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State Sacrifices and Music in Ming China:…
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State Sacrifices and Music in Ming China: Orthodoxy, Creativity, and…

by Joseph Sui Ching Lam

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Not a layman's book but a book for anyone with a serious interest in Chinese history, Confucianism, and state rituals. As a student of Chinese history, one comes across frequent references to "state sacrifices", rituals and music, mention of "offerings of jade and silk"...but very rarely does one find explanations of what these rituals are, how they were held, and how music fit into the mix. This book covers the entire territory from the role some emperors played in determining the structure and execution of the ritual calendar to the choreography of the actual ritual. A sample 'state sacrifice' is covered in detail that includes site location, preparations, arrangement of furniture, dancer rehearsals, number of dancers, selection of musical instruments, attire of the participants, number and nature of the offerings, and the sequencing, through to the last stage of the ritual when the participants may depart (when the wooden and reed offering vessels and food are more than half consumed in the furnace). It also contains a chapter on music theory which is fascinating for anyone who has ever wondered how (tonal) Chinese can be set to melodies. The book is thin (200 pages) and at times too repetitious, nevertheless with its solid references and quoted material from court records, the single best reference I know on the topic. ( )
  pbjwelch | Jul 25, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0791437051, Hardcover)

Presents historical, ritual, and musical data preserved in authentic Ming documents illustrating the significance of state sacrifices in imperial China.

This book presents a wealth of historical, ritual, and musical data preserved in authentic Ming documents, describing ritual and musical structures, thoughts, and actions of Ming emperors and scholar-officials who practiced court ritual and music for official and personal purposes. Not only the significance of Ming dynasty state sacrifices and music are illustrated, but also the roles they played in imperial China.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:04 -0400)

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