Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Subject: Asian Studies

Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese

Brill’s Encyclopedia of China Online is based on the originally a thousand-page reference work on China with a clear focus on the modern period from the mid-nineteenth century to the 21st century. Written by the world’s top scholars, Brill’s Encyclopedia of China is the first place to look for reliable information on the history, geography, society, economy, politics, science, and culture of China.

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Mythology

(2,055 words)

Author(s): Birrell, Anne
The mythology of China is contained in a collection of sacred narratives which tell how the world and human society were created in their present form. It is sacred narrative because it relates the acts of the deities besides other episodes, and because it embodies the most deeply felt spiritual values of the Chinese as a nation. The generally accepted Western term for myth as 'sacred narrative' reflects the meaning of the Chinese term for myth, shenhua. Shen means 'divine, holy, deity'; hua means 'speech, tale, oral narrative'. The concerns of myth also extend beyond the acc…