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Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China$
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N. Harry Rothschild and Leslie V. Wallace

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824867812

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824867812.001.0001

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Wild Youths and Fallen Officials

Wild Youths and Fallen Officials

Falconry and Moral Opprobrium in Early Medieval China

(p.122) 7 Wild Youths and Fallen Officials
Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China

Leslie V. Wallace

University of Hawai'i Press

The earliest substantiated evidence for the practice of falconry in China dates to the second century C.E. and by the fourth and fifth centuries the sport was widespread among the elite. During this time the use of raptors in the hunt is vividly depicted in tomb murals and bricks. Textual sources, on the other hand, emphasize the moral and social effects of the sport. Focusing on recorded falconry enthusiasts and passages in which the sport is criticized, this chapter argues that the majority of texts consider falconry to be a social vice associated with characters of dubious morals as well as symptomatic of the general breakdown of social order. Buddhist attitudes toward the hunt further augmented this tradition and inspired the first outright prohibitions of the sport in the fifth century.

Keywords:   falconry, hunting, imperial hunting, animals and civilization, Eastern Han, Six Dynasties

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