China: society and culture

History of China in different periods, history of Russian-Chinese relations, traditional and modern culture of China, spiritual, religious and everyday traditions, art and architecture, anthropology, ethnology and folklore of China, traditional and modern society in China, population, demographic policy, education and healthcare in China, cinematography, literature, philology, commented translations and studies of classical texts.


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Vol 1, No 1 (2022)


For the Publication of the First Issue of the Journal “China: Society and Culture”
Maslov A.A.

It is sometimes difficult to navigate in the flow of a huge number of international scientific publications about China and a growing number of journals. But it so happened that in Russia in recent years there have been no specialized scientific journals specifically on China, although Chinese studies are certainly actively covered in comprehensive journals on Oriental studies, history and philology, and international relations. And popular magazines and articles, even written by quite professional authors, can not replace the strictly scientific study of China.

China: society and culture. 2022;1(1):6-8
pages 6-8 views
Introduction: The New Approaches to the Quantitative Structural Analysis of Chinese History
Maslov A.A., Tseluyko M.S.

This essay describes the papers published in this issue as (mostly) belonging to one problematic and methodological field, thus composing one scientific school or tradition. The main traits of this school are briefly outlined in the beginning. The papers written by the founder of the school, D. Deopik and his coauthor B. Ganshin comprise the first part of the issue, together with the papers of A. Andreeva and A. Kozhukhov. These papers are united by the problem of the era names, their functions, and correlation between them and real political process in the history of various empires, which existed on the territory of East Asia. The two papers comprising the second part of the issue, written by V. Bashkeev and V. Glazunova, have a common period of studies, that being the Western Han Empire. The last two papers of the issue are authored by O. Bonch-Osmolovskaya and M. Tseluyko. They deal with the problems of canon studies in China, researching exegetic tradition and the contents of ancient canonical text Shujing, respectively. Each paper presented in this issue either broadens or deepens the field of studies for their common scientific school, meaning that it either includes a new hitherto untouched (in this specific scientific school) problem and proposes a distinct approach to solving it or outlines a complication of the already existing problem, proposing an additional method for solving it. The only exception is the paper of O. Bonch-Osmolovskaya, which does not belong to the same scientific school as other papers on the issue but represents a good point for reflection and comparison.

China: society and culture. 2022;1(1):9-17
pages 9-17 views
Reign Symbols as a Source on Chinese History (Part 1)
Deopik D.V., Ganshin B.K.

This paper focuses on exploring the symbolical side of the China’s emperors’ reign names as the highest sacral generalizations. Reign symbol is pair of characters, which defines a reign of a monarch (or a part of the reign). The first character is a so-called “Attribute”, second is an “Object”. This paper raises the question whether the historical dynamics of these symbols’ change reflects the real changes of socio-political processes. This question is resolved through methods of quantitative analysis of the entire assembly of the reign names of all the centralized empires in the history of East Asia. Methodologically taking these symbols (reign names) as a system, as one hypertext, we categorized their meaning into groups (semantic categories). By studying the dynamics of these groups’ proportional change through the epochs of various Chinese empires, we came to the conclusion, that the symbolic dynamic of reign names reflects the change the properties of political ideology, changes in the religious politics, and political institutions. Reign names’ symbols can be used as a historical source on those topics.

China: society and culture. 2022;1(1):19-36
pages 19-36 views
The Functions of Shujing’s Earliest Chapters in Socio-Political Communication
Tseluyko M.S.

This paper examines the earliest textual layers of the ancient Chinese Classics — Shujing 書經. Analyzing the form and content of its chapters we determine their functions in the context of socio-political communication between different groups of ancient Chinese society and political class. While studying the formal properties of the shu, we come to reconstruct different types of its basic elements. This formal heterogeneity of early shu differentiates them greatly from the poetic hymns of Shijing 詩經, thus contradicting the well-spread hypothesis of the texts’ liturgical nature and functions. Exploring the main elements of narrative reveals the main recipient of its message, that being not the relatives of the royal lineage, but the servants, stewards and wardens of Luoyang, which is the spatial and chronological centre of narration. Thus we can reconstruct the main function of the texts, and that is to legitimize the communication and interaction between such groups of Zhou society and ruling class, which are not connected by kinship. This once again contradicts the “liturgical hypothesis”, as the stewards and servants were not connected to the cult of royal ancestors.

China: society and culture. 2022;1(1):37-52
pages 37-52 views
The Crisis of Han Classical Scholarship and Exegetical Trends in the Kingdom of Wei
Bonch-Osmolovskaya O.A.

The paper focuses on Confucian exegetical thought during the transition from the late Han to Three Kingdoms period (late 2nd and 3rd Cent. AD). The political crisis, which resulted in collapse of the Eastern Han dynasty and led to the decentralization of power, accelerated some processes that had already begun in the field of Confucian exegetics during the Eastern Han period. As the first consequence, the school traditions of the Han Classical scholarship lost both unity and authority. The debates that broke out in the 3rd Cent. AD on the topic of correct or incorrect interpretation of the texts of Confucian Classics, together with the emergence of new versions of interpretations and criticism of previous commentators, are associated with bringing exegetics to the level of a fairly open discussion. All this contributed to the shift of exegetical research to the polemic stage, starting from the late Han and Three Kingdoms period, when Confucian scholars openly refuted each other, introduced new commentary types, compiled their commentaries in the form of a dialogue. The paper traces main trends of Confucian Classical scholarship in the Cao-Wei kingdom and examines main commentary works of this period.

China: society and culture. 2022;1(1):63-64
pages 63-64 views
Han Documents Preserved in the First Chapter of the Han Shu: Distribution Structure and Reflection of the Political Process
Bashkeev V.V.

This article discusses four types of documents being preseved in the second part of the first chapter (1B) of the Han shu (The History of Han) [1], the main source for the history of the Western Han state (202 BC — 8 AD). The Han shu 1B chapter covers the period from 202 to 195 BC. — the reign of the first emperor of the new Liu dynasty, Liu Bang, better known as Gao-zu. The article examines the distribution structure, content and the role of documents preserved in the text of the Han shu 1B chapter and singled out by the author as independent structural elements of the chapter, along with “chronicle reports”, “historical reports”, “historical narratives” and “dialogs” in the reflection of the historical reality. These are documents of higher bureaucratic turnover of varying degrees of importance. The analysis of the dynamics of document distribution in the text of the Han shu chapter 1B allowed to establish the fact of increased activity of Emperor Liu Bang in the sphere of administration in the penultimate year of his reign at the very beginning of the transition from the forceful subjugation of political opponents to the peaceful administration of the power he was creating.

China: society and culture. 2022;1(1):65-78
pages 65-78 views
The Transfer of Power in Kingdoms and the Dynamics of the Political Processes in Western Han
Glazunova V.V.

This paper investigates the interaction between the state system stability and the kingdoms system stability in the Western Han Empire, according to “The Records of the Grand Historian” written by Sima Qian and “The Book of Han” by Ban Gu. The stability of kingdoms system determines by the rate of legitimacy of the transfer of power in the kingdoms. The research also sheds a light on the reasons of the violation of the order of succession, including the rate of violent deaths of princes in the kingdoms. The paper quantitatively proves that the stability of the state system in Western Han requires the permanent instability at the level of kingdoms.

China: society and culture. 2022;1(1):79-91
pages 79-91 views
The Era Names Change and Periodization of the First Half of Tang Emperor Gao-zong (649–683 CE) Reign
Andreeva A.V.

This paper compares the subjective Chinese periodization through era (reign) names of the Tang emperor Gao-zong (649–683 CE) reign to scientific model of periodization through means of analyzing change in political process. To accomplish this we explore the historical events laid out in the 4th chapter of the Jiu Tang shu 舊唐書 (Old book of Tang) chronicle, which is one of Chinese medieval standard Histories zhengshi 正史. Our research shows that the reign names periodization is founded upon the real changes of political and historical dynamic even in cases when our primary source lists the reasons of an era name change among the purely ritual, sacral, mantic and mystical happenings, like the omens, portents and emergence of fairy creatures.

China: society and culture. 2022;1(1):93-101
pages 93-101 views
Periodization of the Northern Song Emperor Huizong’s Reign (1100–1126)
Kozhukhov A.Y.

This article is devoted to the reign of the de facto last Emperor of the Northern Song, Huizong. In particular, it deals with the question of how the periodization of the reign, based on mottos that were declared during the reign of the Emperor coincides with the theoretical periodization, based on the model of political struggle, as well as the question of whether the mottos of the reign can be considered as political institutions that include an official announcement of a change of political course. The dynamics of internal political processes, based on the analysis of the corresponding chapters of the historical chronicle of Song Shi, is demonstrated. As a result of the research, some discrepancies were revealed between the periodization based on the dynamics of internal political processes and the periodization using mottos, in particular, there were more mottos than the stages outlined during the research — 6 and 5, respectively, a brief description of each stage is given.

China: society and culture. 2022;1(1):103-114
pages 103-114 views
A Review of Teng Mingyu’s Book «The Qin Culture from an Archaeological Perspective: From Unitarian State to Empire»
Tseluyko M.S.

This review discusses a book by a Chinese scientist Teng Mingyu devoted to the archaeological culture of the ancient Chinese Qin state (滕铭予. 秦文化: 从封建国到帝国的考古学观察. 北京, 2003. 216 頁). The book introduces the notion of Qin archaeological culture and studies is based on the research of burial tradition and correspondent excavation reports. The classification of the graves is built on the set of stable characteristics, such as spatial orientation, corpse positioning, types of grave goods, etc. The changes of the archaeological culture in question are traced chronologically (periodization of the culture) and spatially (zoning of the culture). The resulting changes of the culture are interpreted as a transformation of the basic social unit of Qin society and are also deemed consequential to the changes of the ruling class formation process in Qin. The review, in its turn, studies the logic and consistency of the foundational notions and main methods of the book, the entirety of the archaeological material presented by the book, and the reception of this important research in global sinology.

China: society and culture. 2022;1(1):115-122
pages 115-122 views
A Review of the Book «The Early Chinese Empires Qin and Han» by Mark E. Lewis
Bashkeev V.V.

The review of the book (Lewis M.E. The Early Chinese Empires Qin and Han. Cambridge (MA): The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007) sums up the contents of the book and reviews its value for the world Han studies as well as those methods and research traditions of Western sinology in Ancient China studies which lay in the very base of the book creation. After paying respect to the advantages of the book, the author of this review discusses the effectiveness of methods used in the book for studying Chinese Ancient history.

China: society and culture. 2022;1(1):123-130
pages 123-130 views

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