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Constance A. Cook
Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA 18015-3027)
Ancestors, Kings, and the Dao

The book Ancestors, Kings, and the Dao shows how texts excavated from tombs in Bronze Age China reflect a hierarchical system of ancestor worship that was ultimately transformed by the followers of Confucius into a self-cultivation practice in response to changing political times. This book focuses on the philosophical, religious, and rhetorical links between (1) liturgies (preserved on excavated sacrificial bronze texts of the eleventh through seventh centuries BCE) which eulogized ancient kings and were performed in early ceremonies by designated heirs for founder ancestors and kings, and (2) philosophical suasions or "paths" or Dao (advocated in excavated bamboo and transmitted texts of the fifth through third centuries BCE) that were tied to particular sage kings by competing philosophical groups. I demonstrate that musical performance and eulogy, taught to youth in ancestral shrines by elders and ritual masters, evolved as a mode of preserving and manipulating social memory.

Project fields:
Asian Studies

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2008 – 8/31/2008