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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


On the Hsin Ritual Ancient China and its Significance in Cultural History

Vol. 21 No. 1   6/1991    


On the Hsin Ritual Ancient China and its Significance in Cultural History 


Chun-chieh Huang









Key words



     this essay considers hsin in the Mencius (1A7), in regard to its original meaning, its practice, and its significance in the cultural history of ancient China. 

    Philologically, hsin has a cluster of implications with “bathing” (or libation) as its core meaning. Blood was smeared on ancestral temples, residential buildings, housings for domestic animals, as well as military instruments, school buildings, and the like as part of the ritual of hsin. This practice was also applied to persons, both living and dead.

    Philosophically, hsin is a meaning – creating activity. The blood – human or animal – used in it signifies the fountain of all lives. The mysterious power of the blood effects a connection between the human world and the supernatural. This connection results in the humanizing of the natural and the supra – naturalizing of the human. Such a dialectical activity of the hsin signifies the unity between immanence and transcendence in Chinese culture



Author: Chun-chieh Huang
Genre: Article
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