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Extra info for Confucian China and Its Modern Fate, Volume 2: The Problem of Monarchial Decay

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Foundation of the Western Zhou state 31 Fig. 1 The Wei River valley at present-day Baoji (photograph by the author) almost constantly served as the heartland of China. Certainly its fertile soil and abundant water resources in a wide valley defended on its edges by mountains are among the factors that contributed to its suitability as royal or imperial capital. 5 On its southern edge the peaks of the Qinling Mountains rise abruptly, many of them to as much as 3,000 meters above sea level, cutting the valley off from southern Shaanxi (Fig.

See Wu Hung, Monumentality in Early Chinese Art and Architecture (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995), p. 63. Introduction 11 Zhou is the earliest time from which written records have been passed down to us through the long textual tradition. These contemporaneous or nearly contemporaneous written records can be seen first of all in the (Book of Documents). 18 While these chapters are critical sources of early Western Zhou history, providing us with the basic outline of the period, there is, unfortunately, only one chapter, the “L¨uxing” , in the entire Shangshu that purports to speak about the middle–late Western Zhou period, particularly about the reign of King Mu.

Introduction 19 the oracle-bone inscriptions to Shang settlements in that area; and presence of sites with Shang-style cultural contents. The two conditions must be simultaneously satisfied in order to claim an area to be politically Shang. In practice, however, this methodology meets major obstacles in Shang studies. The Shang inscriptions certainly do not suggest correlations between placenames they record and the present-day geography. Since such connections have to be made through later geographical records, and in view of the great gap in time between Shang and the geographically well-documented imperial period, the accuracy of pinpointing place-names in Shang inscriptions on the ground can always be questioned.

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Confucian China and Its Modern Fate, Volume 2: The Problem of Monarchial Decay by Joseph R. Levenson


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