This book explores the dissemination of ideas and information on the early silk roads between Europe and China, through the first detailed study of the Sinicization of foreign objects in Chinese poetic writing of the third century CE.
Third-century literary developments and the prevailing literary works from that era leave us with an impressive amount of information concerning exotic objects, such as plants, animals, and crafts, and record the cultural exchange between distant peoples whose goods, ideas, and technologies entered China.
These hitherto-forgotten rhapsodies express the profound interest and excitement of learned men for foreign objects. They bear witness to the cultural exchanges between China and other civilizations and provide a more nuanced insight of early medieval China as an integrated society rather than an isolated one.
Introduction: A Century of Writing on Objects
Part I: Exotic Objects at Court
Chapter One—Rosemary: Contest for the Caos
Chapter Two—Agate Bridle: Transforming An Indian Rock to A Political Symbol
Part II: Exotic Objects in the Main Stream
Chapter Three—Pomegranate: Becoming Chinese Apple
Chapter Four—Monkey: God Elsewhere, Pets Here
Part III: Exotic Images in the Sacred Space
Chapter Five—Peacock: Auspiciousness Challenged
Chapter Six—Lotus: Becoming A Chinese Icon
Conclusion: The Value of Otherness in Literature