Through a detailed study of the new military treatises produced by China's Song dynasty, part of a broader bureaucratic centralising project of the Song which involved the collection and systematic publication in encyclopedias of various "lost" texts, this book shows how important for warfare, and for Song government generally, were new rituals, not aligned to China's traditional religions - Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism - rituals where cultural and supernatural emblems mimicked natural forces and became themselves objects for the production of power. The book thereby casts a great deal of light on the nature of the Song regime overall. Moreover, the book argues that the new rituals and associated cosmology and ideology, once disseminated widely throughout society, were one of the factors which in time led to the decline and overthrow of the Song dynasty.
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