In the author's own words, this work attempts to recreate, for the 20th-century reader, the sky and the apparitions that ornament it as they were conceived, imagined, and reacted to by the men of T'ang-dynasty China-that is, to suggest what the medieval Chinese . . . thought they saw in the night sky, and how they treated those magic lights in their active lives, their private commitments, and their literary fabrications. Inevitably, this enterprise meant the exploration of the borderlands where science, faith, tradition, invention, and fantasy overlap. Armed with the new awareness that this fascinating work provides, we can better understand the great legacy of art and literature of this greatest period of cultural flowering in Chinese history.
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