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Inscribing death : burials, representations, and remembrance in Tang China / Jessey J.C. Choo

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Material Type
Choo, Jessey J. C., 1973- author.
Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press, 2022.


1 online resource (xxiii, 273 pages) : illustrations
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computer c rdamedia
online resource cr rdacarrier
online resource cr rdacarrier
Description based upon print version of record.
Frontmatter -- Contents -- Acknowledgments -- Conventions, Translations, and Abbreviations -- Dynastic Chronology -- Tang Dynasty Rulers and Reign-Periods -- Introduction -- 1. The Rise and Normalization of Familial Joint-Burial -- 2. Spousal Joint- and Disjoint-Burials -- 3. Burial Divinations -- 4. The Hun-Summoning Burial -- Epilogue. The Speakers for the Dead -- Appendix: The Muzhiming of the Late [Lady] Zhangsun -- Notes -- References -- Index -- About the Author
This nuanced study traces how Chinese came to view death as an opportunity to fashion and convey social identities and memories during the medieval period (200-1000) and the Tang dynasty (618-907), specifically. As Chinese society became increasingly multicultural and multireligious, to achieve these aims people selectively adopted, portrayed, and interpreted various acts of remembrance. Included in these were new and evolving burial, mourning, and commemorative practices: joint-burials of spouses, extended family members, and coreligionists; relocation and reburial of bodies; posthumous marriage and divorce; interment of a summoned soul in the absence of a body; and many changes to the classical mourning and commemorative rites that became the norm during the period. Individuals independently constructed the socio-religious meanings of a particular death and the handling of corpses by engaging in and reviewing acts of remembrance. Drawing on a variety of sources, including hundreds of newly excavated entombed epitaph inscriptions, Inscribing Death illuminates the process through which the living--and the dead--negotiated this multiplicity of meanings and how they shaped their memories and identities both as individuals and as part of collectives. In particular, it details the growing emphasis on remembrance as an expression of filial piety and the grave as a focal point of ancestral sacrifice. The work also identifies different modes of construction and representation of the self in life and death, deepening our understanding of ancestral worship and its changing modus operandi and continuous shaping influence on the most intimate human relationships--thus challenging the current monolithic representation of ancestral worship as an extension of families rather than individuals in medieval China.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Local Note
Burial -- China -- History -- To 1500.
Funeral rites and ceremonies -- China -- History -- To 1500.
Mourning customs -- China -- History -- To 1500.
Collective memory -- China -- History -- To 1500.
Burial. (OCoLC)fst00841751
Collective memory. (OCoLC)fst01739814
Funeral rites and ceremonies. (OCoLC)fst00936223
Mourning customs. (OCoLC)fst01028403
China. (OCoLC)fst01206073
RELIGION / History.
Chronological Term
To 1500
Electronic books.
History. (OCoLC)fst01411628
Other Form:
Print version: Choo, Jessey J. C. Inscribing Death Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press,c2022 9780824893231
9780824893224 (electronic bk.)
0824893220 (electronic bk.)
9780824893217 (electronic bk.)
0824893212 (electronic bk.)