This volume presents a pageant of mythical creatures from an enduring cosmography written in ancient China. The Guideways through Mountains and Seas , compiled between the 4th and 1st centuries BCE, contains descriptions of hundreds of fantastic denizens of mountains, rivers, islands and seas, along with minerals, flora and medicine. The text also represents a wide range of beliefs held by the ancient Chinese. Richard Strassberg brings the Guideways to life for modern readers by weaving together translations from the work itself with information from other texts and recent archaeological finds to create a guide to the imaginative world of early China. Unlike the bestiaries of the late medieval period in Europe, the Guideways was t interpreted allegorically; the strange creatures described in it were regarded as actual entities found throughout the landscape. The work was originally used as a sacred geography, as a guidebook for travellers and as a book of omens. Today, it is regarded as a rich repository of ancient Chinese mythology and shamanistic wisdom. The Guideways may have been illustrated from the start, but the earliest surviving illustrations are woodblock engravi
Richard E. Strassberg is Professor of Chinese at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of Inscribed Landscapes: Travel Writing from Imperial China (California, 1994), Enlightening Remarks on Painting by Shih-t'ao (1989), and The World of K'ung Shang-jen (1983).