Cover image for The Stele Inscriptions of Ch'in Shih-huang: Text and Ritual in Early Chinese Imperial Representation By Martin Kern

The Stele Inscriptions of Ch'in Shih-huang

Text and Ritual in Early Chinese Imperial Representation

Martin Kern

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$39.50 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-940490-15-4

229 pages
7" × 10"
2000
Distributed by Penn State University Press for American Oriental Society

American Oriental Series

The Stele Inscriptions of Ch'in Shih-huang

Text and Ritual in Early Chinese Imperial Representation

Martin Kern

This study revisits the six inscriptions originally carved into stone by the first emperor of China, Ch’in Shih-huang (reigned as emperor 221–210 B.C.). Rejecting the traditional difference between “Legalist” and “Confucian” scholars as inaccurate, the author proposes a new reading of Ch’in history that sees the Ch’in emperior’s patronage of scholarship as no different from that of many of his successors. Supporting scholars who justified his rule, he took measures to restrict writings opposed to him.

 

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  • Table of Contents
This study revisits the six inscriptions originally carved into stone by the first emperor of China, Ch’in Shih-huang (reigned as emperor 221–210 B.C.). Rejecting the traditional difference between “Legalist” and “Confucian” scholars as inaccurate, the author proposes a new reading of Ch’in history that sees the Ch’in emperior’s patronage of scholarship as no different from that of many of his successors. Supporting scholars who justified his rule, he took measures to restrict writings opposed to him.

1. Introduction

2. Annotated translation

The inscription on Mt. I

The inscription on Mt. T’ai

The inscription on Mt. Lang-yeh>br>

The inscription on Mt. Chih-fu

The inscription on the eastern vista of Mt. Chih-fu>br>

The inscription at the gate of Chieh-shih

The inscription on Mt. K’uai-chi

3. The stele inscriptions in Ch’in Shih-huang’s ritual system

The notion of the stone inscription

The bronze and chime-stone inscriptions of the pre-imperial Ch’in ancestral temple

The tour of inspection and the sacrifices to cosmic spirits

4. A structual analysis of the inscriptions

The ritual text as a textual series

The sequential topical structure

The phenomenon of self-reference

The force of redundancy and restriction: manifestations of ritual language

5. Towards a historical interpretation of the inscriptions

Between Ch’in history and Han historiography

The continuity of traditional thought and ritual practice

Scholarship and authority in the early empire

Bibliography

Index

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