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Excavated Texts and Early Chinese Empires

Leung, Vincent (2014) Excavated Texts and Early Chinese Empires. In: AAS-in-Asia: on ‘Asia in Motion: Heritage and Transformation’,, 17 July 2014 - 19 July 2014, Singapore. (Unpublished)

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Early Chinese empires, namely the Qin (221 - 206 BCE) and Han (206 BCE -220 CE) dynasties, have long claimed one of the most voluminous and richest historical records among all the great empires in the ancient world. While this is hardly a contestable claim, it is less often acknowledged that the received historical records, the many texts that have survived the ravages of time for two millennia, were only a small fraction of all that must have once circulated under the early empires. The received corpus is a miniscule collection of literary fragments from the infinitely larger literary universe of the early empires. All that was thought to be lost, however, has started to resurface in recent decades as archaeological excavations have turned up textual remains of all kinds, rapidly expanding and transforming our understanding of the early empires. This panel brings together an international group of scholars to present new exciting findings from recent excavations. Momiyama and Lai’s papers draw on the same discovery at the ancient city of Liye for new details about Qin administration. Kim’s paper presents new information on foreign trades and tributes of the Han empire. Ma’s paper studies the material practices of writing in early China through visual evidence in the excavated manuscripts themselves. The four papers exemplify the different ways in which these newly excavated texts, available again for the first time after two millennia, challenge and further our understanding of the Qin and Han empires in early China.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Leung, Vincentvleung@pitt.eduVLEUNG
Date: 2014
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Event Title: AAS-in-Asia: on ‘Asia in Motion: Heritage and Transformation’,
Event Dates: 17 July 2014 - 19 July 2014
Event Type: Conference
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2014 15:34
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2017 05:01


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