Abstract

This article surveys the compilation and transmission of the Liji (Rites Records), one of the San li 三禮 (Three Rites texts) and a key source for classical ritual practice and theory. Drawing upon accounts in early texts and the latest secondary scholarship, the article traces the emergence of the Liji from the world of ritual specialists during Warring States, Qin, and Han times, as well as the complicated manuscript culture of early China. The article emphasizes that no single author composed the Liji, nor does the text offer a unified vision of ritual. This composite nature of the text suggests that its compilers drew upon a wide range of sources, which only enhances the value of the Liji as a source for early ritual. The article then moves on to trace the history of the Liji’s transmission through written versions on bamboo and silk, carved stelae, paper, and finally printed editions. As with all early texts, the advent of printing signified a major rupture in the transmission of the Liji. The article traces in some detail the sources that printers drew upon when they produced the first printed versions of the Liji, starting from the Song period. Finally, the article concludes with an appendix listing the major commentaries, studies, and translations of the Liji.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2329-0056
Print ISSN
2329-0048
Pages
pp. 289-308
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-13
Open Access
No
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