Forecasting Fate in Early China

Slips 352-359 of the Western Han daybook manuscript from Kongjiapo depicting Heaven's Jail

Forecasting Fate in Early China

Visiting Research Scholar Lecture

Ethan Harkness (NYU Gallatin and ISAW)

NOTICE: Admission to the ISAW Lecture Hall closes 10 minutes after the scheduled start time.

In recent years, the archaeological record of excavated Early Chinese manuscripts has revealed that texts known as rishu 日書 (“daybooks”) circulated widely in the Chinese cultural sphere during the late Warring States, Qin, and Western Han periods (ca. 3rd – 1st centuries BCE).  While primarily concerned with practical methods of selecting auspicious times and places for a variety of activities in daily life – activities such as travel, marriage, planting crops, seeking an audience, or burying the dead – the manuscripts also tended to incorporate a range of other miscellaneous contents with the result that no two daybooks are precisely alike.  In this talk, I will introduce select passages from daybook manuscripts with an emphasis on the links and divisions they imply between different forms of knowledge circulating in the formative years of the Chinese Empire.

There will be a reception folowing the event.

This is a public event.

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