The study of early China has been radically transformed over the past fifty years by archaeological discoveries, including both textual and non-textual artefacts. Excavations of settlements and tombs have demonstrated that most people did not lead their lives in accordance with ritual canons, while previously unknown documents have shown that most received histories were written retrospectively by victors and present a correspondingly anachronistic perspective.
This handbook provides an authoritative survey of the major periods of Chinese history from the Neolithic era to the fall of the Latter Han Empire and the end of antiquity (AD 220). It is the first volume to include not only a comprehensive review of political history but also detailed treatments of topics that transcend particular historical periods, such as:
- Warfare and political thought
- Cities and agriculture
- Language and art
- Medicine and mathematics
Providing a detailed analysis of the most up-to-date research by leading scholars in the field of early Chinese history, this book will be useful to students and scholars of Chinese history, Asian archaeology, and Chinese studies in general.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What Is Early Chinese History?, Paul R. Goldin Part I: Chronology 1. Main Issues in the Study of the Chinese Neolithic, Gideon Shelach-Lavi 2. Of Millets and Wheat: Diet and Health on the Central Plain of China during the Neolithic and Bronze Age, Kate Pechenkina 3. The Bronze Age before the Zhou Dynasty, Robert Bagley 4. The Western Zhou State, Li Feng 5. The Age of Territorial Lords, Chen Shen 6. The Qin Dynasty, Charles Sanft 7. The Former Han Empire, Vincent S. Leung 8. The Latter Han Empire and the End of Antiquity, Wicky W.K. Tse Part II: Topical Studies 9. The Old Chinese Language, Axel Schuessler 10. Writing, Luo Xinhui; tr. Zachary Hershey and Paul R. Goldin 11. The Spirit World, Jue Guo 12. Religious Thought, Ori Tavor 13. Political Thought, Yuri Pines 14. Food and Agriculture, Roel Sterckx 15. Warfare, Wicky W.K. Tse 16. Currency, François Thierry 17. Women in Early China: Views from the Archaeological Record, Anne Behnke Kinney 18. An Overview of the Qin-Han Legal System from the Perspective of Recently Unearthed Documents, Kyung-ho Kim and Ming-chiu Lai 19. Literature, Stephen Durrant 20. Art, Wang Haicheng 21. "Medicine" in Early China, Miranda Brown 22. Mathematics, Karine Chemla 23. Astronomy, David Pankenier
Paul R. Goldin is Professor of East Asian Languages & Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. His recent publications include the Dao Companion to the Philosophy of Han Fei (2012) and A Concise Companion to Confucius (2017).