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A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization Paperback – May 8, 2012
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Written in a readable first person and presented in textbook format with chapter subheads, this catalogue of goddesses ranges from the dawn of creation and the half-snake goddess Nü Wa, to 20th century heroines such as Deng Yingchao, wife of Zhou Enlai. In addition to serving as a valuable historical reference guide, Griffith’s study sheds light on the evolution of women’s roles in Chinese society.” Publishers Weekly
To read through this compendium of female icons in the Chinese culture is to appreciate the ebb and flow of the changing Chinese environment across the thousands of years and especially to appreciate the role women have played in such a changing culture.” New York Journal of Books
From the Back Cover
--WANG PING, author of The Last Communist Virgin and Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China
"This book is a most engaging and entertaining read, and the depth of its scholarship is astounding. Griffith vividly describes the counterculture of Chinese goddesses, shows that their fascinating stories are alive and active today, and points us toward a more inclusive and caring partnership future."
--RIANE EISLER, author of The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics and The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future
"It is a great pleasure to read A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization--especially to know that our book was its author's inspiration. Now a wonderful book on the same subject appears that should be an added treasure for our audience. I really hope,by virtue of this book, that the yin side of Chinese civilization will be fully known by, and bring blessing to, the world."
-- MIN JIAYIN, Editor-in-Chief of The Chalice & The Blade in Chinese Culture, by The Chinese Partnership Research Group
Top Customer Reviews
by Brian Griffith is an informative book on the plethora of
immortal women who made contributions to virtually every area
of Chinese life over the centuries. Griffith documents goddess
figures from prehistoric times, famous heroines of resistance
movements, enlightened immortals, spiritual heroins and
superwomen of the people.
Griffith presents famous women deity. For example, the greatest
deity in China is Kuan Yin who is the goddess of universal
compassion. Chen Jinggu lead a band of sworn sisters who were
known as the fighting shamanesses. Lo Shen is a mythical
spirit of nature. Feng Bo Bo represents the primordial forces
of winds and storms. Shin Mu is the holy mother of perfect intelligence.
Confucious spoke of a Golden Age where the land would be
green with hillside forests, languid ponds and sparkling
fresh beaches. The author explains Confucian legends; whereby,
the primordial father-figures exuded virtues like compassion
and generosity. The Confucianists presented idealized pictures
of their ancestors. Examples of famous Buddhist and Daoist
Masters include Mazu, Chen Jinggu, Yeshe Tsogyal,Xie Xiran
and Zu Shu.
Ma Tsu is a famous goddess who saved men at sea. She saved
people in her dreams and was a boat woman on the coast of Fujian.
Later, great temples were erected to Ma Tsu or Mazu. Today,
she is worshiped by over a hundred million people on the
southern coasts of China and Taiwan.
In popular folklore, the Double Seven Festival is a feast day
for women according to Griffith.Read more ›
He describes "Their goddesses are seldom pictured as high officials in a heavenly government. Female religious leaders have often been popular, but rarely controlled big organizations. Their authority has come from their personal qualities, not from any position of rank or office."
Brian Griffith also describes the challenges of telling such ancient history saying, "We may suspect that all these memories of golden times are just illusions, and memory makes the past seem better than it was....But people's recollections of their "golden times" can also be a positive inspiration." This section was reminiscent of the Woody Allen film "Midnight in Paris", which follows Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) as he time travels through Paris's golden ages.
The stories of powerful women in A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization also reminded me of my month long back packing trip in China in 1984. Five foot nine, taller than most of the people around me with a big travelling backpack on I stood looking at a completely full bus, thinking there was no way I was going to get on.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a bit dry and is not an easy read. However, if you are interested in Chinese folklore, especially from the “yin” side of the culture, you’ll find everything you need... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Lee L.
Chinese Women and Goddesses, Stone Age to Today
Posted on April 3, 2015
My husband has two degrees in Chinese history and is writing a nine-volume novel set largely... Read more
The book was most interesting because of the subject matter and a hybrid style of writing. It was neither straight history nor historical fiction. Read morePublished 16 months ago by ladylawyer8650
Chinese Women is not, as I imagined from the title, a book full of simple legends about women of great skills or accomplishments from Chinese fairy tales. Read morePublished on December 19, 2012 by COSMIC TRAVELER
" A GALAXY OF IMMORTAL WOMEN: THE YIN SIDE OF CHINESE CIVILIZATION" is quite a monumental undertaking by Brian Griffith, a Texas-born independent historian who has previously... Read morePublished on October 5, 2012 by Stephanie De Pue
**This book was received as a free advanced reader's copy**
I'm fascinated with Chinese culture and with Women studies. Read more
A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization is a book filled with myths, legends, and centuries old tales of Chinese Women and Goddesses who have shaped... Read morePublished on September 24, 2012 by Ang Harris
A review of female deities and heroes and the place of women in Chinese culture from prehistoric times to the present. Read morePublished on August 19, 2012 by John L. Leland
This book is well-written and well-researched. The author is very ambitious in discussing so much Chinese history and tying it in with mythology, archaeology, religion, folklore,... Read morePublished on August 17, 2012 by JDM