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A glimpse into the Chinese cultural kaleidoscope

Author  :  CHENG SUDONG     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2017-07-25

Twenty-four Chapters of Chinese Culture

Editors: Chen Hong and Xu Xingwu

Publisher: Jiangsu People’s Publishing, LTD

With professionalization of academic research, academics and their research outcomes seem divorced from the public. As the readership now has an elevated knowledge base and thus craves more advanced reading material, the academia of humanities has failed to provide sufficient reading materials that keep up with the latest academic findings for the general public. The book series Twenty-four Chapters of Chinese Culture introduce the development path, characteristics, material success, and institutional and spiritual civilization of Chinese culture from 24 profiles, and help readers to pick up classic works. Writers of the book series come from more than 10 universities, such as Peking University, Nanjing University and Nankai University, famous scholars Ye Jiaying and Rao Zongyi as advisers, which guarantees the academic basis of the book series.

In the book series, the volume written by Xu Xingwu Characteristics, Structure and Spirit of Chinese Culture can be regarded as the introduction to the whole collection. Each of the other volumes elaborates on one specific achievement of Chinese culture. The topics vary from philosophy, politics, literature, music, painting, religion, architecture, geography, science and technology, Chinese medicine, and social customs, presenting the origin, evolution and feature of Chinese civilization in full view. 

The volume China and East Asia written by Zhang Bowei and Bian Dong focuses on the formation and development of Asian culture. It introduces how Chinese characters shaped the Asian cultural circle, and the interaction and dissemination of Confucianism, Buddhism and literature. Many texts are the latest research findings of surveys of ancient Chinese books preserved in foreign countries. Volumes of classical Chinese poetry, prose, and fiction works collected in Japan, Vietnam, and the Korean peninsula have been introduced to Chinese readership for the first time.

Ancient Books in Chinese Culture written by Cheng Zhangcan concentrates on the writing culture and evolution of literary history. He systematically combed through different characteristics of the formation and spread of text in the age of written and printed scripts. Lotus Pure Land: the Other Shore of Buddhism written by Chen Yinchi and Su Chang involves the latest topics in the interdisciplinary research of Buddhism, academic history, and literary history. 

Political Institution of Law and Rites written by Wang Zijin discards the common discourse model that places more weight on Confucianism than law in the narration of political history, while it attempts to re-evaluate the wisdom and flaws in Chinese classical politics with a practical manner.

In short, the aforementioned topics come from the literary and historical research fields that have been drawing considerable attention in recent years. Related research findings have comprehensively affected our acknowledgment and estimation of ancient literary, ideological and political history. Today, these research outcomes have come into the public’s eye with the help of the book series in vivid language and materials, which will help the new generation of readers to understand our civilization from multiple perspectives.

Editor: Yu Hui

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