This is a book review on The Emperor’s Pearl by Robert van Gulik. Highly educated writer and a diplomat Robert van Gulik is mostly known as due to his writing on Judge Dee mysteries. He is a Dutch man grew up in Indonesia and taught mandarin.
Highly educated writer and a diplomat Robert van Gulik is mostly known as due to his writing on Judge Dee mysteries. He is a Dutch man grew up in Indonesia and taught mandarin. Later joined the Dutch Foreign Service in 1935 and was stationed in various countries including Japan, China, India and Lebanon during the 1958 Civil War. From 1965 until his death of cancer in 1967 he was ambassador to Japan. Judge Dee stories gave him the fame which he deserves after exploring the cultural heritage and history of China. Dee was a real person who lived in the seventh century and died in the same century at the age of seventy. Dee served in political role as well as magistrate in Imperial Capital of China. China was in form of expanding the empire in the seventh century by conquering the neighboring territories including Vietnam and Korea as well as several small other territories. Van Gulik’s came up with the stories related to solving mysteries of Judge Dee which appeared on several occasions in Chinese Literature.
In seventh century the official religion of the Empire was Confucianism so as of the Judge Dee, but many of the people had the liberty and practicing and worshipped an animistic pantheon; Taoism was allowed but frowned upon as leading to sexual excess, while Buddhism was spreading. Buddhism is represented as a rapacious cult and not as the force for peace it is now held to be. Suppression of vice leaves Taoist temples empty to be misused by others, political struggles as the Buddhists try to influence the throne lead to corruption and injustice, while all kinds of blameworthy and doubtful crooks hide behind the shield of the cloth.
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