Thu . 19 Jun 2019

Bamboo Annals

bamboo annals, bamboo annals xia dynasty
The Bamboo Annals Chinese: 竹書紀年; pinyin: Zhúshū Jìnián, also known as the Ji Tomb Annals Chinese: 汲冢紀年; pinyin: Jí Zhǒng Jìnián, is a chronicle of ancient China It begins at the earliest legendary times the Yellow Emperor and extends to 299 BC, with the later centuries focusing on the history of the State of Wei in the Warring States period It thus covers a similar period to Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian 91 BC The original may have been lost during the Song dynasty, and the text is known today in two versions, a "current text" or "modern text" of disputed authenticity and an incomplete "ancient text"


  • 1 Textual history
  • 2 Translations
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
  • 5 Further reading
  • 6 External links

Textual history

The original text was interred with King Xiang of Wei died 296 BC and re-discovered nearly six centuries later in 281 AD Western Jin dynasty in the Jizhong discovery For this reason, the chronicle survived the burning of the books by Emperor Qin Shi Huang Other texts recovered from the same tomb included Guoyu, I Ching, and the Tale of King Mu They were written on bamboo slips, the usual writing material of the Warring States period, and it is from this that the name of the text derives The strips were arranged in order and transcribed by court scholars, who identified the work as the state chronicle of Wei According to Du Yu, who saw the original strips, the text began with the Xia dynasty, and used a series of different pre-Han calendars However, later indirect reports state that it began with the Yellow Emperor This version, consisting of 13 scrolls, was lost during the Song dynasty A 3-scroll version of the Annals is mentioned in the History of Song 1345, but its relationship to the other versions is not known

The "current text" 今本 jīnběn is a 2-scroll version of the text printed in the late 16th century The first scroll contains a sparse narrative of the pre-dynastic emperors beginning with the Yellow Emperor, the Xia dynasty and the Shang dynasty The narrative is interspersed with longer passages on portents, which are identical to passages in the late 5th century Book of Song The second scroll contains a more detailed account of the history of the Western Zhou, the state of Jin and its successor state Wei, and has no portent passages This version gave years according to the sexagenary cycle, a practice that began in the Han dynasty Discrepancies between the text and quotations of the earlier text in older books led scholars such as Qian Daxin and Shinzō Shinjō to dismiss the "current" version as a forgery, a view still widely held Other scholars, notably David Nivison and Edward Shaughnessy, argue that substantial parts of it are faithful copies of the original text

The "ancient text" 古本 gǔběn is a partial version assembled through painstaking examination of quotations of the lost original in pre-Song works by Zhu Youzeng late 19th century, Wang Guowei 1917 and Fan Xiangyong 1956 Fang Shiming and Wang Xiuling 1981 have systematically collated all the available quotations, instead of following earlier scholars in trying to merge variant forms of a passage into a single text The two works that provide the most quotations, the Shui Jing Zhu 527 and Sima Zhen's Shiji Suoyin early 8th century, seem to be based on slightly different versions of the text


  • in French Biot, Édouard 1841–42 "Tchou-chou-ki-nien, Annales de bambou Tablettes chronologiques du Livre écrit sur bambou", Journal asiatique, Third series, 12, pp 537–78, and 13, pp 203–207, 381–431
  • Legge, James 1865 "The Annals of the Bamboo Books", in "Prolegomena", The Chinese Classics, volume 3, part 1, pp 105–188 Rpt 1960 Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press
  • Nivison, David 2009 The Riddle of the Bamboo Annals Zhushu Jinian Jiemi 竹書紀年解謎 Taipei: Airiti Press

See also

  • Tsinghua Bamboo Slips


  1. ^ Knechtges 2014, p 2343
  2. ^ a b Keightley 1978, p 423
  3. ^ a b Nivison 1993, pp 40–41
  4. ^ Shaughnessy 2006, p 193
  5. ^ Nivison 1993, pp 41, 44
  6. ^ Shaughnessy 2006, pp 193–194
  7. ^ Nivison 1993, p 40
  8. ^ Nivison 1993, pp 39, 42–43
  9. ^ Keightley 1978, p 424
  10. ^ Barnard 1993, pp 50–69
  11. ^ Shaughnessy 1986
  12. ^ Keightley 1978, pp 423–424
  13. ^ Shaughnessy 2006, p 209
  14. ^ Shaughnessy 2006, pp 210–222
Works cited
  • Barnard, Noel 1993, "Astronomical data from ancient Chinese records: the requirements of historical research methodology" PDF, East Asian History, 6: 47–74 
  • Keightley, David N 1978, "The Bamboo Annals and Shang-Chou Chronology", Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 38 2: 423–438, JSTOR 2718906 
  • Knechtges, David R 2014 "Zhushu jinian 竹書紀年 Bamboo Annals" In Knechtges, David R; Chang, Taiping Ancient and Early Medieval Chinese Literature: A Reference Guide, Part Four Leiden: Brill pp 2342–48 ISBN 978-90-04-27217-0 
  • Nivison, David S 1993, "Chu shu chi nien 竹書紀年", in Loewe, Michael, Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide, Berkeley: Society for the Study of Early China, pp 39–47, ISBN 1-55729-043-1 
  • Shaughnessy, Edward L 1986, "On The Authenticity of the Bamboo Annals", Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 46 1: 149–180, JSTOR 2719078  reprinted in Shaughnessy, Edward L 1997 Before Confucius Studies in the Creation of the Chinese Classics Ithaca: SUNY Press pp 69–101 ISBN 0-7914-3378-1 
  • —— 2006, "The Editing and Editions of the Bamboo Annals", Rewriting Early Chinese Texts, Albany: State University of New York Press, pp 185ff, ISBN 978-0-7914-6644-5 

Further reading

  • Nivison, David S 1983, "The Dates of Western Chou", Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 43 2: 481–580, JSTOR 2719108 
  • —— 1999, "The Key to the Chronology of the Three Dynasties The 'Modern Text' Bamboo Annals" PDF, Sino-Platonic Papers, 93  summary
  • —— 2009, The Riddle of the Bamboo Annals, Taipei: Airiti Press, ISBN 978-986-85182-1-6  summary
  • —— 2011, "Epilogue to The Riddle of the Bamboo Annals" PDF, Journal of Chinese Studies, 53: 1–32  responding to Shaughnessy 2011
  • Shao, Dongfang 邵東方 2010, Zhúshū jìnián yánjiū lùngǎo 竹書紀年研究論稿 in Chinese, Taipei: Airiti Press, ISBN 978-986-85182-9-2 
  • Shaughnessy, Edward L 2011, "Of Riddles and Recoveries: The Bamboo Annals, Ancient Chronology, and the Work of David Nivison" PDF, Journal of Chinese Studies, 52: 269–290  review of Nivison 2009

External links

  • Bamboo Annals at the Chinese Text Project

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