge, fragments, Science and Politics, Early medieval China, Late Antiquity, Textual studies, Literary history, History of science, Pseudepigrapha
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/jn22-xs51
    Abstract:
    Still neglected by European-language research, the 'Weft' or 'Apocrypha' contain a wealth of data relevant to Chinese history in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. These texts, whose Chinese name (wei 緯) denotes the crosswise threads of woven fabric, have long been perceived as arcane supplements to the 'Classics' (called jing 經, the lengthwise threads). Repeatedly prohibited and destroyed, they survive mainly as citations today. This paper focuses on the remnants of one of them, anonymous and fragmentary, which mostly present extrapolations derived from observed phenomena interpreted as signs. By comparing the observed patterns to the typology of portents in the official monographs on celestial phenomena and the Five Agents of the era, the paper sheds light on the logic at work in the interpretative process.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    9 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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