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Gernet Jacques provides his readers with a deep and concise understanding of the fundamental changes that have taken place in China. To achieve this, he takes his readers on a journey through time, during which talks about minority communities, the practice of farming, evolution events, and conspicuous characteristics of Chinese civilization. In this regard, I believe that Gernet successfully captures the most important historical moments in China’s civilization process by arranging the information in a chronological manner.
There are several elements in Gernet’s book that are familiar. For example, he gives a brief description of Chinese writing techniques and meanings derived from the symbols (Gernet 32). Most people are actually familiar with the unique writing style of the Chinese even though they do not necessarily understand it. Another aspect that is familiar in Gernet’s book is the section on ‘divination and sacrifices’ where the author provides a review of the divine nature of the Chinese people and how sacrifices were offered to appease their Deities (45). Globally, the Chinese are known to be very religious and this is evident in their art forms, most of which are endowed with images of their Deities.
However, Gernet is keen to introduce new content. For instance, the topic on ‘changes in the nature of war’ reviews of the manner in which war was revered by Chinese during the Ch’un-ch’iu age (Gernet 65). During this time, war was treated as an aristocratic activity that was strictly limited to conflicting noble families. Additionally, the topic ‘sophists and specialists in the five elements’ also presents new aspects regarding the Chinese culture and civilization. For instance, it talks about the unique analogies that originated from the school of Montzu, which were expressed as elements of speech characterized by a feeling of liveliness, forcefulness, and irony (Gernet 97). In essence, Gernet provides an important contribution to the understanding of Chinese civilization.