The Hall of Light: A Study of Early Chinese Kingship

By William Edward Soothill

A leading British sinologist explains traditional Chinese monarchy, religion, worship, ritual, sacrifices, customs, and all aspects of early Chinese culture.

ISBN: 9780227171240


This book is a close examination of Chinese traditions concerning the ancient Chinese institution known as the Ming T’ang, rendered in the title as the “Hall of Light”, and the sacrificial rituals connected with it. Soothill does not offer a mere summary of the Chinese accounts of the Ming T’ang but an interpretation of those in the light of comparative anthropology and of the history of ancient astronomy.

This is the culmination of the life-long study and research on China of a leading British sinologist, The Hall of Light illuminates traditional Chinese ideas about monarchy, religion, worship, ritual, sacrifices, customs, and all aspects of early Chinese culture, which have influenced the thought and behaviour of the Chinese for well over two millennia. This is a study that will be of value to sinologues, anthropologists, and students of comparative astronomy and religion, as well as anyone with an interest in Chinese tradition and thought.

Additional information

Dimensions 216 × 140 mm
Pages 316


Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Reverend William Edward Soothill became Professor of Chinese at Oxford University. He was missionary of United Methodist Church at Wenchow and President of Imperial University of Shansi Province.

He is also the author of: A Mission in China (1907), The Analects of Confucius (1910), China and West (1925) and China and England (1928) .


Editor’s Preface
List of Illustrations
Foreword by G.F. Hudson, M.A.
Introduction by Professor W.E. Soothill, M.A., F.R.G.S., etc.

1. Virtue and Passivity
2. The Ancient Records
3. The Book of Rites
4. The Yüeh Ling: Part I: The Month’s Observances
5. The Yüeh Ling: Part II: The Ritual of Spring
6. The Yüeh Ling: Part III: Summer, Mid-Season, Autumn, Winter
7. The Calendar
8. The Hall of Light: Its Origins
9. The Hall of Light: The Significance of its Names
10. The Hall of Light: Site and Structure
11. The Hall of Light: In the Chou and Later Dynasties
12. The Skyward Tower
13. The Jade-Ring Moat
14. The Early Sacrifices
15. Worship in the Chou Period
16. The Nature of the Sacrifices
17. Shang Ti, Heaven, and Earth
18. The Son of Heaven
19. The Dragon
20. Robes and Regalia
21. The Performance of the Ritual
22. The Principle of the Ritual
23. The Roman Regia and Other Parallels

I. The Hsia Calendar
II. The Song of the Sky Pacer: or the Sky Poem of Steps in Astronomy
III. The References to Ti and Shang Ti in the Five Canons and Four Books
IV. Ancient Music and Instruments
V. Chinese Texts
     (a) The Hsia Calendar
     (b) The Song of the Sky Pacer

Author’s Bibliography