Dragon Bones

Dragon BonesDRAGON BONES
Ritual, Myth and Oracle in Shang Period China
By Jan Fries

“Those who do not forget the past are the masters of the future”   ~  Sima Qian, Historian, 1st century BCE

Dragon Bones is available both as a paperback edition, and as a clothbound hardback with dustwrapper.

Please note: Dragon Bones is a very large tome with 838 pages, including numerous illustrations, and a dictionary with over 3000 inscriptions.

Purchase your copy now:

Paperback Edition:  RRP £36.99 (with free internationalP&P)

Hardback Edition:  RRP £65.00 (with free internationalP&P)

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Dragon Bones is a masterly and insightful exploration of ritual, myth and oracles in Shang Period China (16th-11th century BCE).  Combining wide-ranging scholarship with pragmatic practicality, the author shines a light on one of the most obscure and least-known areas of ritual practice in the ancient world, demonstrating its value and connection to the development of magical practices in China over a period of many centuries.

Combining historical accounts, myths, practical meditation and the oracle bone inscriptions themselves, Dragon Bones elucidates an arcane system of divination and offers its wisdom to the modern world.  To provide a relevant context for the dragon bone oracle, the reader is guided through a wealth of material by Chinese philosophers including Kongzi (Confucius) and Laozi, exploring philosophies such as Daoism and its cosmology.

The offerings, sacrifices and rituals which form the mystical matrix from which Chinese magic developed are considered with an elegant perspective which explores both the practices and their use and relevance, considering their development from early shamanic practices into more stylised forms of social and cultural ceremonies which contributed to the evolution of formal rites to serve communities.

As well as its detailed discussion of the historical and mythical figures, gods, spirits, ancestors, mountains, rivers, animals, types of weather and implements which provide the context and provenance of the development of the dragon bone oracle, Dragon Bones includes a dictionary of over three thousand inscriptions, the most comprehensive of its kind created.  As the earliest recorded Chinese texts, the dragon bones reveal unique glimpses of a period where history and myth merge, shaped by philosophy, political power and magic, and whose lessons are as relevant today as they have ever been.

Purchase your copy now, with free postage & packaging:

Paperback Edition:  RRP £36.99 (with free P&P international)

Hardback Edition:  RRP £65.00 (with free P&P international)

For Amazon USA and Amazon UK use the links provided below:

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AMAZON UK:

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TABLE OF CONTENTS for Dragon Bones by Jan Fries

FIRST WORDS: READING THE PAST
INTRODUCTION: THREE DYNASTIES PLUS EXTRAS
CHAOTIC BEGINNINGS
CREATION RECONSIDERED: A PRIMAL GIANT
MYTHS AND LITERATURE
PANGU’S RELATIONS
GREENWOOD MYSTERIES: FUXI AND NÜWA
THE CULTURE HERO AND THE CREATRIX
NÜWA: WORLD SAVIOUR
THE PRIMAL PAIR
ADVENT OF AGRICULTURE
THE YELLOW EMPEROR
SHAOHAO
ZHUANXU
DIKU
YAO
SHUN

A WORD ON VIRTUE
A DAOIST MODEL OF EVOLUTION
DYNASTIC HISTORY
FLIGHT OF A DARK BIRD
THE ZI CLAN
NEOLITHIC CHINA AND THE XIA DYNASTY
THE RISE OF TANG
YI YIN’S TALE
WAR AGAINST THE XIA
START OF THE SHANG DYNASTY
SACRIFICE IN THE MULBERRY GROVE
A LIFE OF VIRTUE
INTERLUDE: ZHENGZHOU
ANYANG
FROM KING TO DI
WU DING
FU HAO AND FU JING
A TIME OF DRASTIC CHANGES
THE TYRANT AND THE FOX
RISE OF THE ZHOU
CONCLUDING REMARK: IS THIS FOR REAL?
TIME AND SPACE
RECYCLING TIME: SIXTY DAYS OF ETERNITY
THE TEN SUNS
TEMPLE NAMES
STEMS AND BRANCHES
TERRIBLE ANCESTORS
A MAGICAL REALITY
LIFE BEYOND DEATH
THE THEARCH’S TASK
THE QUARTERS OF THE WORLD
THE ROYAL TOMBS AT ANYANG
OTHER CEMETERIES
BRONZE- A METAL CHANGES THE WORLD
CULTURAL VARIETY
TOXIC OFFERINGS
BRONZE ECONOMY
ANIMAL ANCESTORS
THE TAOTIE
KUI DRAGONS
PLAY OF THE ANIMALS
ALL IN TRANSFORMATION
ZHOU PERIOD 1045 (?) – 221 BCE
HAN DYNASTY 206 BCE-220 CE
THREE KINGDOMS PERIOD 220-265
JIN DYNASTY, 265-420
MASKS OF THE DIVINE
DIRECTIONAL DEITIES
THE NAMES OF THE WINDS
WOMEN OR MOTHERS
XIWANGMU AND GUANYIN
MORE MOTHERS?
DI
STRANGE GODS
SHANG SHAMANISM?
ANIMAL SHAMANISM AND RITES OF REBIRTH
WU
WU IN THE SHANG PERIOD:
WU IN THE ZHOU PERIOD
DIVINE GOVERNMENT
ZHOU RITUAL
VISIONS OF THE PAST
WORSHIP OF THE STARS
SUN AND MOON
THE RITUAL ANIMAL
ANIMAL SACRIFICE
HUMAN SACRIFICE
RETAINER SACRIFICES
FOUNDATION SACRIFICES
DROUGHT SACRIFICES
OFFERING BRANCHES
FOOD AND BLOOD
OFFERING DRINK
OFFERING CLOTHES
RITUAL REPORTS
MANUSCRIPTS AND PROMISES
THE BIN RITUAL
A HIERARCHY OF BIN RITES?
FEELINGS OF LOVE AND RESPECT
MEETING THE ANCESTORS
FASTING
RITUAL PURIFICATION
THE PURITY OF WATER
FIVE RITUALS: NOURISHING ANCESTORS ACCORDING TO THE ‘NEW SCHOOL’
THE FEATHER DANCE
THE FESTIVAL OF RAW MEAT
THE COOKED GRAINS FESTIVAL
THE HARMONISATION FESTIVAL
DRUMS AND MUSIC
PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE
ENTER THE GOURD
GUARDING THE ONE
HEAVENLY JOURNEYS
TRANSFORMING THE WORLD
DIVINATION
CHARGING THE SIGNS
DIVINING
GOOD QUESTIONS
BEYOND THE BASICS
DISCOVERY
STUDIES IN ANCIENT HISTORY
TRACKING THE BONES
ANYANG
SCAPULAMANCY
DRILLING BONES IN ANYANG
DIVINATION
INSCRIPTION
BONE READERS
DIVINERS
SETTING
THE VOICE BEHIND THE ORACLE
FUTURE AND FATE
CHARGES AND QUESTIONS
ZHOU DIVINATION
THE ORIGIN OF WRITTEN CHINESE
SHANG WRITING
VARIATION
HOW PICTURES BECOME WRITING
COMMON AND ABSENT QUESTIONS
DATING THE BONES
THE FIVE PERIODS
FORGERIES
STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS
FINALE: THE CHEMISTRY OF CULTURE

SHORT GLOSSARY

INTRODUCTION TO THE INSCRIPTIONS

THE ORACLE BONE DICTIONARY

MAMMALS
BIRDS
REPTILES
REPTILES, AMPHIBIANS
FISH
FISH, SMALL ANIMALS
GREAT
WOMAN
KNEELING
CHILD
CLAW
HAND
FOOT
MOUTH
EAR, NOSE, STOMACH
HEAD, PENIS
PLANTS
NATURE
FIELD
FIELD, WALL, ROAD
ROAD, PIT, STRUCTURE
HOUSE
HOUSE, CHOPPING BOARD, ENCLOSURE
ENCLOSURE, LINES
LINES
LINES, CRACK
SACRED T
ENVIRONMENT
DI
NEEDLE

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Dragon BonesDRAGON BONES
Ritual, Myth and Oracle in Shang Period China
By Jan Fries

Dragon Bones is available both as a paperback edition, and as a clothbound hardback with dustwrapper.

Please note: Dragon Bones is a very large tome with 838 pages, including numerous illustrations, and a dictionary with over 3000 inscriptions.

Purchase your copy now, with free postage & packaging:

Paperback Edition: RRP £36.99 (with free P&P international)

Hardback Edition: RRP £65.00 (with free P&P international)

 

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