A Chinese Bestiary
Strange Creatures from the Guideways through Mountains and Seas
Other Editions of This Title:
Unlike the bestiaries of the late medieval period in Europe, the Guideways was not interpreted allegorically; the strange creatures described in it were regarded as actual entities found throughout the landscape. The work was originally used as a sacred geography, as a guidebook for travelers, and as a book of omens. Today, it is regarded as the richest repository of ancient Chinese mythology and shamanistic wisdom. The Guideways may have been illustrated from the start, but the earliest surviving illustrations are woodblock engravings from a rare 1597 edition. Seventy-six of those plates are reproduced here for the first time, and they provide a fine example of the Chinese engraver's art during the late Ming dynasty.
This beautiful volume, compiled by a well-known specialist in the field, provides a fascinating window on the thoughts and beliefs of an ancient people, and will delight specialists and general readers alike.
Praise For A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways through Mountains and Seas…
— Asian Folklore Studies
“Richard Strassberg brings the book to life for modern readers by weaving together translations from the work itself with information from other texts to illustrate the world of early China.”
— Asian Art
". . . . [Strassberg's] work joins the ranks of Yuan Ke, Remi Mathieu and Riccardo Fracasso as being the best translation in its own language—here, English—as well as a must read for all those whose penchant is ancient Chinese studies."
— T'uong Pao
University of California Press, 9780520218444, 338pp.
Publication Date: January 29, 2003