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Ritual Practices For Constructing Terrestrial

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Chapter Summary

The system of the Nine Provinces originates from a step-by-step ordering of terrestrial space by the mythical emperor Yu. This chapter reconsiders the transmitted descriptions of the Nine Provinces with respect to their process-oriented character and explores the recently discovered description of the Nine Provinces in the Rong Cheng shi manuscript, where sequence of establishing the provinces is accentuated. The chapter explores the demarcation line between two versions of Yu's regulating actions: establishing an "administrative" territorial division devoid of any allusions to spirits as opposed to creating a "spiritual landscape" by means of divine support. It then calls attention to the typological similarity of Yu's regulating actions to the so-called "tours of inspection," whose initiation was attributed to Yu's predecessor, Emperor Shun. The association of Yu with spirits that can be traced in a series of transmitted texts has been strongly confirmed by the finds of Warring States/early Han manuscripts.

Keywords: early Han manuscripts; Emperor Shun; emperor Yu; Nine Provinces; ritual practices; Rong Cheng shi; Rong Cheng shi manuscript; spiritual landscape; terrestrial space; warring states



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