In this book, Li Min proposes a new paradigm for the foundation and emergence of the classical tradition in early China, from the late Neolithic through the Zhou period. Using a wide range of historical and archaeological data, he explains the development of ritual authority and particular concepts of kingship over time in relation to social memory. His volume weaves together the major benchmarks in the emergence of the classical tradition, particularly how legacies of prehistoric interregional interactions, state formation, urban florescence and collapse during the late third and the second millenniums BCE laid the critical foundation for the Sandai notion of history among Zhou elite. Moreover, the literary-historical accounts of the legendary Xia Dynasty in early China reveal a cultural construction involving social memories of the past and subsequent political elaborations in various phases of history. This volume enables a new understanding on the long-term processes that enabled a classical civilization in China to take shape.
Foreword; 1. Wen Ding: gaging the weight of political power; 2. Frames of reference: multiple classifications of space; 3. Before the Central Plains: the pinnacle of Neolithic development; 4. The Longshan transition: political experimentation and expanding horizons; 5. The rise of the Luoyang Basin and the production of the first bronze Ding vessels; 6. The rise of the Henei Basin and the limit of Shang hegemony; 7. The rise of the Guanzhong Basin and the birth of history; 8. The world of Yu's tracks: a blueprint for political experimentation; 9. Conclusion: the emergence of the classical tradition; Bibliography; Index.