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Classical Historiography for Chinese History

Research guide for Chinese Historiography


(Compiled with the help of Bruce Rusk)

  • Description: This website is the online part of the 2004 exhibition at the French National Library on Chinese calligraphy. It comprises texts and illustrations from the printed catalog with a number of additional material, i.e. video sequences on the Dunhuang manuscripts and a multipart interview with Fan Zheng. The excellent objects of the Oriental Manuscripts department, where also the Pelliot collection belongs to, form the core of the impressive show. Quite unfortunately, the English Pages only cover the very short captions of the "en images" part; all other information is French only.
  • Contents: (1) en images; (2) arrêt sur; (3) repères; (4) gros plans; (5) rencentre; (6) le pavillon des lettrés; (7) informations; (8) crédits.
  • Note: Quicktime player is required for the video material.
  • The Origins of Chinese Characters. Sinolingua, 1997.

    This book is intended as a guide to the origins and histories of Chinese characters. It can be used as a Chinese etymological dictionary.

  • Hansen, Valerie. "Inscriptions: Historical Sources for the Song." The Bulletin of Song Yuan Studies 19(1987): 17-25.
  • Li Leyi, ed. Tracing the Roots of Chinese Characters: 500 Cases. Beijing: Beijing yu yan da xue chu ban she, 1994. Revised edition 2002.

    This book features 500 Chinese characters arranged in alphabetical order by their pinyin Romanization. The evolution of each character is first traced from its original graph and then through each of its eight possible evolutionary stages. Such forms include oracle bone inscriptions, bronze inscriptions, small seal characters, regular script, grass stroke, and free style calligraphy.

  • Qiu Xigui. Chinese Writing. Translated by Gilbert L. Mattos and Jerry Norman. Berkeley: Society for Study of Early China, Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 2000.
  • Vermeer, E.B. (Eduard B.). Chinese Local History: Stone Inscriptions from Fukien in the Sung to Ch'ing Periods. Boulder: Westview Press, 1991.

More advanced sources

  • Shi ke shi liao xin bian 石刻史料新編 (New edition of historical materials carved on stone). 3 series 三輯. Taibei: Xin wen feng chu ban gong si, 1977/1982, 1979, 1986.

    This is the most complete set of epigraphic sources, which includes an enormous amount of primary and secondary material (including thejinshi ?? sections of many gazetteers) in facsimile. The three series consist of 90 volumes altogether containing around 1,030 collections of stone inscriptions of various types. The earliest collections and compilations date from the Song dynasty but most works are later, some of recent (1980) origin. The greater part of the material was collected and composed in the Qing dynasty. A large number of rarities, difficult-to-find and hard-to-obtain works, and many otherwise not well known or unpublished manuscripts are included.

    There are two indices:

    • Kuhn, Dieter, & Helga Stahl. Annotated Bibliography to the Shike shiliao xinbian (New Edition of Historical Materials Carved on Stone). Heidelberg: Edition Forum, 1991. ISBN 3-927943-04-5 [Gest Ref. PL2448 .K79 1991]. The entries in the Annotated Bibliography are arranged alphabetically by title (including the Chinese characters), date of compilation (preface, foreword), name and dates of author or compiler, period of time and geographical region covered by the work, short comment on the contents, inclusion of the title in bibliographic catalogues, edition or congshu used for the reprint. The name of persons of the Song, Liao, Jin, and Wei & Qi dynasties whose completely transcribed epitaphs can be found in the series, are listed in the order of appearance in the title entry. An alphabetically arranged list of these persons as well as an index to the authors is also supplied.
    • Shi ke shi liao xin bian di yi, er, san ji shu ming zhu zhe suo yin. 石刻史料新編第一, 二, 三輯書名著者索引 Index of writers and books in the three series of the New edition of historical materials carved on stone). Takahashi Tsuguo; [Gao Mingshi yi]. Taibei: Xin wen feng chu ban gong si, 1995.

Other large epigraphical sources

  • Beijing tu shu guan cang Zhongguo li dai shi ke ta ben hui bian 北 京圖書館藏中國歷代石刻拓本匯編 (Compendium of stone inscriptions and works from successive Chinese dynasties collected in the Beijing Library). Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chuban she (1989-). Zhengzhou, Henan: Zhongzhou gu ji chu ban she, 1989- . Collection of rubbings from ancient times to the 20th century in the Beijing Library. The Ming and Qing volumes (over 40 volumes alone) include civil examination materials from the provincial and metropolitan examinations.
  • Li dai shi ke shi liao hui bian 歷代石刻史料匯編. 16 vols. Beijing: Beijing tu shu guan chu ban she, 2000. [Marquand PL2448 .L48 2000]. Contents: 1-2. Xian Qin Qin Han Wei Jin Nan Bei chao -- 3-6. Sui Tang Wu dai -- 7-10. Liang Song -- 11-13. Liao Jin Yuan -- 14-16. Ming Qing.
  • National Library of China, Database of Stone Inscriptions: 16,584 items with 21,000 images are now available to the general public, representing about 38% of all extant Chinese inscriptions. They hope to place all digitized inscriptions online by the end of 2006. The holdings of Beijing University Library are not included.
  • Shi tou shang de ru jia wen xian: Qufu bei wen lu 石頭上的儒家文獻:曲阜 碑文錄 (Confucian writings on stone: record of texts on Qufu stelae). Luo Chenglie hui bian. Publisher Jinan : Qi Lu shu she, 2001.
  • Starr, Kenneth, et al. Catalogue of Chinese Rubbings from Field Museum. Chicago: Fieldiana Anthropology New Series, #3, 1981. Researched by Hoshien Tchen, M. Kenneth Starr; prepared by Alice K. Schneider; photographs by Herta Newton and Field Museum, Division of Photography; edited by Hartmut Walravens.
  • Shi ke ti ba suo yin 石刻題跋索引 (Index to colophons for stone inscriptions). Yang Dianxun, ed. Shanghai : Shang wu yin shu guan, 1957. [Gest Reference R2096.5/4271]. Revised edition 1980. The most complete index to premodern colophons on or relating to inscriptions on stone and bronze from "Xia" to Yuan
  • Xi'an bei lin quan ji 西安碑林全集 (Complete collection of the Forest of Stelae in Xi'an). Gao Xia zhu bian ; Li Linna, Wang Yuanyin, Wang Qiyi fu zhu bian. 200 vols. in 25 cases. Guangzhou: Guangdong jing ji chu ban she ; [Shenzhen] : Hai tian chu ban she, 1999.

    Contents:1-58. Bei ke -- 59-101. Mu zhi -- 102-104. Shi ke xian hua -- 105-106. Zao xiang ti ji -- 107-110. Kaicheng shi jing. Zhou yi -- 111-114. Kaicheng shi jing. Shang shu -- 115-120. Kaicheng shi jing. Shi jing -- 121-126. Kaicheng shi jing. Zhou li -- 127-132. Kaicheng shi jing. Yi li - 133-142. Kaicheng shi jing. Li ji -- 143-145. Kaicheng shi jing. Wu jing wen zi -- 146. Kaicheng shi jing. Jiu jing zi yang -- 147-168. Kaicheng shi jing. Chun qiu Zuo shi zhuan -- 169-174. Kaicheng shi jing. Chun qiu Gongyang zhuan -- 175-180. Kaicheng shi jing. Chun qiu Guliang zhuan -- 181-182. Kaicheng shi jing. Lun yu -- 183. Kaicheng shi jing. Xiao jing. Er ya - 184. Kaicheng shi jing. Er ya -- 185-187. Kaicheng shi jing. Mengzi -- 188. Kaicheng shi jing. Mengzi. Da xue. Zhong yong -- 189-198. Shanxi bei shi jing hua -- [suppl.] Bu yi juan.