By examining the Zhoujiatai Qin Tomb 30 Bamboo Slip End Profile Chart, one can see that the various sections of the rishu (Daybook) formed an ovular rolled bundle that was, for the most part, closed. These slips appear to have belonged to a common manuscript. However, the slips of the calendrical manuscript saliu nian ri (Days of the 36th Year) did not belong to this rolled bundle and instead were wrapped around a separate axis. On this basis, we can determine that Days of the 36th Year and the daybook were separate manuscripts when they were placed in the tomb.
Many scholars have already studied the daybook (rishu 日書) text titled “Stars” (Xing 星), which was included among the excavated Qin manuscripts at Shuihudi 睡虎地. The Corpus of Qin Documents Written On Bamboo and Wood (Qin jiandu heji 秦簡牘合集) can be seen as a consequential culmination of these studies. Based on a collative approach, this article offers a comparative reading by citing ancient theories on astrological divination in order to clarify the provenance of passages found within the “Stars” text. Through such a comparative study, it is possible to provide an enhanced explanation of certain passages, somewhat different from the understandings of other scholars.
This paper proposes that the character in the sentence 生乃呼曰 “was born and called out: ‘Jin!’” in the Shanghai Museum manuscript Zi Gao 子羔 should be transcribed as 銫, pronounced jin, and was a special way of writing the word jin 金 “metal.” The myth of Xie in Zi Gao may be related to the virtue of Metal of the Shang dynasty, which can still be seen in a story in the Shiyi ji 拾遺記 in which the divine mother asks Jian Di 簡狄 to give birth to Xie to “succeed the Virtue of Metal.” This paper also traces the myths of Shaohao 少皞 and Xie in order to show that Shaohao and Xie derive from the same mythical source. This paper argues that the association of Shang with the virtue of Metal already existed prior to the time that Zou Yan 鄒衍 systematized the Five Virtues.
On the Chu 楚 bamboo slips from Geling 葛陵 there appears a character written in the form of 米. Most scholars agree that it is identical to the graph 柰 on the Baoshan 包山 bamboo slips and should also be read as sui 祟. This essay assumes that the reading of 柰 as sui on the Baoshan slips is correct, but that the graph written as 米 on the Geling slips is most likely a simplified version of , which in the texts is to be read as sheng 眚, a synonym for sui.
This article examines the names of five gods and spirits that appear in Chu divination records. It proposes that “Dashui” 大水 refers to the god of the sea, the Sea Approver in Zhuangzi; “Weishan” 危山 is the mountain Sanwei in Chuci, a land of immortality; “Gongmei” 宮禖 is likely the high goddess of childbirth, who was once a Chu ancestress; and “Sijin” 司祲 and “Sizhe” 司折 are two heavenly gods, the former in charge of people’s fortune, and the latter in charge of people’s lifespans. The latter is similar to the Overseer of Youth’s Fate in Chuci.
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.
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
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
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.