Daoist Master Changchun's Journey to the West: To the Court of Chinggis Qan and Back (Hardcover)
The Hsu-Tang Library presents authoritative and eminently readable translations of classical Chinese literature, in bilingual editions, ranging across three millennia and the entire Sinitic world. In the early years of the Mongol empire, the Quanzhen Daoist master Qiu Chuji (1148-1227, religious name Changchun) made an arduous three-year round-trip journey from north China to the Hindu Kush in 1221-23 in response to a summons by Chinggis Qan. The record of this journey compiled by Li Zhichang (1193-1255), one of Qiu's disciples, offers a detailed eyewitness account of travel across the Mongolian plateau as well as Central Asia in the immediate aftermath of Mongol conquest. It stands out from other thirteenth-century Chinese travel narratives in length, quality, and thoroughness of detail, endowing it with unique historical, geographical, cultural, and literary value. Ruth Dunnell, Stephen West, and Shao-yun Yang's new, complete, and annotated translation of the text for the first time renders all of Qiu Chuji's poems in the original Chinese. Omitted from older translations as insipid or irrelevant, Qiu's poetry opens a window into the Quanzhen practice of self-cultivation and its proselytizing mission and captures an educated Chinese observer's impressions of a vast, unfamiliar world of grasslands, deserts, and towering mountain ranges. This book includes an appendix with translations of related documents (such as the edicts of Chinggis Qan to Qiu), and concise yet detailed notes drawing upon a wealth of recent scholarship to guide both general and specialist readers. In addition to an introduction that situates the reader in the worlds inhabited by Qiu Chuji and his patron, the Mongol Qan, the translators have provided a digital StoryMap of Changchun's journey.
One of the disciples selected to accompany Qiu Chuji on his journey to the Hindu Kush, Li Zhichang (1193-1256) went on to become Overseer of Daoists in Yanjing, head abbot of the Monastery of Eternal Spring, and the head instructor and nominal leader of the Quanzhen sect. Ruth W. Dunnell is Professor Emerita of History at Kenyon College and the author of Chinggis Khan: World Conqueror. Stephen H. West is Professor of Chinese Emeritus at Arizona State University. His previous translations include (all with Wilt Idema) Monks, Bandits, Lovers, and Immortals: Eleven Early Chinese Plays; Battles, Betrayals, and Brotherhood: Early Chinese Plays on the Three Kingdoms; The Orphan of Zhao and Other Yuan Plays; and The Record of the Three Kingdoms in Plain Language. Shao-yun Yang is Associate Professor of History and director of the East Asian Studies program at Denison University, and the author of The Way of the Barbarians: Redrawing Ethnic Boundaries in Tang and Song China.