James M. Hargett's work adds rich layers to our understanding of one of China's most important sacred sites. Mount Emei, located south of Chengdu in Sichuan, is one of the Four Great Famous Buddhist Mountains in China (四大名山). It is associated with the bodhisattva Puxian (Samantabhadra). While other Buddhist peaks, particularly Mount Wutai and Mount Putuo, have been the subject of recent studies in English, Emei has been relatively neglected. Hargett's analysis centers on literary accounts of Emei from the Tang and especially the Song. Several chapters follow the travels of the Southern Song scholar and official Fan Chengda (范成大, 1126–93) up the mountain's slopes, drawing from Fan's poetry and his famous travelogue Diary of a Boat Trip to Wu (吳船錄).

Hargett acknowledges debts to two key works on Chinese mountains: Edouard Chavannes's Le Tai chan (Paris: E. Leroux, 1910) and Edward Schafer's Mao Shan in T'ang Times (Boulder, Colo.:...

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