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A Chinese Demonography of the Third Century B.C.


Stanford University

T HE ancient Chinese conception of the spirit world did not tend towards making a categorical division of the spirits into

the good and the evil or the gods and the devils. The general senti­ ment was, however, that the ghosts of the dead (kuei )and the

sundry spirits (shen )who inhabited the terrestrial realm were a hazard to humankind. Identifying these spirits, determining whether they were beneficial or harmful, and whether they were to be pro-

This article was written during my tenure as a Mellon Fellow in the Department of Asian Languages,Stanford University, for whose support I am grateful. Abbrevialionsi


Han shu pu-chu 澳 害 補 注 (photographic reproduction





woodblock ed., I-wen Press, Taipei). Harvard-Yenching Index to the Taoist Canon, Too tsang tzu mu yin-te

Shm wen chieh tzu chu 説文解字注,commentary by Tuan Yu-ts*ai 段玉裁


道藏子目引得(Peking, 1936). References are to the number of a text in the Canon as given on pp. 1—37. Shih chi 史 記 (photographic reproduction of the Palace ed., I-wen Press,


Taipei). Shih-san ching chu shu 十 三 經 注 疏 (photographic reproduction of the


1816 woodblock ed., I-wen Press, Taipei).


(photographic reproduction of 1872 woodblock cd., Kuang-wcn shu-chil, Taipei). Yiin-mmg Skm-ku~ti CkHn mu 雲夢睡虎地泰墓 (Peking: Wcn-wu Press,


pitiated or exorcised, were fundamental elements of demonology in early Chinese religion.1 Demonology continued to gain prominence in the occult arts of the Warring States period. Along with the general proliferation of occult literature in this period, demonographies were compiled to aid in identifying the shades and to teach the techniques of magical control. A number of these works were included in the category of magical and divinatory literature in the first century B.C. catalogue of the royal Han library. The characteristics of the ancient demono­ graphic genre are clear from some of the titles of these lost books as recorded in the Han shu 漢害 bibliographic treatise: Portentous and

Propitious Mutant Prodigies (Chen Iisiang pien kuai 梢祥變怪)twenty-one scrolls;2Declarations of Odium for Mutant Prodigies {Pien kuai kao chin

Unpropitious and Subjugating

Spectral Entities (Chih pu-hsiang ho kuei wu 執不祥劾鬼物),eight scrolls.4

變怪誥咎),thirteen scrolls;3 Seizing the

1 I apply the term demonology to this knowledge of the spirit world that adjoined the human, and 1 make reference to demons, sprites, spectres, and related terms as a way of designating the denizens of the spirit world. The nature of these spirits ran along a spectrum from totally noxious to potentially beneficial, a perception which was reflected in the various magical methods adopted in dealing with them. There were also ceicstial deities such as God on High (Shang ti 上帝 )and God of Heaven (T ‘icn ti 天帝 )who watched over the spirit and human worlds. Their judgements were not always pleasing to human society, but they were nonetheless attentive to mortals below and granted bene­

faction when warranted. Man could appeal to them for protection from demonic machinations. For a survey of the conception of the spirit world from Shang to Han as evidenced in ancient literature and archeological artifacts, see the two articles by Hayashi Minao 林已奈夫: chuki ni yurai suru kishin” 殷中期{ [ 由來鬼神,Td/id gakuhO

束方学士 41 (1970); 1-70; and “ Kandai kishin no sekai” 漢士鬼神 世界,T6hd

46 (1974): 223-306. 2 HS 30.75a. 3 HS 30.75b. 4 HS 30.75b. A ll three titles cited and several additional titles are listed in the “ Tsa chan” 雜 占 (Assorted divination) section of the “ Shu shu liieh” 數 術 略 (Summary of

computations and arts) in the Han shu bibliographic treatise. A few remarks on terms used in the book titles are in order. Pien kuai 變 怪 (“ mutant prodigies” )appears elsewhere in Han portent literature to denote the ominous manifestations of the spirit world. HS 76.13b, for example, quotes one of Chang Ch‘ang,s 張敞 memorials in which Chang lists calamitous phenomena which manifested themselves during the reign of Thearch Hsiian 宜 帝 (r. 73-49 B.C.), including “ ominous portents and mutant prodigies.” That such mutant prodigies were the transformations effected by spectres in the world is clear from a passage in Pao piu Izu 抱申卜子{SPPY ed.),“ Lun hsien” 論仙,2.6b, In a discourse

on the reality of spirits and ghosts and the efficacy of magic in dealing with

them, the text

notes that “ ghosts and spirits frequently act among men to create shining prodigies {kuang kuai 光怪一apparitions of this sort are said to duster around tumuli in Six Dynasties sources) and mutant marvels {pien i 變異〉♦” In the Pao p%u tzu, kuang modifies


Documentation of early demon lore is found in the received litera­ ture of the pre-Han and Han periods, but until recently there were no extant fragments of ancient demonographies such as those listed in the bibliographic treatise which might elucidate the form and content of the genre.6 A demonographic text has now been recovered from a third century B.C. tomb at Shui-hu-ti 睡虎地,Hupei. It forms one section of a bamboo slip manuscript which contains a variety of material on astrological, divinatory, and magical arts. The demonographic scction is entitled “Chieh” . Although it is brief compared to the many-scrolled books listed in the Han shu bibliographic treatise, “Chieh,,provides us with our first example of the demonography in Warring States and Chein-Han occult literature. The text consists of a brief prologue followed by approximately seventy separate entries, each one related to a type of demonic harassment and its remedy. I am currently preparing a transcription and

kuai and pien modifies i. Hence my “ mutam prodigies” for pirn kuai, although “ mutants

and prodigies’,is also a possibility. The title of the second book refers explicitly to cxorcistic methods, for it concerns the ^declarations of odium” (kao chiu 詰咎 ) to be used against mutant prodigies. An in­ cantation entitled the “ Declaration of Odium” written by Ts*ao Chih 曹 植 (192-232)

is preserved in / wen lei chii 藝 文 類 聚 (Pelting: Chung-hua shu-chii, 1965), 100.1725.

Ts*ao’s preface states that in writing it he has “ borrowed the command of the God of Heaven to beseech blessings by means of a declaration of odium,” and the text of the incantation seeks divine assistance to quell calamities which have befallen the land. The device of requesting assistance from certain spirits in order to exorcise others is well attested in the incantation literature, the classic example of which is the malediction chanted in the No expulsion (a lengthy discussion of this malediction is in D. BoddeFestivals in Classical China [Princcton: Princeton University Press, 1975], pp. 85-111).

A number of such exorcistic incantations also occur in the Ma-wang-tui 馬王堆 tomb

three (burial dated 168 B.C.) medical rccipe manual, Wu-sfdh-erh ping fang 五十二病方 (Recipes for fifty-two ailments), for which sec my Ph.D. dissertation, “ The Wu Shih Erh Ping Fang'. Translation and Prolegomena” (University of California, Berkeley, 1982; University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor), pp. 75-83. In the Han shu bibliographic treatise the term kao cfdxi most likely means a “ declaration to helpful spirits to bring their

wrathful vengeance upon demonic miscreants.” In the third book tide, the word ho means literally “ subjugate by means of cxorcistic instruments” and appears frequently

in its original meaning in early sourccs (see n. 53 below).

5 J. J. M . de Groot, The Religious System of China6 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1892-1910)

vol. 5, gives a good survey of Chinese demonology with many citations from pre-Han and

Han sources. Much early demonological material is also brought together in Kiang Chao- yuan, Le Voyage dans la Chine ancienne (Shanghai: Commission mixte des oeuvres franco-

chinoises, 1937), Fan Jen trans. Bodde, Festivals, pp. 85-111, provides a summary review

of some of the early literary sources.

translation of the entire text. In the present article I will focus primarily on the meaning of the title “Chieh” and on the contents of the prologue. My purpose is to place the Shui-hu-ti demonography in the context of ancient Chinese demon lore, to show its relationship to fragments of Six Dynasties demonographic literature, and to establish the characteristics of the ancient demono­ graphic genre. Before focusing on the Shui-hu-ti demonography, however, I will offer some brief observations on the physical appearance and contents of the entire manuscript. It is in fact one of two bamboo manuscripts on occult subjects recovered from the Shui-hu-ti tomb. Together they restore to us a literature which has long been lost and are thus invaluable for the study of Warring States occult belief and practice.


The manuscripts were recovered from Tomb Eleven at Shui-hu-ti, excavated between December 1975 and January 1976. The burial has been dated to 217 b.c. The two occult manuscripts were among a number of other bamboo manuscripts which had been placed around the corpse inside the cofRn. Most of the manuscripts treat of judicial and governmental affairs. Transcriptions of these were published soon after the tomb cxcavation.® Photographs and trans­ criptions of the occult manuscripts were first published in 1981.7

6 The initial reports published in Chinese scholarly journals on the manuscripts found

in tomb eleven at Shui-hu-ti are summarized in D. Harper, “ The twelve Qin tombs at Shuihudi, Hubei: new texts and archeological data,” Early China 3 (1977): 100-04. Following the first transcriptions of the judicial and governmental writings which

appeared in Wen-wu 文物,two books were published with transcriptions of them: Shui- hu-ti CA(m mu ckit-chun 睡虎地秦墓竹簡(Peking: Wen-wu Press, 1977); and Shui-hu-ti Ch*in mu chu<hien (Peking: Wen-wu Press, 1978; this edition includes a translation into modem Chinese). Among Western scholars who have made critical studies of the judicial and governmental writings, I would mention: A. F. P. Hulsewe, “ The Ch'in documents discovered in Hupei in 1975,” TP 64 (1978): 175-217; K. G. D. McLcod

and R. D. S. Yates, “ Forms of Ch‘in law: an annotated translation of the Feng-chen shih,yi HJAS 41.1 (1981): 111-63; and D‘ Bodde, “ Forensic medicine in pre-imperial China,,, JAOS 102 (1982): 1-15. A complete translation by Hulsewe of the judicial and govern­ mental writings, tentative title Remnants ofChHn Law (Leiden: Brill), is in press.

The first manuscript, the one containing the demonography (hereafter ms A), does not have an overall title. The second manu­ script (ms B) bears the title Jih shu 13(Day Book) written on a slip at the end of the manuscript. Jih is a word which in early usage denoted hemerological arts and divination. Inasmuch as ms A is similar in content to ms B,both manuscripts represent the scope of subjects which might fall within the arts of “day divination” in Warring States and Ch^n-Han times.8 ms A consists of 166 bamboo slips which were originally laced together.9 It displays some unusual features which provide new perspectives on early book manufacture. First of all, the text is written on both sides of the slips rather than on just one side as is usual in old bamboo manuscripts. After filling the front side, the text continues on the reverse side, leaving the back side of only six slips blank at the end of the manuscript.10 This method of writing the text suggests that calculations were made beforehand to ensure the surface area of the bound slips was sufficiently broad to contain the text front and back. That such predeterminations were necessary is confirmed by the layout of the text on the slips. The text is com­ posed of a number of separate sections. Like the demonographic section entitled “Chieh,” most sections are identified by a title which appears in a raised heading on the slip where the section begins. Within a section the text is not written in a continuous column down the entire length of each slip, but rather the surface of the slips is divided into horizontal registers. The number of registers placed across the surface of the slips is not uniform through the manuscript, but varies with each section. To read a section one begins with the short column of text below the section title on the first slip. On reaching the space or heavy bar which marks the boundary of the upper register, one then moves to the left to read the short column on the upper register of the next slip. Having read the short column

and Tseng Hsien-t^ung 曾憲通,Yiin-meng Chlin (Ilong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1982). 8 See the commentary to the “ Jih-cht: chuan”

in SC 127. la for discussion of the v/ordjih in the context of divination. 9 YMCMt plates 116-143. The Chinese editors have assigned slip numbers to (he entire manuscript corpus, including the judiciai and governmental writings. The 166 slips of ms A are numbered 730-895. ms A was found on (he right side of the deceased^ head inside the coffin ( YMCMf p. 21).

chien jih shu yen<hiu 雲夢秦簡 U書研究

日者傳 (Account of the day diviners)

10 YMCMt plate 143,slips 735-730reverse, are blank.

The first manuscript, the one containing the demonography (hereafter ms A), does not have an overall title. The second manu­ script (ms B) bears the title Jih shu 13"# (Day Book) written on a slip at the end of the manuscript. Jih is a word which in early usage denoted hemerological arts and divination. Inasmuch as ms A is similar in content to ms B,both manuscripts represent the scope of subjects which might fall within the arts of “day divination” in Warring States and Ch^n-Han times.8 ms A consists of 166 bamboo slips which were originally laced together/ It displays some unusual features which provide new perspectives on early book manufacture. First of all, the text is written on both sides of the slips rather than on just one side as is usual in old bamboo manuscripts. After filling the front side, the text continues on the reverse side, leaving the back side of only six slips blank at the end of the manuscript.10 This method of writing the text suggests that calculations were made beforehand to ensure the surface area of the bound slips was sufficiently broad to contain the text front and back. That such predeterminations were necessary is confirmed by the layout of the text on the slips. The text is com­ posed of a number of separate sections. Like the demonographic section entitled “Chieh,” most sections are identified by a title which appears in a raised heading on the slip where the section begins. Within a section the text is not written in a continuous column down the entire length of each slip, but rather the surface of the slips is divided into horizontal registers. The number of registers placed across the surface of the slips is not uniform through the manuscript, but varies with each section. To read a section one begins with the short column of text below the section title on the first slip. On reaching the space or heavy bar which marks the boundary of the upper register,one then moves to the left to read the short column on the upper register of the next slip. Having read the short column

and Tseng Hsien-^ung 曾憲通,Yiin-msng ChUrt chien jih shu yen<hiu 雲夢泰簡丨4窖研究 (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1982). 8 See (he commcnlary to ihc “ Jih-ch(: chuan” 日者傅 (Account of the day diviners) in SC 127. la for discussion of the word jik in the context of divination. 9 YMCMf plates 116-143. The Chinese editors have assigned slip numbers to the entire manuscript corpus, including the judicial and governmental writings. The 166 slips of ms A are numbered 730-895. ms A was found on the right side of the deceased^ head inside the coffin ( YMCMr p. 21). 10 YMCMt plate 143slips 735-730, reverse, are blank.

Fig. 2. The first ten slips o f “ G hieh,” reproduced from Yun-meng Shui-hu-ti

Fig. 2. The first ten slips o f “ G hieh,” reproduced from Yun-meng Shui-hu-ti ChHn mu, plates 131-132 (the Chinese editors have placed their transcription to the left o f each slip o f the original m anuscript).

on the upper register of the last slip in the section, one must return again to the first slip and read the next lower register. This proce­ dure is repeated until the bottom register is reached. Division into twothree,or six registers is most common among the sections of the text (see figure 1). In some instances a very short section is written down the entire length of several slips without division into reg­


Some of the sections include diagrams and tables which are drawn across the surface of the slips as if on a smooth sheet.13Judging from the layout of the registers and drawings, we may surmise that the bound slips do indeed constitute an unbroken surface like a sheet of silk. It has often been thought that the use of wood or bamboo slips for writing ancient texts meant that the manuscript consisted of a roll of bound slips,each slip containing one column of text written down its entire length. To be sure, this was one method of writing a text. The significance of ms A is that it shows us another method for composing bamboo and wood slip manuscripts. Rather than treating the slips as discrete surfaces loosely bound and rolled, the slips were formed into a tightly bound mat which could be used in the same way that one might use a sheet of silk.13

11 The demonographic section is divided into three registers, illustrated in figure 2.

Some sections do not have heading titles, but can be easily recognized as distinct sections from the context. A five slip section (YMCM, plates 142-143, slips 740-736, reverse) related to protective magic for a horse (see n. 24 below) is a lengthy example of a section which is not divided into registers, but rather is written in full columns which extend down the entire length of cach slip. In addition to the two occult manuscripts, two other writings in the Shui-hu-ti manuscript corpus arc written using registers: a verse on the qualities expected of a government official, assigned the title “ Wei li chih tao” 為 吏 之 道 (YMCM, plates 111-115, slips 679-729); and a chronology, assigned the title **Pien nicn chi” 編 年 記 (yAfCM,plates 50-54, slips 1-53). 12 YMCMy plates 125-126, slips 844—855, contain a schematic drawing of a house compound showing twenty-two gate openings around the perimeter, cach of which has portentous significance. YMCM’ plate 128, slips 879-883,contain drawings of two human figures with the twelve Earthly Branches (ti chih arranged in a ring around the head and limbs. Besides these two examples of drawings, there are three tables in ms A and one tabic in ms B.

18 Early literary sources state that targets used in archcry, on which were painted

various images, were also made of tightly bound slips. See J. K. Riegel, “ Early Chinese Target Magic,” Journal of Chinese Religion 10 (1982): 1—18. Shui-hu-ti Ch‘in mu cku-chim (1978 cd.), p. 280, indicates that the slips of the manuscript with the verse on the qualities expected of a government official had been bound together first, and then used as a

writing surface for the verse. A manuscript of bamboo or wood slips was probably regarded

ms B, which consists of 259 slips,is not as well preserved as ms A. The arrangement into sections with varying numbers of registers is similar to ms A, although the text is written on only one side of the slips. The title Jih shu appears on the back side of the last slip of the text. A single thick bamboo slip which is blank concludes the


Generally speaking, ancient Chinese astrology and divination were grounded in a system of correspondence which meshed the manifold phenomena of the world into a single fabric. The Yin Yang dyad and Five Phase pentad provided the base, while numer- ological correlations derived from the sexagenary cycle used in calendrical computations extended the permutations of the system. The contents of the two Shui-hu-ti manuscripts are devoted primarily to the astrological and divinatory applications of this symbolic system of correspondence. Among the astrological subjects discussed are the method known as chien ch^u 建 除 (“establishment and removal” )for determining the portentous aspects of days during the twelve months15 and the portentous consequences of the movements of sui hsing 歲 星 (Jupiter).18 The Shui-hu-ti manuscripts supplement

as a kind of prc-fabricatcd book-mat in Warring States and Ch*in-Han times, not as an assemblage of separate slips. Certainly silk would have been the most suitable mate­ rial for books with illustrations, diagrams, and charts. In the Han shu bibliographic

treatise documents of this type are usually rolls of silk (chiian•、rather than rolls of

wood or bamboo slips

scripts, it was possible (and more economic) to use a bound mat of slips for the same purpose. The hypothesis advanced by W. A. Ricket, “ An early Chinese calendar chart:

48 (1960): 200, that it would have been impossible to

construct complicated charts on bamboo slips should be revised accordingly.

14 YMCM} plates 144-165, slips 896-1154. ms B had been placed at the deceascd*s feet (YMCM, p. 22). Plate 166 provides some fragments of slips with text which all presumably belong to ms B. The title Jih shu is written on the reverse of slip 1154. Origi­ nally (he manuscript must have been rolled up with the beginning of the text at the ccntcr and the end on the outside of the roll of bound slips. That way, the title written on the back side of the last slip of text could be read at a glance. Thus, it would have been ncccssary to completely unroll the manuscript in order to read it. Other Shui-hu-ti manuscripts were rolled with the beginning of the text on the outside and the end at the center (the question of how the various manuscripts were rolled is discussed in YMCM,

Kuan-tzu I I I , 8 {Yu-kuan)^ TP

{pHen ) . However, as demonstrated

by the Shui-hu-ti manu­

p. 14). The thick end slip of ms B is numbered 1155.

16 YMCM, plates 117-118, slips 743-754; and plates 146-147, slips 921-941. Jao and Tseng, Yiin-meng ChHn chienpp. 4-11, analyzes the chien ch^u method as described in

the manuscripts.

16 YMCMyplate 121, slips 793-796; analyzed in Jao and Tseng, Yiin-meng ChHn chient

pp. 67-99.

what we know of these two forms of astrology from the received literature. O f great interest arc the many sections of the manuscripts which inform us of the favorable and unfavorable predictions regarding nearly every human activity—with the emphasis on identifying the days when certain actions are ill-omened and prohibited. There are lists of days during the year when the earth cannot be violated and construction work is not to be initiated.17 Divination by turtle and milfoil is not to be performed on a day with a cyclical designa­ tion containing the sign tzu ,for it will bring injury to the Supreme Augustus (shang huang ± 4); and bathing or washing hair is pro- hibited on a mao day which is designated “blood light” (hsiieh ming 血明).18 Lucky and unlucky days for marriage are named and the court official is also provided with a list of predictions for the success of his business at court according to the duodenary sign of the day and the time of day when he has audience.19 The above are just a sample of the observances affecting daily life. Prohibitions of this type were an integral part of the hemerologi- cal speculations of the Yin Yang specialists, as witness the assessment made of the Yin Yang “school” in the Han shu bibliographic


Reverently following the progress o f H igh Heaven, tracking the movements o f the sun, moon, asterisms, and chronograms; and reverently giving to the people a seasonal calendar— it is in these things tha t they are excellent. W hen this function is carried out in a crippling way, it becomes snarled in prohibitions and taboos and m ired in specious calculations. I l abandons the business o f m ankind and takes service from demons.

In the Lun heng 論衡,Wang Ch‘ung 王 充 (27-ca.lOO a .d .) criticizcd

17 YMCM, plate 124, slips 831-833 (construction taboos); and slips 833-835 (taboos

on digging up the earth). Similar sections occur at other placcs in the manuscripts.

Taboos of this type are mentioned in Lun heng 論 衡 (•SPPy ed.), “ Chi jih ’’ 識日,24.4a*

18 YMCMt plate 124, slip 830 (divination taboo); and slip 833 (bathing taboo). Lun

heng, “ Chi jih ,” 24.3a,quotes a “ Hairwashing Book” (“ Mu shu” 沐書)which stales that washing hair on mac day makes a person’s hair turn white.

19 Choosing days for marriage is mentioned at many points in the manuscripts. See,

for example, YMCMt plate 128,slip 884; and plate 130,slips 895-884, reverse, which conccrns marriage from the aspect of both the family sending out the daughter and the groom’s family. The section relating to officials is YMCM, plate 129, slips 886-895.

those gullible souls who allowed their lives to be programed by the “season and day books” {shih jih chih shu 時日之書).21 It appears that the Shui-hu-ti manuscripts are third century B.C. exemplars of precisely the kind of superstitious calendars held in disrepute by Wang Ch‘ung. The similarities between the manuscripts and popular Chinese almanacs in use today are also striking.22 In spite of the dour admonitions of critics of popular Chinese culture through the centuries, the precautionary observance of such calendrical prohibi­ tions in the conduct of life has yet to slacken. In addition to the demonographic section, the manuscripts furnish rare material on other aspects of magico-religious belief and practice. Sections on dreams in both manuscripts include the words of incanta­ tion used to expel demons who cause nightmares.23 In ms A there is the text of a lengthy prayer chanted as part of the ritual for protecting a horse from harm.24 The Pace of Yii (Yu pu 禹歩),much used by Six Dynasties Taoists, and other magical practices associated with this divine culture hero occur in both manuscripts. The Pace of Yii is also found in the Ma-wang-tui 馬王堆 manual of medical recipes, Wu~shih~erh ping fang 五十二病方 (Recipes for fifty-two ail­ ments), among the exorcistic methods used to expel demons of In these manuscripts we have the first direct documentation of the Pace of Yii in the pre-Han magico-religious tradition; it corroborates decisively the assimilation into later Taoist religion of

« Ltm heng3“ Chi jih ,” 24.1a.

22 Like the Shui-hu-ti

manuscripts, the almanacs published annually in Taiwan and

Hong Kong offer an cclcctic assortment of material meant to guide the individual in the activities of daily life: astrology, lucky and unlucky days, geomantic conditions, fortune- telling, charms, etc. How widely the ancient almanac literature was disseminated must

remain an intriguing question. Two groups of manuscripts from tomb three ai Ma-wang- tui which Chinese scholars have labeled “ Hsing le” 刑德 and “ Yin yang wu hsin# , 陰陽五行 remain unpublished, but also promise to add to our knowledge of ancient astrology and calendrical superstitions. There is a brief description of the contents of these writings in Chou Shih-jung 周世榮,“ LOeh t‘an Ma-wang-tui ch'u-t*u ti po-shu chu- chicn” 略談馬王堆出土的帛替竹簡,Ma-wang-tui i shuyen-ckiu ckuan-k^an馬王堆凿害研究 琢刊 2 (1981): 41^2.

23 YMCM, plate 131, slips 883-882, reverse; and plates 159-160,slips 1085-1090

(discussed in Jao and Tseng, Yiin-meng ChHn ckienyp. 28). I have in preparation an article on incantations used to expel dream demons, the two in the Shui-hu-ti manuscripts being the oldest examples of a type of incantation still in use today.

24 YMCMy plates 142-143, slips 740-736, reverse (discusscd in Jao and Tseng, Yiin-meng

Ck'in chienpp. 42—45).

magical practices from the ancient religious core.25Thorough analy­ sis of the Shui-hu-ti occult manuscripts will reillumine other important aspects of early belief and practice which have been obscured by gaps in the literary remains of the Warring States and Ch‘in-Han periods. We shall come to know much more about the society and culture of this period thanks to these long-buried treasures. I trust that my introduction of the demonography will prove to be an auspicious contribution to this scholarly under­



The demonography is found on ms A on the reverse side of slips 872-828 (following the slip numbers assigned to the Shui-hu-ti manuscript corpus by the Chinese editors). It is written in three registers across the forty-five slips which it occupies.27 The title

25 For the magical practiccs associated with Y ii in the Shui-hu-ti manuscripts, see Jao and Tseng, Yiin-meng Ch(in chienpp. 20-23. For the Pace of Yu in the Wu-shih-erh ping fang, see Harper, “ The Wu Shih Erh Ping Fang,” pp. 98-101. W ith characteristic insight, M . Granet, “ Remarques sur le Taoisme ancien,” AM 2 (1925): 146-51, already deduced

the ancient origin of the Pace of Y ii from references to Yii,s lameness in Warring States speculative literature; and Granet was the first scholar to recognize ihe importance of prior magico-religious traditions in the formation of the Taoist sects which emerged in the second century a.d. 26 As of this writing (January, 1985), Jao and Tseng, Yiin-meng Cklin chienis the only published study of the Shui-hu-ti occult manuscripts of which I am aware, although a number of scholars arc at work on the manuscripts. The Workshop on Divination and Portent Interpretation in Ancicnt China (organized by Professor Jeffrey K. Riegel and held at the University of California, Berkeley, in June, 1983) included a panel on the Shui-hu-ti occult manuscripts with papers by Jao Tsung-i, Li Hsueh-ch*in, Michacl Loewe, and Robin D. S. Yates. Marc Kalinowski has written a study of the occult manuscripts, “ Les traitcs dc Shuihudi ct Fh^m^rologic chinoise a la fin des Royaumes-

Combattants** (typescript dated June,

An important question which I do not address in this article, but which I would like to at least mention, is the significance of placing manuscripts in ancicnt Chinese tombs along with other burial goods. The manuscripts from Shui-hu-ti and Ma-wang-tui are clearly writings which circulated among the literate elite of the period, and they may be treated as exemplars of books used in life. Thus, the manuscripts were not a special category of tomb literature. Rather, there was something magical and spiritual about books which made them appropriate items to be included among the burial goods. Cf. Hulsewe, “ Texts in tombs,” Asiatische Studien 18/19 (1965): 78-89, whose observations on this subject were made before the discoveries of manuscripts in ancicnt tombs in the

1984), which w ili appear

in T^oung Pao,



appears in

a raised

heading at


top of slip


followed by the prologue which begins immediately beneath it on the slip. After the prologue come the recipe-like entries dealing with demons and their noxious manifestations (see figure 2). The meaning of the title is not immediately apparent, for the word chieh is not one of the usual terms in the received literature used to denote demonological arts or exorcistic practices. The Shuo wen chieh tzu 説文解字 glosses the word simply as wen 問 (“question, interrogate,’).2S Philological analysis, however, reveals that the etymon belongs to the religious lexicon of Shang and Chou times and that chieh belongs to a word family redolent with magical associations. Once explicated, the meaning of the word chieh can be seen to signify the precise intent of the Shui-hu-ti demonography. As evidenced by the Shuo wen chieh tzu gloss, in Han times chieh regularly referred to the act of interrogation or of subjection to critical scrutiny. Compounds such as chieh tse 話黃 and chieh wen 詰問 referred specifically to the investigation of criminal accusations.29 The most precise indication of the legal definition of chieh which we have comes from the Shui-hu-ti manuscripts, in a Ch(in judicial case book. The relevant passage occurs at the beginning of a section concerning the investigation of criminal charges:30

Whenever investigating crim inal charges one must first listen to their words in their entirety and record them. Each person presents his statement. Even though one


knows that they are lying, there is no need to

autom atically make

*7 YMCM,plates 131-135. The third register on the last nine slips is occupied by a text unrelated to the demonographic section.

28 SW 3A.29a.

29 HS 86.15a relates that Wang Chia 王离 was interrogated (chieh wen) for over twenty

days without being allowed food,and finally died coughing blood. HS 51.8b describes the inquiry which resulted from a memorial submitted to the throne by Chia Shan 贾山 in which he made several strong accusations. The memorial was sent to a board of officials for critical scrutiny (chieh tse)yand Chia Shan was called upon to justify the claims made

in the memorial. He managed to vindicate himself. The fact that the inquiry focused on Chia Shan’s memorial and on his justification of statements made in it is signiBeant in light of the meaning of chieh discussed below.

30 The case book is entitled “ Feng chcn shih” 封診式 ;and the section is “ Hsiin yii”

訊 獄 (Investigating criminal chargcs). For the annotated text, see Shui-hu-ti Ch^in mu chu-ckien (1978 ed.), pp. 246-247. M y translation of the passage differs from that of McLeod and Yates, “ Forms of Ch‘in law,” pp. 131-32, who do not analyze the meaning and legal significance of the word chiek.

(chieh). I f after their statements have been entirely recorded there are things which

have not been explained,

tory statements in their entirety. Again see i f there are any other things for which they have no explanation and accuse them oncc more. I f the accusation o f them is


then accusc them w ith the accusations (? chieh-che chieh accused them, again listen to and record their explana­



pursued to the utmost and they repeatedly lie, altering their words and not subm it­ ting, then in cases where the statute stipulates flogging,go ahead and flog them.

In this example of Gh(in legal parlance, chieh (which I have rendered as ‘‘accusation’’ or “accuse”)refers to the interrogation of the parties concerned in order to expose the lies in their statements and cxtract the true facts. Crucial to the conduct of the interrogation is the recording of the statements. Even the most obvious lies are left un­ challenged while the statement is being presented. Only after the statement has been recorded is the person subjected to accusations based on an examination of the written record. This punctilious attitude towards due process of law is not the innovation of Ch‘in organizational policy. It can be traced to the role of written state­ ments as concrete testimony to spiritual obligations in Shang and Chou religion. This aspect of early Chinese religion has been exhaustively studied by the Japanese sinologist Shirakawa Shizuka 白川静. Shirakawa argues that in a number of Shang graphs a box-like graphic element which many epigraphers have interpreted as signifying a mouth actually represents a ritual vessel used to hold written statements presented to the spirits. According to Shirakawa’s interpretation, these Shang graphs have a fundamental connotation of written rather than oral communication with the spirits.31 Shirakawa proposes formal criteria for distinguishing between the graphic element for the ritual vessel and the one for the mouth. Unfortu- nately, the absolute distinction that Shirakawa would make between them is not borne out by an examination of all of the graphs involved.32 That his analysis of the script is not entirely satisfactory

31 Shirakawa,s thesis is presented in two articles, both found in his Kdkotsu kimbungaku

ronsku 甲骨金文学論集(Kyoto: Hoyu shoten, 1974): “ Shaku shi” 釋史,pp. 1-68; and t(Sai-sho kanfcd jisetsu” 載書關係字説,pp. 307-64.

82 Shirakawa, Kdkotsup. 7, argues thai the graphic element representing the vessel is

regularly a broad dish-shape ^ (older forms of which have a bulge at the base y ) while the graphic element for the mouth is smaller in size ^ . The arbitrariness of Sliirakawa’s distinction is immediately apparent when one looks at the relevant Shang

however by no means invalidates Shirakawa’s brilliant insight concerning the religious motif of the vessel in Shang spirit communi­ cation and its graphic manifestation in the Shang script. While we cannot know for certain the principles of graph formation which the Shang followed, it is clear that not every box-like figure in the Shang graphs can be a representation of a mouth. Rather than assign it the semantic root “mouth,” I would suggest the more fundamental sense of “hollow cavity, container” for this graphic element, which in actual practice might have been written in a variety of slightly different forms. The physiological organ is then just one of the applications of this graphic element in the composition of Shang


Since Shirakawa’s script distinctions are not an infallible guide to the graphs which connote the religious motif of written statements placed in vessels, we must examine each case individually. I believe that by and large the series of graphs Shirakawa has isolated are what he says they are— that the box-like element in them repre­ sents a ritual vessel used to hold some kind of writ.34 It is in this

graphs. Shima Kunio 岛邦男,Inkyo bokuji sdrui 殷墟卜辭綜類 (Tokyo; Kyuko sho-in, 1971), p. 117, provides many examples where the large box-like graph tl?clearly means

“ mouth”;and it is used in the composition of other graphs where it also represents the

mouth (for example p. 301,t2S)> one of the forms of the word for tooth, chlih ) . I am indebted to Professor David N. Keightlcy for bringing to my attention this flaw in Shirakawa’s analysis, and to Professor David. S. Nivison for showing me additional examples which call into question Shirakawa’s graphic distinctions.

33 As pointed out to me by Professor Nivison, Shang graphs which include a representa­ tion of the ox scapula in their graphic composition sometimes show the cavity at the top of the bone using this graphic element. See Shima, Inkyo, p. 303, one of the Shang forms of pu . While profiting from the critical observations of Professors Keightlcy and Nivison, the speculation on the versatility of the box-like graphic dement in the Shang script represents my own interpretation of the data. 34 Two notable examples are (shih )and (kao ) . Shirakawa, Kdkoisupp. 1-68, demonstrates that the first graph shows a hand holding a rod which is attached to

a vessel; and that the second graph shows a vessel suspended from a branch. In both cases

the graphs represent words for spirit communication which involve the ritual presentation of documents in vessels for divine inspection. I am not so convinced by Shirakawa’s evidence for placing ,*0 (chu )among the graphs which signify written spirit communica­ tion. The graph shows a human figure surmounted by the box-like clement which is quite likely the mouth from which the incantation emerges (Shirakawa argues that it must be a human figure holding up a document vessel). Nonetheless, Shirakawa has broken new ground in Shang philology with his research on the vessel graphic element in the script, and we may expect further refinements of Shirakawa’s thesis to follow from his initial discoveries.

series that Shirakawa places chi (*kiet),36conventionally translated as “auspicious,” which is the root of our chieh (*k(iet). Shirakawa analyzes the Shang graph for chi as representing a vessel with a knobbed lid on top and speculates that originally the word signified the spiritual benefaction which resulted from the offering of written prayers in sealed vessels. Whether or not his speculation truly accounts for the meaning of chi in Shang inscriptions, there is no doubt that the word reflects in its graphic composition the motif of the sealed vessel in spirit communication. The graph for chieh is simply an expanded form of the same word.36 In Chou literature chieh means literally to “obligate oneself to the spirits by means of a written document” and thus to “subject to spiritual scrutiny.’’37 Perhaps the most famous instance of a dec­ laration sealed in a casket in order to supplicate the spirits is recorded in the “Chin t‘eng” 金 滕 (Metal bands) chapter of the Shang shu 尚書• In order to relieve King Wu 武王 of his affliction, the Seigneur of Chou 周公 wrote a secret prayer pledging his life in exchange for the king’s and sealed it in a casket bound with metal bands.38During the Chou it was believed that spiritual surveillance gave binding force to oaths and contractual agreements; writs sealed in vessels and inscribed vessels were the material means of effectuating this divine witness.39The same belief accounts for the stipulation in Ch‘in judicial proceedings that accusations are to be made on the basis of recorded testimony, not merely on the basis of oral statements. The written word provided material evidence to expose errors in the speaker’s statements and bound the speaker to give a true account, or else be punished. Several other words which contain chi in their graphic composi­ tion are derived from the same etymon and provide further insight

85 The phonctic reconstructions used are the archaic Chinese reconstructions in B.

Karlgrcn, Grammata Serica Recetisa (Stockholm: Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 1957).

86 Shirakawa, Kdkoisu’ pp. 328-329.

*7 Ibid., pp. 328-29, citing passages from the Shang shu 尚害 and Chou li 周禮.


Shang shu {SSCCS ed.), “ Chin t‘eng,” 13.6a.


See the masterful summation of the magico-religious significance of writing and of

documents (including inscribed vessels) in Chou and Ch*in-Han times in J. Gernet,

“ ficrit el histoire en Chine,” Journal (U psychologic normale el palhologique 56 (1959): 31-40. Gernet, “ La vcntc cn Chine d^pres les contrats de Touen-houang (IX e-X e siddes),,’ TP 45 (1957): 295-391, specifically studies the role of spiritual surveillance in swearing oaths and making contracts.

into the nature of binding in Chou and Chcin-Han belief. Most prominent among these cognates is chieh 結 (*kiet),defined in the Shuo wen chieh tzu as a “knot which cannot be untied.,,40 A frequent term for religious and contractual obligations in pre-Han litera­ ture,41 the knot has a magical efficacy like that of the document vessel. This conceptual parallel is evident in the tradition preserved in early sources that the kings of remotest antiquity knotted cords to enforce their rule, a custom which was later replaced by written documents.42 Like written documents, the knots symbolized specific obligations witnessed by the spirits. The word for the topknot of hair is commonly written with the graph in Han literature, although chi (*kied) is attested in early literature. Written with the latter graph, the word “topknot” occurs in the Chuang tzu 莊子 ,where it is identified as the spirit name of the stove deity.43 In the cult of the stove the deity presided over the obligations to be observed by members of the household, a function which was iconographically represented in Topknot’s divine hairdo/4 The Shuo wen chieh tzu lists specialized words for

40 SW 13A.8b.

TV is the word used to gloss

and SW 13A.9a defines ti as a “ knot

which cannot be untied.” SW 13A.22b defines niu as a “ knot which can be untied,” making an intentional contrast between ti!chieh and niu.

41 See, for example, Kuan tzu 箭 子 ed.), “ Shu yen” 梢言,4.10b, where chieh niu

結紐 is paired with another important term for contractual obligations, yiieh shu 約束. The dclinitivc study of the ancient concept of contractual bonds (with special reference to military organizations) is in Masubuchi Tatsuo ?鼎龍夫 , Chugoku kodai no shakai to kokka 中國古代O 社會 i 國 家 (Tokyo: KObun d6 1960), pp. 147-86.

42 This tradition is recorded in / ching 易 經 SS<X1S ed.)> “ Hsi tz‘u” 繁辭,8.8a; and

again in the postface to the Shuo wen chieh tzu,SW, where Hsii Shen 許慎 relates that knotting was used to govern down through tlie era of Shen nung 神 農 (Divine Agrarian) and that it was Ts‘ang Chieh 倉額 who invented (he script by observing the tracks of birds and beasts during the era of Huang ti 货帝(Yellow God). In Chuang tzu 莊 子 (•SPPred.) “ Ch‘ii ch‘ich” 肤篋,4.12b,and Lao tzu 老 子 {SPPY 、Wang PJ 王弼 ed .), paragraph 80,government by knotting is represented as a characteristic of the utopian age of simplicity prior to the advent of the fulsome artifice of later times. Perhaps these early references to knotting preserve the memory of an antique form of communication

by means of knotted cords (such as was used in other ancient civilizations), but the binding magic implied in the use of knots clearly had its origins in magico-religious belief.

sheng” 達生,7.5a. 結 is regularly used to write the word for

43 Chuang tzu, “ Ta

“ topknot” in the Shuo wen chieh tzu and other Han writings.

44 See E. H. Schafer, “ The stove god and the alchcm ists,,,in L. G. Thompson ed.,

Studia Asiatica: Essays in Felicitation of the Seventy-jifih Anniversary of Professor Ch^en Shou-yt (San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center, J975), pp. 261-66,for discussion of the stove deity in early times (and the likely feminine identity of the deity Topknot).

topknot styles,most of which appear to have ritual significance.46 Disheveled hair was a demonic trait and thus great importance was attached to the binding of the hair. The nature of hair itself, the perceived contrast between unbound and knotted hair, and the elaboration of topknot styles within the context of religious custom all suggest that hair fashion involved notions of binding magic which were related to knotted cords and sealed document vessels.46 The magically prophylactic aspect of the topknot in hair fashion is well illustrated by a Han warrior hairstyle known as the “teratoid topknot” (tcui chi 魃結). T ‘ui is identified in the Erhya 爾雅 as the name of a creature which resembles a small bear; the Shuo wen chieh tzu preserves several cognates of t^ui which signify a repugnant face or protruding brow. Judging from these cognates and from the com­ position of the grapht^ui no doubt designated a type of fantastic monster, hence my “teratoid” to describe the topknot.47 The Shih

45 SW 9A.25a-28b includes the following words for topknot styles: pan “ topknot

for sleeping” ;/m f'f “ topknot” ; chieh “ topknot with hairpins ”;chua “ mourning topknot” . Hayashi Minao, Kandai no bumbutsu 漢代 <D文 物 (Kyoto: Kyoto daigaku jimbun kagaku kcnkyiisho, 1976), pp. 73-76, provides a valuable discussion of the topknot in Han times based on literary and archcological cvidencc. *6 Han fei tzu 餘 非 子 ed.), “ Nei ch‘u shuo hsia” 内儲説下,10.3a-b,recounts how a knight pretended to be a ghost by stripping naked and unbinding his hair in order to elude a cuckolded husband. In Han and pre-Han literature the term pHfa 被髮 denotes ihe long, loose hair which is characteristic both of dcmonic apparitions and of people who arc wild or possessed. For example, a ghoul who appeared in a dream to the ruler of Chin had “ loose hair {plifa) which reached to the ground** (Tso ckrnn 左 傅 [SSCCS ed.], Ch*eng 10, 26.29a). The unbinding of the topknot could constitute a significant ritual act. In the passages on expelling dream demons from the Shui-hu-ti occult manu­

scripts cited in n. 23 above, the person is instructed to unbind the hair and then chant the spell. Similarly, the act of first binding (he topknot is a sign of entering adulthood comparable to the capping ccrcmony (see SC J09.7a and 112.11b, and HS 54.7b, for use of the term chiehJa 結髮 to denote the “ age of coming to manhood” ).

47 Erh ya (SSCCS ed.),“ Shih shou” 釋猷 , 10.15afurther describes the as


yellow with sparse fur. But it was the crcature’s head which was its trademark in the lcxicon of physiognomy. In SC 79.15a, a physiognomist uses the term ^ui yen 魅顔 to describe the peculiar protruding shape of Ts‘ai Tse,s 蔡澤 forehead. The same usage is given in SW 9A.4b under the cognate ch(ui ,glossed as a “ protruding brow.” Hui 催, glossed in SW 8A.36b as a “ repugnant face,” is yet another cognate which refers to tlic appcarance of the bead. Present editions of the Shuo wen chieh tzu list t*ui (5H74A.30b), but it was added to the text at a latter date (see Tuan Yii-ts‘ai,s commentary). Probably the physiognomic senses of the word were represented by ck*ui and kui,and Hsii Shen left

out the graph which represented the word for the crcaturc itself. is Fu Ch‘ien 服 虔 (second century) who identifies the teratoid topknot as a warrior


hairstyle in the commentary to the occurrence of t*ui chi in HS 43.5b. Fu Ch*ien knows

chi 史記 reports that when Chao T‘o 趙他,the self-appointed King of Southern Yiieh 南越IE, held audience with the Han envoy sent to offer him the official seal of Han acknowledging his title, Chao T‘o greeted the envoy while ‘‘wearing the teratoid topknot and sitting like a winnowing basket.” Both the hairstyle and the sitting posture were indications of Chao TVs aversion for the representative of the Han court.48 In the Shih chi and Han shu the teratoid topknot is identified as a characteristic hairstyle of barbaric peoples to the south and north. The distribution of the teratoid topknot in a ring around the Han borderlands in Han historical writing should not be taken as a sign that the hairstyle was of foreign origin: its associa­ tion with barbaric customs probably developed as a cultural stereotype in the Han mind.49 In the Han shu the word ch‘ui (“hammer”) sometimes appears in place of t (ui . Yen Shih-ku 顔師 古 (581-645) accordingly suggests that the topknot was shaped like a hammer.50 Perhaps the bulges of the /‘wi,s monstrous visage indeed conformed to the shape of a hammer (and it might then be aptly called the hammer-head), which led to the use of ch'ui in place of t^ui in the Han shu when referring to the teratoid topknot. This later graph substitution notwithstanding, the original referent in the name of the topknot was the creature with the protruding brow.

of the topknot as ch'ui chi 椎 髮 (“ hammer topknot” ),which appears to have been the more common name by Later Han times (see n. 50 below). 48 The Han envoy was Lu Chia 陸賈 and the event, which took place in 196 B . C . , is described in his biography in SC 97.5b-6a (and again in HS 43.5b). The significance of sitting like a winnowing basket and the nature of the aversion expressed by hairstyle and posture are discussed below, pp. 483-90.

49 Besides the rcfcrcncc to the teratoid topknot in connection with Chao

T 4o and

Southern Yiieh, the Shik chi and Han shu identify it as part of the dress custom of the Southwest I people (SC 116.1b, HS 95. la ); of the northeastern inhabitants of Ch‘ao- hsicn 5C 115.1b, HS 95.18b) and of the Hsiung-nii 匈 奴 {HS 54.15b). The stereo­ typical association of the teratoid topknot with barbaric custom~when in fact the topknot was a fundamentally Chinese custom—is evident in Lun heng, “ Shuai hsing” 率性, 2.15a, where Wang Ch*ung states that Chao T ‘o,s topknot and winnowing basket posture were signs that he had adopted the customs of the southern barbarians and rcjcctcd the civilizing refinements of Han culture. According to Wang Ch*ung, Chao T ‘o subsequently pledged allcgiancc to the Han court and then regarded the teratoid topknot and winnowing basket posture with revulsion. It was the magico-religious significance ofsuch manners in indigenous Chinese custom, especially in giving expression to profanity, which placed them outside of proper etiquette; the result being their attribution to barbarians. This point is developed further on pp. 488-90 below. 60 See Yen Shih-ku,s commentary on the occurrcnce of t(ui chi in HS 43.5b. The name of the topknot is written ch*ui chi 椎結 in HS 54.15b 95.1a, and 95.18b.

The hairstyle was surely intended to be apotropaic, serving to protect the wearer from harm and perhaps to strike fear in the heart of an opponent as well.51 An exorcistic aspect of the chi word family is suggested in another likely cognate, chieh (*ke3.t), which the Shuo wen chieh tzu

glosses as “take precaution.”52 Although not

exorcistic context in the received literature, its graphic composition should be compared to ho ,a word which connotes the subjugation of demonic forces by means of exorcistic weapons. Like chi ,the root hai can be traced to the Shang religious lexicon. Its derivates consist not only of words for exorcistic beating, but also include kai ,which in the Shuo wen chieh tzu is glossed as the “contract made within the army.”53 In the two word families it appears that the magical efficacy of language is comparable to that of other instru­ ments; further, that the act of magical binding implicit in both word families may apply to the summoning of spirit witnesses and to the exorcism of spectral evils.64 By the time of the Shui-hu-ti manuscripts, chieh on the one hand designated the use of written testimony as incontrovertible evidence for testing the veracity of a witness in judicial proceedings, and on the other hand was still applied to older practices in which

attested in an explicitly

M A. E. D ien,“ A study of early Chinese armor,” Artibus Asiae 43 (1981 /82): 18,relates the ch^ui chi hairstyle to the headdress of guardian figures in military dress found in Six Dynasties lombs. Their function in the burial is of course apotropaic. It is likely that the leratoid topknot is represented among the pottery figures recently cxcavaled from the pits flanking the burial mound of Ch‘in shih huang-li 始皇east of Sian 西安. The use of the name of the tlui monster in an apotropaic context is also suggested in several personal names recorded in the Tso chuan: Ch*ing Fu-^ui (Tso chuan

Ch‘eng 1728.25b);

and Hsiang T u i

向 魆 a.k.a. Huan T u i 桓魈 ;Tso chuan, Ting

10, 56.7a). They arc probably intended (o be protective names. 52W 13B .5U . 53 SW 3A.3lb. On hai and related words, see Shirakawa Shizuka Kanji no sekai

tD世界 2 vols. (Tokyo Hcibonsiia, 1976)1: 241-43. The signifies and

regularly in graphs for words related to magical cocrcion and specifically indicate the instruments used to coerce the spirits. Shirakawa notes that ho is cognate with hai , a graph which in Han times was restricted to a binom hai-ssu (which designated a kind of talismanic stafT used for cxorcistic beating). Ssu alone is used as a verb meaning “ beat exorcisdcally” in the Wu-shih-erh ping fang (see Harper, “ The Wu Shih Erh Ping Fang’” pp. 364-65, for details). &4 The fact that the same magical dcvices are ofien used both to aitraci and to repel the spirits is characteristic of Chinese belief and practice. Sec Harper,“ The Wu Shih Erh Ping Fang^1pp. 76-79, for discussion of this aspcct of certain incantatory utterances.


oaths and spells had the power to magically obligate men and demons. This form of “spdibinding” (the English word I would choose to translate chiek) must then have also been applied generally to the art of exorcism, hence its appearance in the title of the Shui-hu-ti demonography.55 Guides to the mysterious and often terrifying spirit landscape of the old Chinese world have a long tradition in legend. The Tso chuan 左傅 preserves the tale that the water-tamer Yii had caldrons cast which were emblazoned with images of the spirit creatures of the terrestrial realm. The caldrons were intended to reveal the identity of the spirits so that humankind might not suffer their foul play.66 Similarly, the Shan hai ching enumerated the habitats arid marvelous inhabitants of the earth. It was a talismanic book which forearmed its possessor in undertaking a spirit quest.57 The prologue to the Shui-hu-ti demonography explicitly places the text in the tradition of works which help to free a person from the machinations of ill-willed spirit powers. Thus the prologue serves to associate the purpose of the text as a whole with the function of Yii’s magical caldrons. As we shall see, this tradition was perpetuated in the Six Dynasties demonographic genre as well. The prologue deserves close scrutiny:58

55 The relation of writing and spells to exorcism is made clear in Huai nan tzu 南子 {SPPY ed.), “ Pen ching*’ 經,8.4b, where it is said that when Ts'ang Chieh invented writing, the demons wailed at night. The commentary explains that the demons wailed because they feared being subjugated {ho )by the written documents. It is worth noting that the word “ exorcise” has a similar etymology—the use of oaths and impreca­ tions to expel evil spirits. Tso chuan’ Hsiian 3,21 ♦15b-16b. The story of the caldrons forms pari of an admoni­ tion made to the covetously inquisitive ruler of Ch*u :

In the past when the Hsia first possessed the Divine Virtue, the distant quarters made diagrams of the spirit creaturcs, contributed metal to the Nine Herdsmen, and cast caldrons to rcplicatc the spirit crcaturcs. Due to this the hundred spirit creaturcs were fully revealed, enabling the people to rccognize the machinations of spirits. Thus the people entered streams, marshes, mountains, and forests, and did not encounter the unseemly. None of the Ch‘ih-mei and Wang-liang 罔兩 were able to waylay them.

The Ch'ih-mei and Wang-liang typify the noxious spirit forccs lying in wait for human

victims. •r,? The Shan hai eking has been traditionally regarded as a textual counterpart to the caldrons. See J. Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, 7 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1954-), 3: 503.

68 See figure 3 for the

transcription of the prologue. Jao and Tseng, Yun-meng Ch*in

slip 872, reverse, first register:

IS•詰咎民罔£ 民詰之slip 871reverse, first register:


slip 870reverse, first register:


Fig. 3.

Transcription o f the prologue.

Note: usignific omitted” means that the root form of the graph is used alone in the text without the addition of the signific element which specifics the appropriate word; “ scribal variant” means that the graph in the text is an expanded form of the root graph, but is not attested in the received literature as specifying the appropriate word.

a (sign ific omitlcd)


b (signific



e S

= (scribal variant)

1. Spellbinding to inflict odium on demons.

2. The Wang-hang who injure people treat the people unpropi­


3. Let the way for how to spellbind them be declared, to enable the people to not encounter the baleful and calamitous.80

4. What demons detest are namely reclining in a crouch, sitting

chienpp. 26-27, briefly discusscs the demonographic section and offers a partial trans­ cription of the prologue using modern punctuation which is not entirely accuratc.

89 In the original text the two phrases of my line 2 are each four graphs in length

with rhyming between hang 行 (*g‘ang) and hsiang (*dziang).

60 The original text of the first half of my line 3 crosscs from the bottom of the first

register on slip 872, reverse, to the top of the first register on slip 871, reverse. At the bottom of the first register on slip 872, reverse, is a sign ()which does not appear to be a graph, but rather some kind of manuscript marker. The same sign occurs at the bottom of the second register on slip 872, reverse, but occurs nowhere else in the Shui-hu-ti manuscripts. That it must be some kind of marker and not a graph (Jao and Tseng, YUn- mng Ck*in ckienyp. 26, render it as chao ) is dear from the fact that in both occurrcnccs it cannot be read as part of the text. The text in the second register is a single sentence which concludes before the sign ; and in the first register,the only plausible reading of the text is to pass from the graph chih directly over to tao at the top of the first register on slip 871, reverse. Slip 872, reverse, is the first slip of the demonographic section. Unlike the calendrical enumerations and brief lists found in other sections of the

like a winnowing basket, interlinked motion, and the leaning stand.

The iirst line announces the demonological subject. Chiu ,which

I have translated as “inflict odium ,,’ means literally “to commit

a fault which incurs spiritual odium.’,61The word is also used transi­

tively to mean “direct spiritual odium towards someone’’ and in this sense is part of the early lexicon of exorcism.62 The name Wang-hang in the second line is not recorded in

the received literature. However it is clearly related to the set of binomial demon names Wang-liang 罔兩Wang-hsiang 罔象,and Fang-liang . While early sources offer distinct identifications— for example,that the Wang-liang is a tree and rock sprite while the Wang-hsiang is a water sprite— 63 it appears that all three binoms spring from a word designating certain telluric bogies.64

It was to protect the people from the Wang-liang that Y ii,s caldrons

were cast.66 The Ckou li 周字describes a method of killing the Spirit

of the Water {shui shen )by submerging a pole of catalpa wood

manuscript, the demonography is written in a continuous prose style. The sentences in the text often cross over from one register to the next. Perhaps this unusual manuscript

marker (I know of no other examples of it) is used to mark the first and second registers of the first slip of the demonographic scction in order to remind the reader not to read the text down vertically beyond the register divisions,but rather to continue reading across the section horizontally by registers. Yang 歹失{* iang), the last word in line 3, rhymes with hang and hsiang above.

61 Sec Shirakawa, Kanji 1: 180.

62 See the discussion of the book title Declarations of Odiumfor Mutant Prodigies in n. 4


63 The locus classicus for this identification is a dcmonological teaching put in the mouth

of Confucius in Kuoyii (SPPY ed.), “ Ia i yii” 5.7a.

64 There are additional binoms besides these three which share the same etymological

affinity. See the extended discussion of the relevant words in Kiang, Le Voyage, pp. 168- 216. Phonologically, the demon name Pkang-huang (*b,wang*g,wang) is the elosest to Wang-hang (*iniwang-g^ng). P‘ang-huang is identified as the spirit of the wilds {yek ) in Chuang tzuy“ Ta shcng,” 7,5a (cf. n. 43 and 83). The velar initial of the sccond

syllabic differs from the names Wang-liang (*miwang-!iang), Wang-hsiang (*miwang- dzang),and Fang-liang (* piwang-Uang). W. Boltz,^Philological footnotes to the Han New Year Rites,” JAOS 99 (1979); 432-33, reconstructs a hypothetical form **BLjang〜•*BZjang for the original demon name on the basis of the latter three binoms, but Boltz docs not comment on P*ang-huang. P4ang-huang and the new Shui-hu-ti form Wang-hang are nonetheless related to the other binoms and should be accounted for in spccuJations on the phonological and semantic background of this set of demon names. 6ft See the Tso chuan passage translated in n. 56 above.

stuck with ivory teeth in water; the spirit, according to Cheng Hsiian 鄭 玄 127-200),is named Wang-hsiang.66 In the Pao p‘u tzu there is evidence of the same beliefs regarding maleficent water sprites in an account of a huge turtle which plagued the local populace from its dwelling in a deep river pool. The turtle was finally killed by a magician who first forced it to the surface by scattering talismans all over the pool and then killed it with a pole.87 The expulsion of the spectral denizens of the ground when burying the dead was an act performed by the fang-hsiang ,the chief exorcist.68 According to the Chou li9 thefang-hsiang leads the funeral procession and, on reaching the tomb,descends into the burial pit to drive out the Fang-liang. Cheng Hsiian identifies Fangliang with Wang-liang.68 In the Feng su tlung i 風俗,Ying Shao 應 助 ca. 140- ca.206) cites this Chou li passage by way of explaining the custom of planting a thuja on the tomb and placing a stone tiger at the head of the path to the tomb:70

On the tomb a thuja is planted and at the head oi the path a stone tiger. In the Chou

li,“ On the day o f burial the fang-hsiang chief enters the p it to drive out the Wang-

hsiang.” The Wang-hsiang likes to eat the liver and brain o f the deceased.

cannot constantly have the fang-hsiang stand by the side o f the tomb to bar it. But

the Wang-hsiang fears the tiger and the thuja. Thus the tiger and thuja are placed before the tomb.

The Feng su t'ung i names the Wang-hsiang, rather than the Fang­ liang or Wang-liang, as the unsavory ghoul who lurks about the



In the Shui-hu-ti demonography, Wang-hang surely refers to the

68 Chou li (SSCCS ed.), tlHu cho shih” 壶涿氏37.7b.

97 Pao p'u tzut t(Teng she 澄涉17.15b. This binom for the exorcist is probably related to the set of demon binoms under discussion. See Kiang, Le Voyage, p. 168 ff.; Boltz,^Philological footnotes,,,p. 433;

and Bodde, Festivalspp. 77-80 and ! 16-17. Ikcda Suetoshi 池田末利,Chugoku kodai shukydshi kenkyii 宗教 Tokyo: Tokai Daigaku Shuppankai, 1981), pp. 760-784 ((,Haiyu kigen k6” 俳優起源考),links the binom fang-hsiang to other words which refer to the shamanic performance of masked animal dances; suggesting that fang-hsiang, like wu , has an underlying connotation of shamanic dancing, it is probably this conncction with shamanic dancing that accounts for the use of piang-huangi wang- liongt and other related binoms in pre-Han and Han literature to describe qualities of movement. Chou liy “ Fang-hsiang shih” 相氏31,12a-b.

70 Fang su t‘ung i chiao~chu 枚注(Peking: Chung-huashu-chii 1981),(<1 wen” 文,p. 574.

71 Yu-yang tsa tsu 陽雜 (TYtmg-shu chi-ch''eng ed.), 13.100,records the same tradi­

tion, paraphrasing the Feng su t‘ung i text, and also names the Wang-hsiang.

same class of telluric sprites as Wang-liang, Wang-hsiang, and Fang-liang. 11 is to combat these predatory spirits that people must have recourse to magical prophylactics~to talismans, spells,and

all manner of exorcistic devices. To this end, as stated in the third

line of the

declared.” The conclusion to the prologue in the fourth line enunciates the first principle in dealing with demons (to know what is loathsome to them) and lists the effective prophylactic body postures.72 Of the four postures named, reclining in a crouch (ckcu wo 屈臣)and sitting like a winnowing basket (chi tso 箕坐)are both attested in later literature on physical cultivation. Taoist writings instruct the adept to sleep on one side with the knees bent. This natal position is said to increase the strength of the vital vapor [chH )in the body and provide protection from demonic incursions.73 The same

posture is also used in performing therapeutic exercises (the practice of tao yin ).74 To sit like a winnowing basket is to imitate the

prologue, “let the way for how to spellbind them be

72 It is signficant that the prologue names body postures rather than certain apotropaic materials or charms as being what demons detest. The body itself can be exploited as

a natural demonifuge even without additional magical devices. The same reliance on the

rcsourccs of one’s own body is also evident in the common belief that spitting was effec­

tive against demons. For saliva magic in ancieni China, see Harper, “ The Wu Shih Erh Ping Fang,” pp. 83-97.

73 The proper position for sleeping according to Taoist physical cultivation practices

is described in Sun Ssu-mo,s 孫 思 邀 (seventh century) Ch'ien chin yaofang (f/Y


Bend the knees {ch'ii hsi 屈膝)and recline on one side. It increases the strength of a

person’s vital

one docs not tire of remaining outstretched. Whenever a person sleeps outstretched, then there may be spectral affliction and diabolical evil.

The firsi two sentences of the above passage are also found in the description of sleeping

posture in the Yang hsingyen ming lu 褰性延命録 W K873)!.17a

a Sung compilation). Six Dynasties Taoists also practiced a sleeping posture known as “ redining in the Northern Dipper.” It entailed visualizing the stars of the Big Dipper on one’s bedmat and then positioning the body to fit within the bowl of the Dipper. See M. Soymi6,

(this work is probably

In sleeping one docs not tire of remaining curlcd up; in waking

“ Histoire et philologie de la Chine medievalo et modcrne,” Annuaire de l^Ecole Pratique des Haates Etudes, IVe section (1971/72), p. 662 (citing Chen kao {HY 1010), 18.3a-b;

and Shang-ch^ing chin shu yu tzu skang-ching 金書玉字 J J

Dipper crouch allowed the adept to receive the beneficial influences of the stars of the Big Dipper and to keep spectral peril at a distance. 74 Wang Tzu-chHao laoyinja 王子裔游,quoted in Yitn chi chH chHen 裳发七錢 (HY 1026), 34.1 lb, describes one position where the adept lies down with the knees crouched.

f {HY 878) 1.1b). This

shape of the Chinese winnowing basket by sitting with the legs spread apart and fully extended. This posture is used in Taoist thera­ peutic exercises and is also one of the positions recommended for intercourse in medieval sex manuals.76 The same posture is already attested in pre-Han and Han literature as a way of expressing scorn, for example, when Chao T‘o showed his contempt for the Han envoy by wearing the teratoid topknot and sitting like a winnowing basket.76 Its use in social situations was certainly related to the apotropaic value of the posture as now attested in the demonography. That certain postures had related applications in magico-religious practice and in social manners is a point about which I will have more to say while discussing the prologue postures. The last two postures, interlinked motion (lien hsing ) and the leaning stand {chH li 奇立),are less well known. The term lien hsing occurs in the Ckou li in a description of the decoration of the rack used to support a set of bells. According to the commentary it denotes piscine creatures.77 Perhaps the pairs of fish with interlaced tails which are found in Han tomb art represent the decorative motif of piscine interlinked motion. The body posture designated lien hsing in the prologue may then refer to a position in which couples interlink arms or legs in order to ward off danger.78 The leaning stand may refer to a one-footed stance or perhaps to standing with the body leaning against a prop. In either case it is the fact that the posture is not squarely upright that is

76 The usual term is chi chii 笑蹈 although chi tso 宾坐 also occurs. As an exercise posi­

密先導弓,quoted in Yiin chi chH cffien

tion see Ning hsien-skeng taoyinyang shengfa

34.4a. As a sexual position see Tung ksiian tzu 洞玄, a T*ang sex manual, in the recon­

structed edition of Ych Tc-hui 葉徳輝 ,Shuang met citing an 雙梅景閹装 (1903?-

1908? woodblock ed.), .lb , where the man is instructed to sit like (chi tso) and cmbrace the woman.

a winnowing basket

76 See the citations in n. 48 above.

77Chou li, “ Tzu jcn” 梓人, 4U3b-14a. ,R Professor Jeffrey K. Ricgcl pointed out to me that a pair of fish with tails intcrlaccd appears at the bottom of the painted banner found over the coffin in tomb one at Ma- wang-tui; and I am indebted to Professor Riegel for first suggesting the interpretation I now offer. K . Finsterbusch, “ Zur ikonographie der Gstlichcn Han-zeit (25-220 a.d.):

Bemcrkungen zu Michacl Locwcs Ways to Paradise:* MS 34 (1979-80): 420,relates the interlaced fish on the Ma-wang-tui banner to other interlaced figures (dragons, Fu Hsi and Nu Kua) in Han mortuary art, and she compares the fish to a m otif of fish ciicirclcd by a ring which appears over tomb doors. The apotropaic function of the latter

fish m otif ties in with the function of interlinked motion as a posture.

significant.79 To stand with one’s body pitched over is prohibited in the rules of etiquette of the Li chi 禮記 . As amplified in the com­ mentary, the rule forbids standing with one foot raised so that the body is off center: both feet must always be planted firmly on the ground.80 The next rule in the Li chi is that one must not sit like a winnowing basket. Thus it is evident that both postures were re­ garded as particular expressions of disrespect. It is probable that the leaning stand was also a therapeutic exercise in ancient physical cultivation. The posture, written i li 倚立,is named in the “I)ieh chih” 別旨,a brief essay on physical cultivation which is appended to some editions of the Pao p^u tzu. The text itself appears to be a Sung production, but it must preserve older traditions.81 It cannot be a coincidence that three of the prophylactic postures in the Shui-hu-ti demonography are the names of exercises in later physical cultivation literature (reclining in a crouch,sitting like a winnowing basket,the leaning stand); that the winnowing basket posture also occurs in pre-Han and Han literature as an expression of scorn; and that the now obscure posture known as interlinked motion is related to animal configurations which are depicted in

7* ChH is used regularly in early texts to refer to a “ single lim b” or “ having one limb impaired.” Huai nan tzut “ Chui hsing” 墜形 4.8b, mentions a chH ku min 奇股

(“ single legged people” )in a Shan hai ching style listing of the inhabitants of the regions beyond the fringe of the Chinese domain; the corresponding entry in the Shan hai ching itself reads chU hung 奇 肢 (“ single arm”;Yilan K*o 袁柯,Shan hai ching chiao-chu [Shanghai: Shanghai Ku-chi Press, 1980], p. 212). “ One leg” is the gloss given for chH in SW 2B.24b. / ,meaning “ lean against” [SW 8A.I6b), is surely related to the sense of physical impairment (for additional examples of this set of words being used lo refer to impaired limbs, see Tuan commentary at SW 2B.24b). B0 Li chi (SSCCS cd.), “ Ch‘ii li shang,’ 禮上,2.1 lb,

81 Pao /»‘《 tzu ,“ Pieh chih,” .lb . The term occurs in a passage defining tao yin. For

bibliographic details on the "Pieh chih,,see Sakadc Yoshinobu 出祥^Do-in kd”

,in Ikeda Suetoshi hakuse koki kitten toyogaku ronshu池田末利博士古念東洋学論集

(Hiroshima: Ikcda Suetoshi Hakuse Koki Kincn Jigydkai,

1980), p.

230, n.



^Pieh chih” does not say anything about how the leaning stand is to be performed. The only other reference which I have found to i li is in the K/ung Ying-ta 574~648) subcommentary on Li chi,“ Li ch‘i ,,夺登器24.1a-b. The text of the Li chi concerns the tradition that during ancestral worship the impersonator of the ancestor lies down only during the part of the ccrcmony when food and drink are offered; during the rest of the ceremony the impersonator is to stand. According to the subcommentary, the state­ ment that the impersonator is to stand refers to a “ leaning stand” (i li). Thai is, the impersonator must be held up in a standing position, perhaps by attendants or by latcrai props.

Han religious art. These arc indications of complcx interrelations between the postures and gestures used in magico-religious practice, those adopted in popular custom, and those which becamc part of the exercise regimen of physical cultivation. Later literature on physical cultivation states that making the body resistant to demonic incursions is one of the benefits to be realized from practicing breath cultivation, cxercisc,and dietctics, and it is likely that the prophylactic postures in the demonography prologue were already thcrapcutic exerciscs in the physical cultivation arts of the third century B.C.82 The connection between the function of magico-religious posture and of therapeutic exercise in the main­ tenance of health is suggested in the Ckuang tzu, in the same anecdote that identifies Topknot as the stove deity. The story conccrns a time when Seigneur Huan of Chci 齊桓went hunting with Kuan tzu as driver. While in the marshes a demon appeared to Seigneur Huan. alone. When he returned from the hunt the ruler fell into a prolonged state of lassitude. Finally the learned Huang-tzu Kao-ao 皇-子告instructed Seigneur Huan on the nature of his malady and the identity of the demon. His physical indisposition was of his own making, an obstruction of the flow of vital vapor in his body, and not the work of demons. Furthermore, the demon beheld by the ruler was the marsh demon, Wei-i 委蛇,who appears to those who will bccome an overlord. Delighted to hear that his demon sighting was actually auspicious and not injurious, Seigneur Huan donned his court costume and assumed his ritual position at court. His illness vanished before the day was out.83 The Ckuang tzu appears to cite the anccdotc as an example of the physiological and non-demonic origin of sickness. This represents the adaptation of a story which must have been taken from a collec­ tion of anecdotal literature about Seigneur Huan in order to illustrate a particular philosophical point. Given the general belief in Warring States times that a person must undergo exorcistic puri­ fication after seeing demons, we could speculate that in its original

82 The introduction to the therapeutic cxcrciscs of Chung Li 鐘離quoted in Hsiu chen shih shu 修真 十害 {HY 263), 19.3b, slates that when the physical regimen is assiduously practiced: “ Evil devils do not dare approach, there can be no confusion between dreaming and waking, cold and hot cannot penetrate, and calamity and sickness cannot obstruct.83 Ckuang tzu, “ Ta shcng/7‘4b-5a.

form the story may have had an exorcistic theme. After all, Seigneur Huan believed that he was suflering from a demonic contagion before being instructed by Huang-tzu Kao-ao, and his ritual posture could have had both a therapeutic and an exorcistic function.84 Seigneur Huan’s actions provide a paradigm for the role of exercises in righting bodily ills. Just as a ruler by adopting the ritually corrcct posture brings order to his own person and to the world, so too might ccrtain exercise postures restore health to any individual.85 To what extent we may trace the origins of specific excrcises back to magico-religious antecedents is a difficult question, but there is certainly evidence of such antecedents. The earliest attested physical cultivation exercises are those which imitate the movements of animals. The Chuang tzu identifies the “bear ramble” {hsiung ching )and the “bird stretch” (niao shen 鳥伸)as exercises per­ formed by physical cultivation adepts.89 In Later Han times Ilua T‘o 華佗 taught a technique which he callcd the “disportmcnt of' the five crcatures”five forms of exerciscs modeled after the tiger, deer, bear, gibbon, and bird. Performance of these excrciscs removed sickness from the bodv.87 The imitation of animal movements is not just an example of how man learns nature’s secrets by observing the animals. A great many of these animal movements imitated as exercises should rather be traccd to animal mimicry in the form of masked dances in ancient religious practicc. Feathered dancers performed the crane dancc arid other avian movements.88 The


84 According to one commentator, the ruler’s illness resulted from the “ loss of (he

hun and plo souls” due to the demon sighting. The Han fei tzu anecdote cited in n. 46 above provides a good example of the cxorcistic purifications required to purge the ill effects of seeing a demon. When the cuckoldcd husband was convinccd that the naked

knight had really been a ghost, he bathed in animal feces in order to expel it. The spells chanted following a nightmare served the same function (see n. 23 above).

83 The parallelism between the physical and politico-ritual in the ancicnt Chinese

conccpt of the ruler is conciscly defined in K. M. Schippcr, “ The Taoist body,,,History of Religions 17 (1978): 355-57. 86Chuang tzu, “ K ‘o i” 刻意6.1a (see also Hum nan tzu, “ Ching shen** 神,7.6b). The bear ramble and bird stretch are both illustrated in a Ma-wang-tui tomb three manuscript

with drawings of various therapeutic cxerciscs (sec Harper, “ The Wu Shih Erh Ping Fang'* pp. 7-13).

reproduction of 1915 woodblock

cd., reprinted by I-wen Press, Taipei, n.d.), 826.8a. 88 The role of animal dances in early Chinese religion is treated passim in M . Grand, Danses et legendes de la Chine ancienne (Paris: Alcan, 1926). For discussion of the cranc

Hou Han shu cki-chieh 澳 害 集 解 (photographic

specifically exorcistic aspect of animal dances was most prominent in the No _ expulsion performed at New Year. As recounted in the Hou Han shu 漢書 treatise on ritual observances, twelve cos­ tumed dancers acted the roles of the spirit beasts whom the cxorcist conjured to devour the spectral monsters of the dying year. The magical efficacy of these animal pantomimes would inevitably have influenced the conception of therapeutic exercises as a technique for driving away sickness. Exercises which an individual might perform produced an effect comparable to exorcistic animal


The very fact that the four postures are singled out in the demono­ graphy as effective against demons suggests that their magico- religious value was primary and their employment in physical cultivation secondary. The Li chi prohibitions against standing off balance and sitting like a winnowing basket also suggest that these two postures had definite associations with exorcistic actions which made them unacceptable behavior in proper social intercourse. The prophylactic nature of the leaning stand in the prologue may be related to the limping and hopping movements used in ancient shamanic dance steps. The Pace of Yii was the classic shaman’s limp: it was performed by having one foot trail behind while the other foot stepped forward. This lurching shuffle was a widely used magical device for coercing the spirits and overcoming spectral


dance, and the nature of masked animal dances as a symbolic replication of animal

sacrifice, see pp. 216-225. M . Kaltenmark, Le lie-sien

Paris, Centre d'etudes sinologiques de Pekin, 1953) p. 23 n. 1,and p. Ill, n. 9, offers further speculations on the crane and other bird dances in religious belief and practice. 88 Hou Han shu“ Chih” 5.10b. The best study of the masked animal dance in the No expulsion is Granct, Datises el legettdes, ]>p. 298-320. See also Bodde, Festivals, pp. 81-127. The work of Ikeda Suetoshi,cited in n. 68 above, adds greatly to our knowledge of these masked dances in ancicnt religion. In Science and Civilisation in China 2: 145, Needham suggests tlic possibilily that the therapeutic exercises were derived from the “ dances of the rain-bririging shaman”;thereby inferring a magico-religious origin for the exercises. The significance of imitating animal movements in performing

cxcrciscs must, then, be interpreted in light of the conccption of these animals in magico- religious belief.

tchouan (Peking: Univcrsite de

90 See Granet “ Remarqucs” and Danses et Ugendes^ pp. 549-54. The Pace of Yu was

said to entail either a shuffling or hopping motion on one leg. On the one-logged shaman dance and the Pacc of Yii, see also W. Eberhard, The Local Cultures ofSouth and East China

(Leiden: Brill, 1968)pp. 74-77.

It was not a matter of mere rudeness to adopt these postures before others. The exorcistic aspect of the postures in magico-religious practice was what gave meaning to their use. The social message conveyed by such postures was clear: treat whom you dislike as you would treat a demon. Han literature typically associates such uncouth habits as wearing the teratoid topknot or sitting like a winnowing basket with the customs of frontier foreigners, when in fact these habits represent profanities derived from indigenous magico-religious practice.91 Occurrences of the winnowing basket posture in literature provide evidence of its profane application that reveals traces of the under­ lying behavioral code. The posture occurs most often in conjunction with derisive behavior and imprecations. Recounting a royal visit which the founding Han monarch Kao tsu 高 祖 r. 206-195 b.c.) paid one of his nobles,the King of Chao 趙王,in 200 b.c., the Shih chi notes that in response to the young king’s faultlessly respcctful service: “Kao tsu sat like a winnowing basket and cursed and was extremely abusive to him.”92 Kao tsu,s behavior so outraged the King of Chao’s officials that they thought only his assassination would atone for his offense. The phrase “sit like a winnowing basket and curse” signifies more than fickle behavior born of ill- breeding, it connotes the posture and language of malediction. The purposefulness of this behavior is even more apparent in the Chan kuo tsle tale of Ching K‘o 荆柯 and his bungled plot to assas­ sinate Ch‘in shih huang-ti 始皇. Ching K®o’s poisoned dagger having struck a pillar rather than the Ghcin ruler,ChMn shih huang-ti smote Ching K ‘o repeatedly with his sword:93

#1 Another example of the influence of the magical and sacred upon the profane is the cursc uttcrancc na . It is the same word as no, written ,備 ,or . SIV 9A.42b defines no as the “ startled uttcrancc (when one) beholds a demon.” The fact that no is an cxorcistic expletive is ccrtainly significant in the meaning of the name of the rite of expulsion, the N o~the cursing of the noxious monsters probably included the chanting of this utterance. Hou Han shu 83.1 la rccords the use of mz as a curse utterance in a secular

contcxt. A woman uttered a na in

refused to bargain with her over the price (see Harper, “ The Wu Shih Erh Ping Fang,” pp. 78-79, for discussion of the nafno word family in the lexicon of incantatory uttcranccs).

the Han title of king (wang )after the death of

his father, Chang Erh J f,who was allied with Liu Pang (Kao tsu). 93 Chan kuo ls*e (•SWF ed.), “ Yen ts‘e” 燕策 31.7b (repeated in SC 86.17a).

reviling a seller of drugs, Han K/ang ,who

92 SC 89.10a. The boy was heir to

K^o, realizing that the mission had failed, leaned against a p illa r and laughed;

then, silting

successful is because I wanted to capture him alive and be certain to obtain a

like a w innowing basket, cursed, saying, “ T h a t the mission was not

binding pact, thereby avenging the heir apparent (of Yen )•” Thereupon guards

came forward from the left and right and killed K*o.

Although gravely wounded, Ching K ‘o did not lean against the pillar and sit like a winnowing basket because his body failed him.

Ching K/o,s death sccnc as described in the Chan kuo ts^ was a consci­ ous expression of hatred for the Ch‘in ruler. The leaning stance and winnowing basket posture were final gestures of scorn, meant to

add force to his parting cursThese gestures in

a context only

slightly different could have been performed just before uttering imprecations against demons, for such exorcistic curses were reg­

ularly preceded by specific ritual acts.84 Given the evidence of

prophylactic postures that we now have in the Shui-hu-ti demonog­ raphy prologue, it is dear that contemporary readers of Ching K‘o’s death sccnc would have appreciated the exorcistic elements embedded in it. Bccausc of the way the demonography prologue associates the listing of demons arid exorcistic recipes which follow it with the tradition of teaching the people to recognize and avoid dcmonic harm, it is a significant addition to the whole text and to our under­ standing of the nature of the ancient demonographic genre. As I have already noted, Y li,s magical caldrons described in the Tso chuan were the prototype for this tradition. Similarly the demono­ graphies which circulated in the Six Dynasties period drew upon tlie talismanic tradition of revealing the secret identity of spirits

and demons for the benefit

Chiu ting chi 鼎記 (Record of the nine caldrons) among the docu­ ments which may be used to drive away demons. The title refers to Yli’s nine caldrons, for the book constituted a reproduction of the caldrons in the form of a demonography.95

the people. The Pao p ‘u tzu lists the


The Pacc of Yu, for example, prcccdcs the chanting of a malediction in a number of its occurrenccs in the Wu-shih-erh pingfang (see Harper, “ The Wu Shih Erh Ping Fang’” p. 98); and the method for expelling nightmare demons in the Shui-hu-ti occult manu­ scripts (see n. 23 above) instructs the person to unbind the hair and sit facing the northwest before chanting the incantation.

85 Pao

izu, “ Tcng she/17.7b. Kiang, Le Voyage, pp. 71-72has sucsted that

the demonc^raphy Chiu ting chi mentioned in the Pao p*u tzu is quoted under the title

Mentioned along with the Chiu ting chi in the Pao p‘u tzu is the Pai tse t'u 白 澤 (Diagrams of white marsh). White Marsh is the name of a spirit creature who instructed the Yellow God (Huang ti )in the ways of spirits and demons. The demonographic book associated with White Marsh resulted from this divine tutorial, for the Pao p Ku tzu notes elsewhere that “in order to foil the machinations of the spirits, (the Yellow God) recorded the words of White Marsh.”96 The Yellow God’s journey to the White Marsh and his encounter with the spirit creature of the marsh is recounted in several sources dating from the Six Dynasties and later. The crcature appeared to the Yellow God while he was making a tour of the Eastern Sea and revealed the names of the myriad spirit emanations, which the Yellow God recorded and made known to the people to protcct them from harm. According to some vcrsiofis,White Marsh also drew portraits of the spirits and demons and the Yellow God composed incantations to be used against them.97 The Pai tse Vu is listed in the bibliographic treatises of the Sui and Tcang official histories. Passages attributed to it, preserved in encyclopcdias and other sources, are collected in Ch*ing reconstruc­ tions. The Tun-huang 敦煌 manuscript corpus also preserves portions of an illustrated manuscript entitled Pai tse ching kuai t‘u 白澤(Diagrams of spectral prodigies of White Marsh).68Judging from

Hsia ting chih 夏拙志 in Fa yuan chu lin 法 苑 珠 (Taishd 2122, p. 320c). For further

discussion of the Chiu ting chi and Hsia ting chih, see Ch*en P‘an 陳樂,**Ku ch‘an wei shu-lu





(-),€ ¥

12 (1947): 38-40.

tzu, “ Chi yen” 言,13.2b.




96 Pao

•7 The sources for the legend of White Marsh have been gathered logether by Yao Chen-tsung 姚振宗 in his commcnlary to the Sui shu bibliographic treatise entry citcd in n. 98 below. Yiin chi ckU chHen 100.23b, adds the information that White Marsh made portraits of ihc spirits and also that the Yellow God wrote incantations to be used against ihe spirits. For a summary of bibliographic details, see Yao Chen-tsung, Sui shu ching chi chih k'ao cheng 隋菩籍志考證,in vol. 4 of Erh-shih-wu shih pu-pien 二十五史補編 (K*ai-ming Press, Taipei), p. 590. Ch(en f^an, “ Ku ch*an wci,” 35-47, provides a comprehensive examination of the Pai tse including the Tun-huang manuscript (Pclliot 2682). Jao Tsung-i, “ Pa Tun-huang pen Pai tse ching kuai t*u liang ts‘an chiian” 跋敦煌本 白澤 圈兩殘卷CYYY^XA (1969): 539-43, includes plates of Pclliot 2682. Jao shows that Stein 6261 is a portion of the same manuscript which somehow became separated from Pclliot

2682. X have used the reconstruction of the Pai tse t‘u in Ma Kuo-han 馬國 ,Yii han

shanfang chi i shu 房輯佚(woodblock ed., preface dated 1874), "Tzu pien” 子編, “ Wu hsing lei” 五行類. There is another reconstruction in Hung I-hsiian 洪頸值,Ching tien chi lin 集林 {Wen ching t'ang ts^ung-shu 問經堂兼cd.),which I have not seen.

these fragments, the original book was composed of separate entries. In each entry there was first an indication of the type of spirit involved; then the spirit’s name was given; and finally there were

details of the magical methods either to coerce the spirit for profit

or to exorcise it. The entries which make up the Shui-hu-ti demono­

graphy are composed in the same manner and there are also parallels

in content. Thus the relationship between the Shui-hu-ti demono­

graphy and the Pai tse t^u not only consists in the sharing of certain

demonological legends—the talismanic tradition of Yii’s caldrons—

but involves a clear textual tradition. Although only one section of

a larger occult manuscript, the Shui-Jiu-ti demonography is a


century b .c . exemplar of the same demonographic


represented by the Pai tse t^u in the Six Dynasties.

O f the original

Pai tse t‘u we now have only a few fragmentary

entries’ remnants of a once rich demonological lore. Thus the Shui- hu-ti text is both the oldest and the best preserved of the ancient demonographies. Detailed examination of demon classification,

of the form and manner of spectral manifestations, of the magical

practice described in the text,and of the cultural background which lies behind specific demonological beliefs: these studies are best taken up with the full text in hand. Without offering a comprehensive

survey of the demonography, and also without providing the textual and philological analysis which will appear in my translation, I would like nonetheless to discuss several entries in the demonography. My purpose is to illustrate the relationship of the text to the Pai tse fu and to offer some preliminary observations on the types of demons and forms of magic in the text. The format of the entries in the Shui-hu-ti demonography is as described above for the Pai tse t6u. The following entry is the first

to appear after the prologue:99

W hen a person is attacked for no reason by a demon, this is the Stabbing Demon

(tz*u kuei ).10° Make a bow from peach wood, arrows from jujube, and feather

them w ith chicken feathers. Shoot it when it next appears and it w ill go away.

>9 YMCMy plate 132, slips 869-868, reverse, first register (see figure 2).

100 The words

which I translate as “ this is”

are shih shih, written =

on the manu­

script. This formula occurs regu】a rly in the text when naming the demons; and it provides the earliest evidence for the use of the demonstrative shih in a verbal construction.

Compare both the format and content of the Stabbing Demon entry with this entry from the Pai tse ^m:101

The sprite of abandoned tomb mounds102is named Wolf Demon (lang kuei ).103

I t likes to engage people in combat and does not desist. M ake a peach bow, jujube arrows, and attach kite feathers to them. Shoot it w ith them. I f W o lf Demon

becomes W h irlin g W ind (p(iaofeng 親 風 ),104 remove a shoe, throw (the and it cannot transform.

shoe) at it,

Both entries begin with the type of demon (one which attacks for no reason, and one which inhabits abandoned tombs); followed by a specific identification (Stabbing Demon, Wolf Demon); followed by the magic which controls it (exorcistic archery). Pre-Han and Han ritual literature records numerous instances of exorcistic observances involving archery. The recommended method of removal in the two entries above is the classic form of exorcistic archery with peach and jujube.106 The particular signifi­ cance of archery in the Shui-hu-ti demonography lies in the fact that it shows the demonifugal bow and arrow already in use as popular dcvices for countering spectral attacks. That is, these exorcis­ tic acts were not restricted to the observances of organized religion, but might be performed by any individual in a moment of need. While the diffusion of such practices into the activities of daily life is fairly well documented for the Six Dynasties period and later, nearly all of the magical practices described in the Shui-hu-ti demonography are only attested in the context of formal religious rites in ancient sources. Thus the demonography permits us to set in focus a previously hazy picture of the interrelations between religious and folkloristic traditions in Warring States and Ch^n-Han times. Besides the evidence from other sections of the Shui-hu-ti occult

101 Pai tse t‘u (Yii lian shanfang chi i shu ed.), 3b. 102 For the use of ckUu to mean “ abandoned,” see HS 45.18aap. chHu iHng and Yen Shih-ku,s commentary.

103 W olf Demon is the name for the sprite of abandoned tomb mounds. The wolf as a

dangerous spirit creature in its

ti demonography (see n. 123 below).

m A W hirling Wind demon is mentioned several times in the Shui-hu-ti demono­ graphy, which also recommends throwing a shoe at it (see n. 110 below).

own right also appears in the Pai tse t*u and the Shui-hu-

105 Granet discusses the apotropaic woods used for bows in the rites of expulsion

described in Han ritual literature in “ Le depot de 】,enfant sur le sol,”

sur la Chine (Paris: Presses Univcrsitaircs de France, 1953), pp. 165-167. Bodde, Festivalspp. 127-38, also reviews the early sources concerning the ritual use of peach bows.

in Etudes sociologiques

manuscripts, similar documentation of the popularity of this type of magic comes from the Ma-wang-tui remedy manual Wu-skih-erk pingfang. Alongside rccipes for thcrapcutic treatments and the com­ pounding of drugs, this medical book includes rccipes for performing magical exorcistic cures. Malediction, archery, flagellation, magical entrapment, and demon inquisition: all these and more are described as treatments for bites, warts, swellings,and the like.106The similarity of magical recipes in the Wu-skih-erh pingfang to entries in the Shui- hu-ti demonography also reveals the extent to which the entries are a type of recipe literature—they identify the demonic “ailment” and provide a remedy.107 As in the Pai tse the Shui-hu-ti demonography usually (but not always) gives a name to the various demons being described. The names revealed in the Pai tse t6u are potent words, for simply knowing a demon’s name and shouting it is the most common magical device described in the fragments of this book. Indeed, a principal function of the Pai tse t^u was as a register of cach demon’s proper name. The Chuang tzu anccdotc about Seigneur Huan of Ch*i and the marsh demon Wei-i also furnishes a list of demon proper names. Knowing these names must have provided magical control over them in the earlier demonological tradition as well.108 However the Shui-hu-ti demonography does not appear to exploit name magic. Perhaps the appellations in the text are not, strictly speaking, the type of proper name which might give a person magical control over the demon. If that is so, wc should not expect to find the identifications provided in the Shui-hu-ti demonography used in incantatory name-calling. While some of the fragments of the Pai tse tu describe genie powers which can benefit the person who knows the appropriate magic,

106 Harper, “ The Wu Shih Erh Ping Fang,” pp. 67-106,surveys the contents and signifi­

cance of the magical rccipes in the Wu-shih~rh pingfang. 10? In terms of text format the entries in the Shui-hu-ti demonography also resemble the recipes in medical recipe manuals. Each entry begins in a new column on the manu­ script ralher than being written continuously in the space immediately under the

preceding entry. The meaning of fang 方 (“ recipc”;originally the tablet on which a recipe was recorded) and its significance in the transmission of occult literature by fang shih 方士 (“ masters of recipes” ) during the Warring States and Ch*in-Han periods is discusscd in Harper, “ The Wu Shih Erh Ping Fang^ pp. 51-67.

108 Kuan tzuc<Shui ti”

地,14.3a-b, attests to this aspect of demonology in a passage

which appears to be based on material from an early demonography:

the Shui-hu-ti demonography entries ail deal with prophylactic and cxorcistic measures against demons.109 The deviccs which foil dcmonic attacks need not be as elaborate as the cxorcistic archery described above. Simply throwing a shoe may suffice, as in the instruction in the Pai tse t‘u for trapping the Wolf Demon when it becomes the Whirling Wind. The same practice is described in the Shui-hu-ti demonography, thrice as a means of countering the Whirling Wind.110 Other things which the demonography recom­ mends throwing are white stones and cxcremcnt.111 The latter is a well known demonifuge. Its use in the demonography is a good example of precautionary magic:112

I'h c dwelling places o f the great spirits cannot be passed through. They like to

injure people. Make pellets from dog excrement and carry them when passing through. Throw them at the spirit when it appears, and it will not injure people.

Carrying prophylactic pills and amulets when venturing into the

Ch*ing-chi 慶忌 is like a human being in shape; is four inches long; wears a yellow robe; has a yellow headdress; carries a yellow parasol overhead; and rides a small horse. It likes lo gaUop at high speed. Shout oul its name to it, and it can be dispatchcd beyond

a ihousand li and report back in a single day. This is the genic of ihc dry


has one head and two bodies; its form is like a serpent and is cighl feet long. Shout out its name to it, and one can catch fish and turtles. This is the genie of the dry river.

109 As in the Kuan tzu passage cited in n. 108, entries in the Pai tse t'u describe how one

can obtain favors and goods by calling out the demon’s name.

110 YMCMyplate 134, slips 844-843, reverse, first register; plate 134,slip 839reverse,

third register; and plate 135, slip 832, reverse, second register. Robert Chard, University of California, Berkeley, has written a study of pHao fang in the Shui-hu-ti demonography

and in the received literature, “ The demon Whirlwind {Piiao-feng 飄風) in ihe Shui- hu-ti Jik-shu.” Shoe-throwing is employed in a number of other entries in the Shui-hu-ii demonography as well.

111 For white stones, see YMCMSplait* 132,slip 868reverse, third register. The full

inventory of materials is lengthy; and it is revealing in terms of continuity with other evidence of magical practicc in the received literature. At times ihe text is reminiscent of

passages in the Shan hai ching concerned with ihc magical properties of ccrtain plants, minerals, or animals. Often substances arc ashed, jusl as might be done in the preparation of a drug, and then the ashes arc sprinkled over the area to be magically purified. Chou li 37.6b-8a, furnishes several examples of ashes used exorcistically and other apotropaics. Marvels, exorcistic magic, and pharmacy were all bound together in the occult tradition. The Shui-hu-ti demonography alUrsts lo that interrelationship.

112 YMCM, plate 132,slips 869-868, reverse, sccond register (see figure 2). Tiic Han

Jet (zu anecdote cited in n. 46 and n. 84 above is one of the earliest references to the

exorcistic use of feces. For similar use “ The Wu Shih Erh PingFang;} p. 106.

of feces in the Wu-shih-erk ping /angysee Harper,

wild regions inhabited by monstrous powers is the subject of much discussion in the Pao p^u tzu.yxfl Scrceching, drum heating, and bell ringing arc also effective:114

I f humans or birds and beasts as well as the six domestic animals constantly roani through a person’s domicile, these are spirits from above who like to descend and

take pleasure in entering. Have boys and girls who have never entered the domi­ cile118 beat drums, ring bells with clappers, and screech at them, and they will not


The Shih chi account of the ill-omened birth of Pao Ssu 襃拟,tlie woman said to have ruined the House of Chou,provides an inter­ esting parallel that also illustrates the use of exorcistic screeching (sao ),116 During the reign of King Li (ninth ccntury B.C.) a vessel containing dragon essence, a holy treasure handed down from the Hsia,was opened and the dragon csscncc cscapcd into the palace:117

I t could not be expelled. K ing L i had the wives strip naked and screech at it. The essence changed into a dark lizard and entered the king’s rear palace. An adoles­ cent g irl who had already lost her baby teeth118 encountered it. A t the age o f re­ ceiving the hairpin she became pregnant11®and w ithout husband gave birth to an infant.

Abandoned and later rcintroduced to the Chou harem, this fruit of a monstrous seed was the infamous Pao Ssu. The “spirits from above” mentioned in the Shui-hu-ti demonography arc no doubt of a sort like the dark lizard who raped the palace maiden. The

chorus of naked

wives is



acting out of the word sao:


explained in the Shih chi commentary, sao refers to “screeching en


Quite a few entries in the Shui-hu-ti demonography deal with


Especially Pao p%u tzu, “ Tcng she.”


YMCM, plate 132, slips 865-863reverse, second register (see figure 2).


Perhaps the phrase weiju kung refers to children who arc “ not yet married.”


This is the graph used to write sao in the demonography, glossed in SW 2B. 32b as

“ birds crying en masse.” The

3A.26a as “ wrangle” (jao ) . The word connotes a cacophonous multiludc of voices, especially of birds; and, thus, in exorcistic practicc refers to a chorus of screechers.

Shih chi passage below uses the graph ,glossed in SW



The age of seven sui for a woman according to the commentary.


Marriageable age.

anthropomorphic and zoomorphic spirits and a number of these apparitions are associated with sexual danger. There is good evidence of dog hysteria in an entry about the “spirit dog” (shen kou 狗) who enters people’s homes at night, seizing the husbands and sporting with the women.121 When a person hears animals talking, this is also a sign of spectral powers playing tricks.122 Various creaturcs and poltergeists may taunt people with noisome sounds or tempt them with deceptive words. The wolf is the subject of an entry which also furnishes advice on cooking these beasts: “The wolf always shouts at people’s doors saying, ‘Open up. I am not a spectre.* Kill it and boil it. The taste of the flesh is very fine.,,123 It is a pity that we do not have statistics on how often the wolf outside the door found the occupants already wise to its ruse and ended up in the stewpot.124 The catalogue of ghosts, revenants, spooks, bogies, inexplicable contagions, and hauntings in the Shui-hu-ti demonography is extensive. We have always known that this type of literature existed in antiquity: the appropriate titles are recorded in the Han shu bibliographic treatise, and the fragments of the Pai tse tlu can now be seen to exemplify the early dcmonographic literature as well. The particular significance of the Shui-hu-ti demonography for the study of ancient magico-rcligious traditions lies in the fact that the text is a manual of demon lore which was intended for use by believers. The Lun heng refers to many superstitions about demons, but Wang Ch‘ung’s sole purpose was to refute such beliefs. Other writers collected odd bits of popular demon lore in a more reportorial

181 YMCMt plates 133-134,slips 849-847, reverse, first register. According to the text,

the spirit dog takes the guise of a ghost (wet wei kuei 為鬼)• On the dog demon, see dc

Groot, TheReligious SystemofChina 5:571-76, who notes that in popular beliefdogs appear

as “ crafty imposters, and abusers of women.” M2 YMCMt plate 134, slips 844-843, reverse, first register (the animals* spccch is said to be causcd by the vapor of the W hirling W ind); plate 134, slips 837-836, reverse, first register (concerned with birds and beasts who speak to people when they are alone, labeling them prodigies).

128 YMCM, plate 132, slip 863, reverse, third register (see figure 2). See de Groot, The

Religious System ofChina 5: 563-70, for traditional lore on the wiles of the wolf. Pai tse t*u ,4a, reports that the hundred year old w olf changes into a beautiful woman who sits

by the roadside telling men chat she is orphaned and being

them to marry her.

124 Cooking the demon after capturing it is mentioned in four of the Pai tse t*u entries


manner, for example, Ying Shao,who included a chaptcr entitled “Prodigies and Spirits” (“Kuai shen” 怪神) in the Feng su fung ?.126 Playing in part the role of folklorist, Ying Shao made a record of beliefs still current in his day, but his accounts represent the impres­ sions of an interested observer and cataloguer, not the learning of a demonological specialist. Buried in a tomb in 217 B.C., the Shui- hu-ti demonography provides scholars of the twentieth century with a unique testament to the literature which guided the ancient Chinese in their daily interaction with the demon world.

125 Feng su t*ung i, ch. 9. Dcmonological matters arc touchcd upon throughout Ying