Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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Translator's Preface

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pp. ix-x

In imperial China four rites performed at home were classed as family rituals. Three were rites of passage of the sort common in many societies: initiations, weddings, and funerals. The fourth was service to ancestral spirits. Taken together, these rites constituted the cult of the ancestors, or perhaps the cult of the family. ...

Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction

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pp. xiii-xxxii

The Family Rituals, compiled by the great Neo-Confucian philosopher Chu Hsi (1130-1200), is a manual for the private performance of the standard Chinese family rituals: initiations, weddings, funerals, and sacrifices to ancestral spirits. It was among the best-known books of late imperial China. ...

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Preface

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pp. 3-4

Ritual "has fundamental elements and elaborations."1 From the perspective of how ritual is carried out at home, the fundamental elements are to preserve status responsibilities and give concrete form to love and respect; the elaborations are the proprieties and specifications for capping, weddings, funerals, and ancestral rites. ...

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1: General Principles of Ritual

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pp. 5-34

When a man of virtue builds a house his first task is always to set up an offering hall to the east of the main room of his house. For this hall four altars to hold the spirit tablets of the ancestors are made; collateral relatives who died without descendants may have associated offerings made to them there according to their generational seniority. ...

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2: The Capping Ceremony

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pp. 35-47

Any young man from fifteen to twenty years of age may be capped, provided that his parents are not in mourning for a period of a year or longer. Three days before the event, the presiding man makes a report at the offering hall, then personally invites the sponsor. The day before, he invites the sponsor again and has the equipment arranged. ...

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3: Weddings

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pp. 48-64

Men from sixteen to thirty and women from fourteen to twenty are permitted to marry unless they or those presiding at their marriage are in mourning graded at a year or longer. The first requirement is to have an intermediary go back and forth between the families to carry out the negotiations. Once the girl's family has agreed to the wedding, the betrothal gift may be presented. ...

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4: Funerals

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pp. 65-152

When the illness becomes acute, the dying person is moved to the main room. Once he has expired, the mourners wail, then perform the calling-back ceremony. The presiding mourner, the presiding female mourner, the funeral director, the letter recorder, and the gift recorder are all identified. Everyone alters his or her clothes and ceases eating. ...

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5: Sacrificial Rites

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pp. 153-178

For the seasonal sacrifices, the second month of the season is used. During the preceding ten-day period, a day is chosen by divination. Three days before the event purification is practiced, and one day before, the place settings are laid out and the utensils arranged. Then the animal offerings are inspected, the utensils cleaned, and the food prepared. ...

Appendix A: Editions of Chu Hsi's Family Rituals

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pp. 179-182

Appendix B: Chinese Text of Chu Hsi's Family Rituals

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pp. 183-212

Glossary

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pp. 213-220

Sources Cited

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pp. 221-228

Index

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pp. 229-234