The Queen Mother of the West in Medieval China

Transcendence & Divine Passion

Suzanne E. Cahill

304 Blz., ISBN 0 8047 2584 5     
Stanford Univerity Press, 1993     

This boek examines the greatest Taoist goddess of the T´ang dynasty (618-907), the Queen Mother of the West, Hsi Wang Mu, through the eyes of medieval Chinese people. What kind of goddess was she, and how does she compare with other deities in China and elsewhere? What does her worship tell us about religion and the state, about religion and the lives of men and women, courtiers and peasants in T´ang China? What was her literary influence during the T´ang, the golden age of Chinese poetry?

"A welcome study in East Asian religions. Using the works of T´ang poets and the early tenth century hagiographical account of the Taoist master Tu Kuang-t´ing, it examines the Queen Mother of the West, the greatest Taoist goddess of the T´ang dynasty. Through her historical development from the Bronze Age to the T´ang period, the Queen Mother emerges in terms of two particular attibutes: transcendence (the overcoming of human limitations, such as mortality) and divine passion (her relations with humans, which provides them a means to attain transcedence)... Through its inscriptions, historical references, poetic excerpts, and pictorial arts, this book provides a penetrating insight into the religion and culture of the T´ang people." - Choice

"A fascinating book... that reveals the extremes of the T´ang literati´s search for truth." - Pacific Affairs

Suzanne E. Cahill is Adjunct Associate Projector of History at the University of California, San Diego.

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