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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.

In: Bamboo and Silk


The stories *Dan from the Fangmatan 放馬灘 Qin manuscripts, and Taiyuan you sizhe 泰原有死者 from the Peking University Qin manuscript collection, tell of the afterlife and the proper burial and sacrificial practices for the dead through the words of two men who died and returned to life. The proper burial and sacrificial practices proposed in the texts include the replacement of money and silk with symbolic objects, the abandonment of burying a body in the bent position and the breaking of burial goods, the restriction on joint burial of husband and wife, and advocating moderation and cleanliness in sacrificial rituals at the grave. The two texts reflect how the literate class endeavored to make the old burial and sacrificial customs in Qin culture closer to the collective customs of the six eastern states.

In: Bamboo and Silk