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Liu Guosheng

The “Five Conquerors” passage of the Han daybook from Kongjiapo is written on slips 105–7. Slip 107 should be rejoined with fragment 24. The “Five Conquerors” passage uses the conquest theory of the five agents to realize “untimely urgent travel.” The method requires one who would undertake urgent travel to carry an item representing the particular agent that will “conquer” the agent associated with the direction of travel.

Chen Kanli

Among the Liye Qin strips published to date (March 2017), there are in total 138 records that tell the time. These records utilize both descriptive names for phases of the day (shicheng 時稱) and clepsydra (water clock, lou 漏) gradations as methods for timekeeping. Both methods appear, for the most part, evenly distributed across the entire range of years found in the Liye strips. Local climatic conditions may account for this simultaneous use of descriptive names and clepsydra gradations. Furthermore, both of these methods for timekeeping, as they appear on the Liye Qin strips, are relatively imprecise. This suggests that government work in Qianling County during the Qin period proceeded in a less-regulated fashion, particularly when it comes to the precision of deadlines imposed on administrative activities.

Edward L. Shaughnessy

Volume 6 of Qinghua daxue cang Zhanguo zhujian, published in 2016, includes two copies of a text entitled by the editors *Zheng Wen Gong wen Tai Bo 鄭文公問太伯 (Duke Wen of Zheng Asks Tai Bo). The two copies of this single text are extremely similar, both in terms of content and in terms of calligraphy, but also display certain occasional differences and one systematic difference in the positioning of the “city” (yi 邑) signific (bushou 部首) within characters. This leads the editors to argue that they “were copied by a single scribe on the basis of two separate source texts.” This is the first time we have seen such evidence of scribal practice, and it is crucial for the question of manuscript production in early China. In the present study, I first present a codicological description of these two manuscript versions of *Zheng Wen Gong wen Tai Bo, followed by a full translation of their text. Then I consider their implications for the question of manuscript production in ancient China.

Hongbo Jia (賈洪波)

Translator Carl Gene Fordham

Abstract

This paper proposes an alternative chronology for the Xia dynasty [ca. 2100-1600 BCE] based on the respective year counts and generation numbers of the Xia, Shang [ca. 1600-1046 BCE], and Zhou [1046-256 BCE] dynasties. It argues that Qi 啟 founded the Xia dynasty midway through the twentieth century BCE and further discusses questions relating to the capital cities and culture of the Xia. By integrating archeological material, it further contends that the ancient city of Wangchenggang 王城崗 located in Dengfeng 登封 was Yangcheng 陽城, the capital established by Yu 禹. It also argues that the Wadian 瓦店 site in Yuzhou 禹州 may have been inhabited by Yu and Qi, that the ancient city of Xinzhai 新砦 was an early capital of the Xia dynasty from the reigns of Qi to Shao Kang 少康, and that the Erlitou 二里頭 site was the capital of the Xia dynasty during its middle and late periods after the reign of Di Huai 帝槐. Xia culture should be approached as a concept that blends the disciplines of archeology and history and defined as the Xia people and the Xia dynasty within its region of governance or a culture whose creators mostly consisted of the Xia people. Furthermore, the ruins of the Xinzhai period represent Xia culture during its formative period, while Erlitou culture represents Xia culture during its maturity.

Hong Xu (許宏)

Translator Yin Zhang

Abstract

The abundance of classical literature and the conventions of historical studies have shaped the archaeological exploration of the origin of the state in China, starting with and centering on the identification of specific dynasties. The linear evolutionary account of the Chinese civilization, based on royal genealogies, has become mainstream. The emergence of the state has been continuously dated earlier. I argue that theoretical flaws, nationalism, and disciplinary limits have obscured the complexities of this research project. Drawing on archaeological findings, I propose a two-stage model regarding the origin of the state in East Asia.

Edward L. Shaughnessy

Abstract

David Shepherd Nivison (1923-2014) devoted the last three and a half decades of his life to an attempt to reconstruct the original text of the Bamboo Annals and to use that text to reconstruct the absolute chronology of ancient China. Nivison’s attempt to reconstruct that chronology involved astronomy; textual criticism, especially—though not exclusively—of the Bamboo Annals; and a considerable amount of historiographical conjecture concerning both the period of the Xia dynasty and of the Warring States period, during which, Nivison argues, the Bamboo Annals was undergoing multiple revisions. This attempt was also based on three major theses: (1) the Xia kings were named for the tiangan 天干 of the first day of the first year of their reign; (2) irregular gaps of zero, one, two, three, four, and even forty years recorded in the Bamboo Annals between the reigns of Xia kings should invariably have been two years; and (3) the final Xia king, Jie 桀, is completely mythical.

In this article, I first present Nivison’s arguments and then present a critique of those arguments, based on my own study of the Bamboo Annals. My own study of the Bamboo Annals in turn has shown three points that are important for understanding its annals of Xia: that at least some of the manuscript was damaged or lost when it was taken from the tomb, that the Western Jin editors made some mistakes in their editing of the text, and that they added commentary to the text. Based on this discussion, I conclude that Nivison’s hypothesis concerning the chronology of the Xia dynasty remains just that: a hypothesis.

Qi Sun (孫齊)

Minzhen Chen (陳民鎮)

Translator Carl Gene Fordham

Abstract

Three debates on the historicity of the Xia dynasty [ca. 2100-1600 BCE] have occurred, spanning the 1920s and 1930s, the late 1900s and early 2000s, and recent years. In the first debate, Gu Jiegang 顧頡剛 [1893-1980], Wang Guowei 王國維 [1877-1927], and Xu Xusheng 徐旭生 [1888-1976] pioneered three avenues for exploring the history of the Xia period. The second debate unfolded in the context of the Doubting Antiquity School [Yigupai 疑古派] and the Believing Antiquity School [Zouchu yigu 走出疑古] and can be considered a continuation of the first debate. The third debate, which is steadily increasing in influence, features the introduction of new materials, methods, and perspectives and is informed by research into the origins of Chinese civilization, a field that is now in a phase of integration.