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The Mythology Of Early China

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Chapter Summary

This chapter surveys early Chinese "mythology". This is a topic that did not exist prior to the 20th century, because the very notion of a "mythology" did not emerge within China, but was imported from the West. The chapter begins with a brief review of earlier systematic studies, in order to understand why modern scholars perceived an absence of mythology in the face of clear evidence to the contrary. It then discusses the problem of defining the term "myth," a problem which is central to the earlier question of prior investigations of the Chinese case. The chapter also groups the most important earlier Chinese myths into five categories: myths of the early culture-hero sage kings, myths of historical figures, myths of figures found in tombs, myths related to local cults, and myths related to crafts.

Keywords: crafts; culture-hero sage kings; early Chinese mythology; Han tombs; historical myths; local mythology



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    Early Chinese Religion, Part One: Shang through Han (1250 BC-220 AD) (2 vols) — Recommend this title to your library
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