La religion de Chu d'après les manuscrits divinatoires et sacrificiels du quatrième siècle avant notre ère

par Liang Zhong

Projet de thèse en Etudes de l'Extrême-Orient

Sous la direction de Marc Kalinowski et de Olivier Venture.

Thèses en préparation à Paris Sciences et Lettres , dans le cadre de École doctorale de l'École pratique des hautes études (Paris) , en partenariat avec Centre de recherche sur les civilisations de l'Asie Orientale (laboratoire) et de École pratique des hautes études (Paris) (établissement de préparation de la thèse) depuis le 15-09-2012 .


  • Résumé

    Le royaume de Chu, établi sur le fleuve Bleu entre le 8e et le 3e siècle avant notre ère, était centré sur la province actuelle du Hubei où se trouvait sa capitale détruite en 278 avant notre ère par le royaume de Qin, fondateur du premier empire en 221. Jusqu'au début du vingtième siècle, notre connaissance de ce pays reposait sur des sources de « seconde main » : principalement une historiographie officielle élaborée dans les centres de civilisation situés plus au nord, dans des régions arrosées par le fleuve Jaune souvent en conflit ouvert avec leur voisin méridional. Les fouilles entreprises depuis les années 1970 ont conduit à la mise au jour d'un nombre toujours croissant de manuscrits issus de sépultures appartenant à des familles de nobles et de magistrats locaux de Chu. Ces documents donnent accès à une tradition scripturaire presque entièrement inédite dont l'existence n'était jusqu'alors attestée que par des citations éparses dans les textes transmis et par les titres d'ouvrages répertoriés dans le catalogue des bibliothèques impériales de la fin du 1er siècle avant notre ère. Le corpus que j'entends étudier dans ma thèse est constitué en premier lieu par les manuscrits sur lamelles de bambou de Baoshan包山, découverts en 1987 dans une tombe située près de l'ancienne capitale de Chu (l'actuelle Jiangling). A travers les documents inhumés avec le défunt – un inventaire funéraire, des recueils de cas judiciaires et des rapports divinatoires et sacrificiels – ce sont les derniers jours du défunt, un certain Shao Tuo membre de la lignée royale de Chu, que je me propose d'examiner. Les manuscrits de Baoshan permettent également de mieux comprendre la société de Chu à l'époque, son écriture si particulière, ses pratiques administratives et surtout, en ce qui me concerne, la vie quotidienne de ses élites, leurs idées et leurs pratiques religieuses. J'espère ainsi pouvoir à terme mettre en lumière les caractéristiques propres à la culture de Chu par rapport à celles de centres de civilisation du nord, notamment le puissant royaume de Qin.

  • Titre traduit

    The Religion of Chu according to the divinatory and sacrificial manuscripts in 4th Century B.C.


  • Résumé

    From the 1950s, our knowledge about the powerful southern kingdom of Chu has been renewed by new archeological discoveries, in the middle course of Yangtze River and, further north. These findings, both artifacts and texts, revolutionize our knowing about this realm in the transmitted texts, which is noted and related by the intellectuals of Yellow river in the North of China. The stage of the research of Chu culture is just like finally we find out some things written by the Germanic people in the Antiquity, no more relaying on what the roman generals talk about them. We can't imagine this situation in the absence of all these new discoveries. Among these findings made up of funerary documents, personal archives, and technical and literary writings, divinatory and sacrificial records occupy a privileged place. Their importance is all the more salient in that there is nothing comparable in the transmitted texts. For the period of the Warring States (from 8th to 3rd century BC), these buried texts come principally from tombs closed in the 4th century before our era. These documents consist of records of divination by turtle and yarrow stalks carried out by professional diviners and priests for members of the aristocracy of the kingdom of Chu. Insofar as most requests for an oracle concern the illnesses from which the tomb occupants suffered in the months preceding their death. The hard core of this kind of texts may be expressed as follows: initial negative prediction (the first divination); second step: sacrificial rites and exorcisms, final positive prediction (the second divination). At present we have a dozen such records covering a period from 377 to 316 BC. The majority comes from tombs located in the immediate vicinity of Ying, which was then the capital of the kings of Chu (located near present-day Jiangling in Hubei). The poor state of conservation of the manuscripts and the problems raised by the transcription and interpretation of the texts does not facilitate our understanding of the place occupied by the beliefs and ritual procedures involved in the consultation of the turtle and yarrow in the cultural context of the period. In this respect, the collection of 54 bamboo strips excavated from the Baoshan cemetery is the most interesting, for it is the only one which has been restored with a good degree of certainty to its original state. The main contribution of these texts is to show that these consultations were inseparable from the beliefs and cults which ruled the religious life of the members of the aristocracy. The corpus of my dissertation is this dozen of divinatory and sacrificial records (later called DSR) of Chu. It will consist of three parts. The first one: the manuscript as funerary object, basing exclusive of excavations reports, I will discuss the position of manuscript in the graves, the other artifacts which were deposed with them. A census of more than thirty tombs in which the manuscripts were put down will be realized, concluding all the data about excavated manuscripts of Chu. It will be interesting to compare the census of the bamboo strips and wooden tablets in the Qin tomb from 4th century to 206 BC when the first imperial dynasty is finished, to make clearly the characteristic of the practice of put down the manuscripts of Chu culture. The second one: the procedure of realizing the DSR. Generally speaking, in China, the work of the paleographers is essentially to decipher and read the ancient writing; while the task of the historian is fundamentally based of the transcribed Chinese modern characters, even with excavated materials. Very few person cares of the space leave between the different sections on the same strip. A decade ago, a undergraduate student had find the woodcutting line in the back of strips whose purpose maybe makes the mark of order at the time. At present, the reconstitution of the scroll of strips for the original form becomes the theme of research papers and the topic of dissertation. However, all this kind of research is about of the new acquisition from antiquarian market. No one take care of the publication of corpus before 2000 for the same intention, in which there the back of strip is omitted except those with writing. In my opinion, concerning the 54 bamboo strips of Baoshan, published in 1991, whose state of conserve is integral, we could undertake a research for the details of procedure of DSR, basing on not only the disposition and layout of the space between the original writing, but also recently paleographic research on the switch of hand of scribes. The third part: the contents of DSR, the longest part of my dissertation. In this part, the transmitted text will be considered and studied in the perspective of cultural studies. In fact, the DSR is an intersection of divination, kinship, illness, offering and the attitude towards the death. It will take considerable time to understand every part, and all of them in the whole system.