HARVARD-YENCHING INSTITUTE MONOGRAPH SERIES
Cover: Ancestral Memory in Early China, from Harvard University PressCover: Ancestral Memory in Early China in HARDCOVER

Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series 72

Ancestral Memory in Early China

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$49.95 • £39.95 • €45.00

ISBN 9780674056077

Publication Date: 05/16/2011

Text

484 pages

6 x 9 inches

6 halftones; 2 line art

Harvard University Asia Center > Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series

World, subsidiary rights restricted

Related Subjects

Ancestral ritual in early China was an orchestrated dance between what was present (the offerings and the living) and what was absent (the ancestors). The interconnections among the tangible elements of the sacrifice were overt and almost mechanical, but extending those connections to the invisible guests required a medium that was itself invisible. Thus in early China, ancestral sacrifice was associated with focused thinking about the ancestors, with a structured mental effort by the living to reach out to the absent forebears and to give them shape and existence. Thinking about the ancestors—about those who had become distant—required active deliberation and meditation, qualities that had to be nurtured and learned.

This study is a history of the early Chinese ancestral cult, particularly its cognitive aspects. Its goals are to excavate the cult’s color and vitality and to quell assumptions that it was no more than a simplistic and uninspired exchange of food for longevity, of prayers for prosperity. Ancestor worship was not, the author contends, merely mechanical and thoughtless. Rather, it was an idea system that aroused serious debates about the nature of postmortem existence, served as the religious backbone to Confucianism, and may even have been the forerunner of Daoist and Buddhist meditation practices.

From Our Blog

Jacket: Out of My Skull: The Psychology of Boredom, by James Danckert and John D. Eastwood, from Harvard University Press

Responding to Boredom during Self-Isolation

No one likes to be bored, but it’s almost inevitable during this time of social distancing and self-quaratine. John D. Eastwood, coauthor of Out of My Skull: The Psychology of Boredom, explains some things that we know about boredom, how to address it—and even what we can gain from it. We have been here before. During the SARS outbreak of 2003, upwards of 23,000 people in the Greater Toronto Area were quarantined. House

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.