The Eastern Han period tomb-quelling text of Zhang Shujing 張叔敬, which dates to 173 CE, confirms that living people believed the dead could use soybeans and melon seeds (huangdou guazi 黃豆瓜子) to pay taxes in the underworld. The knowledge of this only came to light with the discovery of the tablet Taiyuan Has a Dead Man (*Taiyuan you sizhe 泰原有死者), which reveals a previously unknown Qin-Han belief that the dead regarded soybeans as gold. I suggest a direct association between the above two beliefs: soybeans and melon seeds were used as substitutes for small natural gold nuggets to pay taxes in the underworld because of their resemblance in shape and color. Furthermore, a huge quantity of painted clay balls shaped like large soybeans (dashu 大菽) are recorded in the Mawangdui 馬王堆 tomb inventories (qiance 遣策), which indirectly supports this interpretation.
By considering the Kongjiapo gaodishu (“notice to the underworld”) document of 142 B.C.E. in conjunction with the rishu (“daybook”) manuscript from the same tomb and other examples of gaodishu, this article highlights the function gaodishu served to aid the deceased with meeting important figures in a bureaucratized conception of the underworld. Questions are raised about Han burial practices and contemporaneous social institutions such as chattel slavery.
The words “Xie hou” in the poem “Chou mou” 綢繆 from the “Airs of Tang” in the Shi jing are written as “Xing hou” in the Anhui University Warring States Bamboo Manuscript Shi jing. This might reflect the original orthographic form of the poem. The order of the poem in the manuscript version is different from the received Mao edition and reverses the second and third stanzas. These differences are determined by a different understanding of the people referred to by liangren, canzhe (pointing to a “Grandee”), and Xing hou.
Cheng Shaoxuan and Liu Gang
This paper introduces several newly unearthed wooden figures from tombs in Yangzhou that date to the Five Dynasties period, and provides complete transcriptions and preliminary studies of the inscriptions on them. By comparing these figures to similar materials discovered elsewhere, this paper argues that the function of putting these kinds of wooden figurines in tombs was to avoid misfortune. The last portion of the paper briefly examines the origin of this custom and beliefs behind it.
“Clothing strips” refers to those sections of tomb inventories written on bamboo and wooden slips from the early and middle Western Han that record clothing items. The distinctive characteristics of the writing, check markings, and placement in the tomb of these clothing strips reflect funerary burial conventions of that period. “Clothing lists” from the latter part of the Western Han period are directly related to these clothing strips. Differences in format between these two types of documents are the result of changes in funerary ritual during the Western Han period.
Edited by Iwona Kraska-Szlenk
Donald Harper (夏德安)
Bamboo-slip manuscripts from Zhoujiatai tomb 30, Hubei (burial dated ca. 209 b.c.e.), provide important evidence of ancient Chinese occult manuscripts belonging to a man of modest status. One manuscript, identified as a rishu “day book” by the modern editors of the Zhoujiatai manuscripts, treats of hemerology and astrology and is the focus of this study. The bamboo slips of a calendar for years corresponding to 211–210 b.c.e. can be associated with the rishu and may have formed one manuscript unit. The contents of the rishu include two large-size diagrams related to hemerological and astro-calendrical systems. The first diagram involves calculations based on the position of the handle of the Dipper constellation and the second diagram is notable for reference to one of the years (211 b.c.e.) of the associated calendar. A third diagram, for which the title rong liri “rong calendar day [divination]” is written on the manuscript, has a slightly different form in a second occurrence on the manuscript. Both forms of the diagram show thirty lines arranged in a vertical column, corresponding to the thirty days of the ideal month, with some lines enclosed in boxes. Days of the month are counted in the sequence of lines on the diagram in order to determine the lucky and unlucky aspects of a given day. A related hemerological system is attested in a manuscript from Mawangdui tomb 3, Hunan (burial dated 168 b.c.e.), and in medieval occult manuscripts from Dunhuang.
Daniel Patrick Morgan (墨子涵) and Karine Chemla (林力娜)
Refining our previous study in Jianbo 簡帛 12 (2016), this article examines the back-and-forth between scribal hands in the Suan shu shu 筭數書 from Zhangjiashan 張家山 M247 (sealed ≥186 b.c.e.). Introducing an improved methodology, we establish a link between one of the Suan shu shu’s scriptors and four other manuscripts in the same tomb, offering a hand-informed reading of the former to hypothesize what this means.