These 130 articles explore mythologies in societies from India to Japan. Among the many topics are Buddhist and Hindu symbolic systems, myth in pre-Islamic Iran, Indonesian rites of passage, Chinese cosmology and demons, and Japanese conceptions of the afterlife and the "vital spirit." The mythological traditions of Turkey, Korea, Tibet, and Mongolia are also included.

"The almost 100 contributors combine, with characteristic precision and élan, the arts of science and poetry, of analysis and translation. The result is a treasury of information, brilliant guesswork, witty asides, and revealing digressions. This is a work of genuine and enduring excitement."—Thomas D'Evelyn, Christian Science Monitor