Mapping Culture: Battle Array Schemas (Zhentu) in Middle Period China
Full descriptions and explanations of battle array schemas (zhentu) first appear in Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) military manuals. Their increasingly "fantastic" characteristics during the Northern Song (960-1126) have long been a source of fascination and puzzlement. Although modern day scholars question whether such schemas were used in battle, middle imperial writers considered these schemas important enough to include in military manuals. Battle array schemas functioned not only as military tactic, but also as diagrams. As superimposed ideational maps, they scribed a cultural geography, providing an arena for the resolution of the many social and cultural tensions that characterized this era. Derived from ancient diagrams, array schemas both inspired new cultural and philosophical forms and expressed the possibilities for a transformed society.
battle array schemas, military manuals, Northern Song
Butler, M. A. "Mapping Culture: Battle Array Schemas (Zhentu) in Middle Period China." Journal of Chinese Military History 5, no. 1 (2016): 37-78.
Journal of Chinese Military History