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“Heavenly Pattern Reading” and the Origins of Writing in China

The East Asian Program at Princeton University presents a discussion with David Pankenier on the role of astronomy in early Chinese writings.

April 30, 2009 4:30pm to 6:00pm

David Pankenier, Lehigh University. Venerable traditions in China ascribe the invention of writing to the sage Fu Xi who "looked up to observe the images in the heavens and looked down to observe the patterns of earth." Drawing on archaeological, textual, and linguistic evidence, this talk focuses on the role of “Heavenly Pattern Reading” (astronomy) as the inspiration behind crucial cultural innovations in the formative period of Chinese civilization.