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Kingship, Ritual, and Royal Ideology in Western Zhou China
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  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: October 2022
  • Print publication year: 2022
  • Online ISBN: 9781009042741
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Book description

In accounts of Chinese history, the Western Zhou period has been lionized as a golden age of ritual, when kings created the ceremonies that underlay the traditions of imperial governance. In this book, Paul Nicholas Vogt rediscovers their roots in the vagaries of Western Zhou royal geopolitics through an investigation of inscriptions on bronze vessels, the best contemporary source for this period. He shows how the kings of the Western Zhou adapted ritual to create and retain power, while introducing changes that affected later remembrances of Zhou royal ritual and that shaped the tradition of statecraft throughout Chinese history. Using ritual and social theory to explain Western Zhou history, Vogt traces how the traditions of pre-modern China were born, how a ruling dynasty establishes and holds on to power, how religion and politics can support and restrain each other, and how ancient peoples made, used, and assigned meaning to art and artifacts.

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