Ancient Or Up-To-Date?


Nie Chongyi, a court ritualist, redesigned ritual paraphernalia used at state sacrifices in the late 950s, which led to the birth of an important ritual manual – Illustrations of the Three Classics of Rites. The tenth century was a time when continuous violence not only empowered regional forces, but also destroyed many tangible heritages, including ritual objects and spaces of the former Tang Empire (618-907). Nie responded to the vacuum of a supreme authority over state rituals by deviating from the prevalent Tang standards and proposing to revise ancient ritual practices. Through an examination of Nie’s design of five drinking cups mentioned in ritual manuals, I aim to highlight the political demands behind Nie's work.
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