The ancient Chinese were profoundly influenced by the Sun, Moon and stars, making persistent efforts to mirror astral phenomena in shaping their civilization. In this pioneering text, David W. Pankenier introduces readers to a seriously understudied field, illustrating how astronomy shaped the culture of China from the very beginning and how it influenced areas as disparate as art, architecture, calendrical science, myth, technology, and political and military decision-making. As elsewhere in the ancient world, there was no positive distinction between astronomy and astrology in ancient China, and so astrology, or more precisely, astral omenology, is a principal focus of the book. Drawing on a broad range of sources, including archaeological discoveries, classical texts, inscriptions and paleography, this thought-provoking book documents the role of astronomical phenomena in the development of the 'Celestial Empire' from the late Neolithic through the late imperial period.
David W. Pankenier is Professor of Chinese at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania. His current research interests range from the history of ideas in early China, to archaeoastronomy and cultural astronomy. He is particularly interested in the connection between rare astronomical phenomena and epoch-making political and military events in ancient China.
Introduction; Part I. Astronomy and Cosmology in the Time of Dragons: 1. Astronomy begins at Taosi; 2. Watching for dragons; Part II. Aligning with Heaven: 3. Looking to the supernal lord; 4. Bringing heaven down to earth; 5. Astral revelation and the origins of writing; Part III. Planetary Omens and Cosmic Ideology: 6. The cosmo-political mandate; 7. The rhetoric of the supernal; 8. Cosmology and the calendar; Part IV. Warring States and Han Astral Portentology: 9. Astral prognostication and the battle of Chengpu; 10. A new astrological paradigm; Part V. One with the Sky: 11. Cosmic capitals; 12. Temporality and the fabric of space-time; 13. The sky river and cosmography; 14. Planetary portentology east and west; Epilogue; Appendix. Astrology for an empire: the 'treatise on the celestial offices' in The Grand Scribe's Records (c.100 BCE); Glossary; Index.