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10 The Discourse about Lords (Zhuhou) in the Huainanzi

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Chapter Summary

Methodologically, this chapter presents the Huainanzi passages on the zhuhou in different clusters that, depending on the textual stream upon which they draw, invest the term zhuhou with different meanings or with a different purpose. Two Huainanzi passages serve as reminders that mere consent of the lords does not necessarily signify lasting success. The chapter discusses that all the entries on lords in the Huainanzi calendar have a corresponding passage in either the Liji or the Lüshi chunqiu shows that the Huainanzi compilers had little inclination to grant the zhuhou a more prominent place in their ritual calendar than in the calendars that they were, most probably, drawing on. In other words, the Huainanzi adapts the Laozi's statement, which discourages contact between people of different states, to mean that contact between the lords, in the form of visits to each other's domains, should be minimal or, preferably, nonexistent.

Keywords: Huainanzi; Lüshi chunqiu; Laozi; Liji; zhuhou



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