Recent discoveries of bronze ritual vessels from ancient China provide the ground for this collection of essays, which focus in particular on the nature and patterns of family lineages as seen from these artifacts found in tombs throughout north China. Based on careful readings of the inscriptions on the bronze vessels, the editor and his eight contributors reconstruct the genealogies, kinship structures, political identities, and relationship networks of leading families and individuals from Bronze-Age China.
The rich scholarship also contributes to our understanding of the archaeology, chronology, warfare, and legal structures of ancient China.
EDWARD L. SHAUGHNESSY is the Lorraine J. and Herrlee G. Creel Distinguished Service Professor in Early China Studies at the University of Chicago. Most recently the author of Unearthing the Changes: Recently Discovered Manuscripts of the Yi jing (I Ching) and Related Texts (Columbia University Press, 2014) and Haiwai Yi jian zhi (Firm-and-Even’s Records from Beyond the Seas; Shanghai Guji chubanshe, 2016), he specializes in the textual heritage of ancient China,both the received literary tradition and also unearthed documents.
The bronze inscriptions from ancient China are far too important to be left to the specialized archaeologists alone. Professor Shaughnessy and his group of leading practitioners of the arcane art of teasing out the meaning implicit and explicit in these extraordinarily difficult—often only recently discovered—inscriptions allow us to look over their shoulders as they struggle valiantly with some of the richest sources from the earliest stages of Chinese intellectual ethnography and literary culture. This volume provides the kind of hands-on and well-documented exploratory philology that opens up a wide field of general discussion concerning an early formative stage of Chinese civilization.
—Christoph Harbsmeier, Professor Emeritus of Chinese, University of Oslo
This collection of essays offers in-depth research on the political, economic, cultural,and social implications of kinship ties in ancient China, using first-hand texts from ritual bronze inscriptions to tease out the intimate and personal as well as the public and formal that form the complex web of history in ancient China. Drawing from both traditional and the latest archaeological materials, international scholars contribute their multi-faceted perspectives on one of the most important issues in early China studies—a valuable and up-to-date resource for both scholars and students.
—Jenny F. So, Retired Professor of Fine Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Imprints of Kinship is a collection of nine scholarly articles originally presented at an international conference which was held at University of Chicago. It involved nine renowned scholars; each of them discussed their latest research findings on the recently discovered ancient Chinese bronze vessels from different perspectives. These informative and comprehensive articles served as excellent examples that demonstrate how artistic features and bronze inscriptions could relate to archeological studies. It is without doubt that both professionals and the general public would find this volume inspiring.
—Cheung Kwong Yue, Alex, Chair Professor of Chinese, Hang Seng Management College
This volume consists of erudite essays by internationally renowned scholars as well as younger contributors. Rarely is there a collection of artworks with such breadth and depth that can stimulate new ideas. The Shouyang Studio collection is one such case. Despite the fact that Zhou bronzes have long been studied, admired and collected for centuries, we have by no means exhausted this field of study. The present volume uses new data—newly excavated materials—to decode the relationships of various peoples, as well as to solve the mystery, among many others, regarding the location of Rui.
—Josh C. Yiu, Director of Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong