Wei-Jin Sacrificial Ballets: Reform versus Conservation
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This dissertation examines the sixteen extant Wei-Jin sacrificial ballet hymns of Wang Can, Fu Xuan, Xun Xu, and Zhang Hua to discover the impetus for and significance of the changes in sacrificial hymns during the Wei-Jin period. Chapter 1 examines the cosmological beliefs, sacrificial sites, sacrificial liturgies, and sacrificial hymns of the Zhou, Qin, Western Han, Xin, and Eastern Han dynasties. Chapter 2 examines the same for the Wei dynasty, provides translation and commentary for one extant series of sacrificial ballet hymns and for what little is known of another no longer extant series, and then analyzes their titles, use, authorship, dating, content, formal structure, and place in literary history. Chapter 3 examines the same for the Jin dynasty, provides translation and commentary for four extant series of sacrificial ballet hymns, and then analyzes the same. This dissertation contends that the sacrificial ballet hymns and the changes evident therein reflect trends in sacrificial hymns as a whole. The change from having two out of six dynastic ballets purported to be extant in the Zhou system to having six out of six purported to be extant in the Qin system represents more likely an idealized recreation rather than an authentic recovery of lost hymns. The reduction to four or five dynastic ballets or indirect derivatives thereof in the Han dynasty, in conjunction with the disappearance of one series of four tribal ballets and the appearance of another series of four tribal ballets, represents a more believable change in style, as well as a loss due to internecine war. The abandonment of all direct derivatives of dynastic ballets and their replacement with indirect derivatives in seeming imitation of the original six dynastic ballets in the Wei dynasty brings the process full circle to an idealized recreation, which continued into the Jin dynasty and reached its apex with the rewriting of all sacrificial ballets in the terse tetrameter style of the "Song" section of Mao shi, there to remain throughout the Southern-and-Northern Dynasties. Thus, we find changes in belief and style stemming from imperial preference and contemporary demands.