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Narrative Literature

(3,051 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig
1. Narrative Literature in Pre-Modern Times In ancient China, literary forms such as anecdotes, fairytales and stories about miracles, as well as later the novella, were not considered part of high literature. However, according to what is known about narrative traditions from even before Han times, there must have existed a rich treasure of narrative literature about everyday events and life at the courts. This narrative literature was composed for entertainment and criticism, and thus belonged to an…


(3,951 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig
1. Traditional Literature With the gradual spread of the use of script since the 2nd millennium BCE, a concept of literature established itself in the Chinese territories which soon became the foundation of Chinese identity. The numerous meanings of the term wen, which stands for "literature" as well as for "the orderly" or "the structured," and later also for "culture" in a broader sense, point to an entanglement of the concept of literature with a cult, on the one hand, and Chinese culture, on the other hand. The phrase "literature is the essence of the dao" ( wen yi zai dao) is a reflection…

State, concepts of the

(2,479 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig
1. Early Legitimization of the Authority of the State Concepts of statehood in China date back to early relations between ruler and ruled which can be traced from archaeological findings and, since the late 2nd millennium BCE, from written documents. In this regard, state and society (including Chinese culture) were equated. The idea of state sovereignty developed during the period of competition among various smaller states, but was revised after the unification of the empire. From early on, with respec…


(4,472 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig
1. BegriffsgeschichteDer Begriff der S. oder des Sinologen taucht erst im frühen 19. Jh. auf und bezeichnet die wiss. Beschäftigung mit China bzw. der chinesischen Welt, deren Anfänge im Kontext der Jesuiten-Mission im 17. Jh. standen. Der auf die lat. Bezeichnung für China ( Sina) zurückgehende Begriff der S. wurde im 19. Jh. häufig in Abgrenzung gegen die seit dem ausgehenden 16. Jh. in Europa – zunächst von jesuitischen Missionaren, dann auch von Reisenden und Händlern – verbreiteten Nachrichten aus China gebraucht. Vor der Einführun…
Date: 2019-11-19


(4,903 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig
1. Terminological historyThe terms “Sinology” and “Sinologist” first appeared in the early 19th century, denoting scholarly engagement with China or the Chinese world, which began in the context of the Jesuit mission in the 17th century (Jesuits; Mission). Deriving from the Late Latin Sinae (an unidentified people living at the eastern extremity of the world), “Sinology” was often used in the 19th century by authors to distance themselves from the anecdotal reports from China that had been reaching Europe since the late 16th century,…
Date: 2022-08-17

Mo Tzu

(477 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig
[German Version] (Me Ti, Mo Zi; c. 470 – c. 395 bce). The teachings of Mo Tzu and his school mark the beginning of a rational debate in China. In addition to political-moral and philosophical argumentation, the texts handed down in the work “Mo Zi” (Master Mo) in 71 chapters contain writings about logic and epistemology, about optics as well as about problems of war and defense techniques. The separate parts of the work date from various time periods; presumably the teachings, which came from different sch…

Tun Huang (Dunhuang)

(166 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig
[German Version] The oasis of Tun Huang at the eastern end of the Silk Road (in what is today the province of Gansu in the People’s Republic of China) is famous for the murals in the temple caves (Mogaogu) used over the centuries by both Buddhists and Taoists, but also on account of the extensive manuscripts collections dating from the 8th to the 11th centuries found in a cave in the early 20th century. They are of great importance for our knowledge of the religious and intellectual history (Buddh…


(3,838 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig | Hockx, Michel | Louie, Kam
1. The Classic Novel and its Precursors The first great, "classic" novels of China, whose origins go back to the time around 1400, but which are known only from editions from the 16th and 17th centuries, mirror the special circumstances of that epoch. A new element was that the novels dealt with the traditional storytelling material in a distanced and partially ironic way. The novels Sanguozhi [tongsu] yanyi ( The Three Kingdoms History [with Popular Explanations] or short: The History of the Three Kingdoms), Shuihu zhuan ( Water Margin/ Outlaws of the Marsh), as well as Kin Ping Meh ( Jinping…

Schriftkulturen, außereuropäische

(5,409 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut | Reichmuth, Stefan | Rinke, Stefan | Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig | Frese, Heiko
1. EinleitungFür die Entwicklung der A. Sch. der Nz. sind zunächst die verschiedenen Handschriftenkulturen zu betrachten, die in vielen Teilen Asiens und Afrikas sowie auch in den Indianer-Kulturen Mittel- und Südamerikas (s. u. 3.) eigenständige Dynamiken aufwiesen; hierbei lassen sich spezifische Beziehungen zu mündlichen Formen der Textkultur erkennen. Des Weiteren stellt sich die Frage nach der Verbreitung des Buchdrucks mit beweglichen Typen, der von Europa ausgehend im Rahmen der kommerziellen wie der imperialen Expansion auch auf anderen Konti…
Date: 2019-11-19

Literate cultures beyond Europe

(5,913 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut | Reichmuth, Stefan | Rinke, Stefan | Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig | Frese, Heiko
1. IntroductionTo be considered first in this exploration of the non-European literate cultures are the various manuscript cultures that developed independent dynamics in many parts of Asia and Africa and among the indigenous cultures of Central and South America (American indigenous peoples; see below, 3.). Specific interrelations with oral forms of textual culture are evident here. Also important is the issue of the spread of printing with movable type, which reached other continents from Europ…
Date: 2019-10-14

China, People's Republic of

(8,374 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig | Seiwert, Hubert | Chi Chung Lee, Archie | Tze Ming Ng, Peter
[German Version] I. General – II. History and Civilization – III. History of Religion – IV. Chinese Religions and Missiology – V. Christianity I. General 1. Geography, climate, population. Over the centuries, China has integrated a wide variety of cultures, including influences from far distant lands. It has not always included all the territory it does today. With a current area of approx. 9.6 million km2, China is broken up by long, high mountain ranges (Altai, Tien Shan, Kunluns, Himalayas) and great river systems, essentially flowin…