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38o China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 1997 society divide in Deng Xiaoping's China by providing detailed discussions on various subjects. Readers of this volume, regardless oftheir interests, will not be disappointed, and, like conference attendees, will certainly find fascinating material in at least some of the offerings here. For those who are concerned with the process of China's socialist transformation, this will be a welcome addition to their libraries. I am grateful to retain my review copy. Reginald Yin-Wang Kwok University of Hawai'i at Mänoa Reginald Yin-Wang Kwok is professor ofAsian studies and ofurban and regional planning, specializing in the study ofdevelopment and urbanization in contemporary China and the newly industrializingAsian economies. Ruth W. Dunnell. The Great State ofWhite and High: Buddhism and State Formation in Eleventh-Century Xia. Honolulu: University ofHawai'i Press, 1996. xxv, 278 pp. Hardcover $49.00, isbn 0-8248-1719-2. Ruth Dunnell's long-awaited book on Buddhism and Tangut state formation expands on themes raised in her earlier work on Tangut history, in particular the place of Buddhism in the early Xia state officially founded by Li (Weiming) Yuanhao in 1038 and the role of the empress dowager regents in preserving that state against external and internal enemies. These issues are broached in Dunnell's chapter on "The Hsi Hsia" in volume 6 of The Cambridge History of China,' a lucid political narrative that many of us in the Song field relied on in manuscript form long before it appeared in print. In the present book, Dunnell shifts her focus from political narrative to political and cultural identity. As she puts it in her Introduction, "This book examines the native sources for early imperial Tangut history and interprets them in the light of the state's political vicissitudes up to the end of the eleventh century" (p. 4). The fact that these primary sources are overwhelmingly Buddhist and imperially sponsored provides the organizing theme ofher book: "My thesis is simply that the history of early Tangut Buddhism is so intertwined with Xia state formation and the needs of the throne y mversity ^t anajySjs 0fme relationship between the two is a prerequisite to understandof Hawai'i Press. , ,„,.,-, ? mg one or the other (ibid.). Native sources and Tangut Buddhism lead to an examination of the larger issue ofXia national identity, a question made especially urgent for the eleventh- Reviews 381 century Tanguts by the combination ofpervasive civil conflicts among Xia "power blocks" (including die throne and Weiming royal clan, the consort clans, the military elites, and frontier chiefs) and the high state of alert against the expansionist Song court. In the same way that "Meiji Japan, Petrine Russia, late Qing China, or the late Ottoman empire felt compelled to adopt Western technologies to avoid European political domination," the Tangut rulers countered the threat of Chinese political domination by borrowing Song instruments ofimperial bureaucracy. For Dunnell, this raises the question ofwhether the Chinese influence necessarily eradicated native Tangut notions ofnational identity: "Is westernization (sinicization) inevitable? Is the alternative a silencing of the 'native '?" (p. 9). Her answer is that native self-conceptions survived intact, in part through the appropriation of Buddhism and its apotropaic regalia (e.g., stüpas and stele) as the foundation of the Xia state religion and a vehicle for the preservation of the particularities ofTangut ethnicity and Xia statehood (pp. 138-139). It is the goal ofher book, then, to show how, in the course of the eleventh century, Buddhism became interwoven with Tangut self-conceptions to form the ideological foundation ofthe Tangut monarchy. The principal source for Dunnell's study is the bilingual (Tangut and Chinese ) stele inscribed in 1094 to commemorate the restoration ofthe Gantong Stüpa on the grounds ofLiangzhou's Dayun (or Huguo) Temple. This stele is supplemented by iriscriptional material preserved in situ or in gazetteers from the Ordos prefectures inhabited by the Tanguts, as well as Xia diplomatic missives preserved in Song historical sources. The Gantong stele has clearly exerted a powerful hold over Dunnell, for despite the fact that she appended a translation of the Chinese text to her doctoral dissertation (Princeton, 1983) and published...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 380-385
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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