Providing an analysis of Chinese divination as a means of organizing and interpreting reality, Richard Smith examines a wide variety of mantic techniques - from the use of the hallowed Yjing to such popular practices as siting (geomancy), astrology, numerology, physiognomy, the analysis of written characters, meteorological divination, the use of mediums (including spirit-writing), and dream interpretation. As he explains the pervasiveness and tenacity of divination in China, the author explores not only the connections between various mantic techniques but also the relationship between divination and other facets of Chinese culture, including philosophy, science and medicine. He discusses the symbolism of divination, its aesthetics, its ritual aspects, and its psychological and social significance, pointing out that in traditional China divination helped to order the future, just as history helped to order the past, and rituals the present.
Table of Contents
Viewing the flowers from horseback; orthodox cosmology in the qing; the yijing in Qing society; the ways of wind and water; reading fate; spirit mediums and spirit messages.
Richard J Smith