The Book of Burial defined fengshui for the first time: it integrated various local beliefs and practices into the dominant Confucian tradition. It is, therefore, key to any understanding of Chinese culture. Based on the edition of the Book of Burial (Zang Shu) most popular during the last millennium, this translation makes available the text that links the widespread Chinese practice of fengshui (geomancy) to the fundamental beliefs and moral principles of Chinese culture. This annotation and commentary serve to place the text and the history of burial ritual in the proper cultural context. The translator's introduction, which explores the questions of the interaction between elite and folk culture and the continuity of tradition, suggests an interdisciplinary approach to the study of fengshui.
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Juwen Zhang received his PhD in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania in 2001, and teaches as Luce Junior Professor of Chinese Language and Culture at Williamette University. His research interests include ritual symbolism, material culture, popular culture, ethnicity, identity, sociolinguistics, and Chinese and overseas Chinese folklore.Review:
"Professor Zhang's [book] is a major contribution to our understanding of Chinese culture. The Book of Burial is one the oldest and most widely cited manuals for geomancy, central to any understanding of the practice of geomancy during the last several centuries and its connections to both underlying cosmological ideas and the school of thought variously termed Neo-Confucianism or the Learning of the Way (Daoxue)....Professor Zhang's decision to include illustrations from three geomancy books adds enormously to this volume." - (from the Commendatory Preface) Patricia Ebrey, University of Washington"
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