Genèse de l'Empire céleste / The Beginning of the World
Jean-Paul Desroches sous la dir.
French/English, 293 pp., 243 col. ill., Paris, 2020, CHF 50.-
Since time immemorial, China has been interested in the Great Tale of the Universe. From the earliest dynasties, sky watchmen have been tracking the movement of celestial bodies. Cosmology became a state science and the rulers – the sons of Heaven – the guarantors of the echo of Heaven and empire. The history of this marriage between Heaven and Earth can be deciphered through the prism of jade.
Only jade is able to bridge fifty centuries and simultaneously offer a mirror reflecting Heaven, Earth and mankind. Emblematic symbols, mythical beasts and ritual instruments illustrate this, inviting the public to discover some 200 insignia. Unpublished aspects of Chinese civilization are approached and enlightened by archaeology, anthropology and astronomy. This multidisciplinary approach is facilitated by a simple mediation without abandoning the existential questions that today involve the whole of humanity.