Bamboo Annals
The Bamboo Annals is a chronicle
Generally a chronicle is a historical account of facts and events ranged in chronological order, as in a time line. Typically, equal weight is given for historically important events and local events, the purpose being the recording of events that occurred, seen from the perspective of the...

 of ancient China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. It begins at the earliest legendary times (Huangdi
Yellow Emperor
The Yellow Emperor or Huangdi1 is a legendary Chinese sovereign and culture hero, included among the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. Tradition holds that he reigned from 2697–2597 or 2696–2598 BC...

, 2497 BC to 2398 BC) and extends to the Warring States Period
Warring States Period
The Warring States Period , also known as the Era of Warring States, or the Warring Kingdoms period, covers the Iron Age period from about 475 BC to the reunification of China under the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC...

 (5th century BC–221 BC), particularly the history of the Wei
Wei (state)
The State of Wei was a Zhou Dynasty vassal state during the Warring States Period of Chinese history. Its territory lay between the states of Qin and Qi and included parts of modern day Henan, Hebei, Shanxi and Shandong...

 state. It has 13 sections.

The original text was interred with the king of Wei
Wei (state)
The State of Wei was a Zhou Dynasty vassal state during the Warring States Period of Chinese history. Its territory lay between the states of Qin and Qi and included parts of modern day Henan, Hebei, Shanxi and Shandong...

 (died 296 BC) and re-discovered in AD 281 (Xi Jin 西晋 dynasty) in the Ji zhong discovery
Ji zhong discovery
The Ji zhong discovery in AD 279, is an important event in the paleography of ancient China.Robbers opened the tomb of King Xiang'ai of Wei and found there a corpus of ancient bamboo slips...

. For this reason, the chronicle survived the great burning of the books by Emperor Shi Huangdi. Other texts recovered from the same tomb included the Guo yu
Guoyu (book)
The Discourses of the States or Guoyu is a classical Chinese history book that collected the historical records of numerous states from Western Zhou to 453 BC. Its author is unknown, but it is sometimes attributed to Zuo Qiuming, a contemporary of Confucius...

, I Ching
I Ching
The I Ching or "Yì Jīng" , also known as the Classic of Changes, Book of Changes and Zhouyi, is one of the oldest of the Chinese classic texts...

, and Mu tian zi zhuan 《穆天子传》. They were written on bamboo slips
Bamboo and wooden slips (writing material)
Bamboo and wooden slips were one of the main media for literacy in early China. The long, narrow strips of wood or bamboo typically carry a single column of brush-written text each, with space for several tens of Chinese characters. For longer texts, many slips may be bound together in sequence...

, the usual writing material for the Warring States period, and it is from this that the name of the text derives.

The Bamboo Annals is one of the most important ancient texts on early China, along with others such as the Zuo Zhuan
Zuo Zhuan
The Zuo Zhuan , sometimes translated as the Chronicle of Zuo or the Commentary of Zuo, is among the earliest Chinese works of narrative history and covers the period from 722 BCE to 468 BCE. It is one of the most important sources for understanding the history of the Spring and Autumn Period...

, Shujing and the later Shiji.


Nivison, David S., 'Chu shu chi nien' in: Early Chinese Texts. A Bibliographical Guide (Loewe, Michael, ed.) p.39-47, Berkeley: Society for the Study of Early China, 1993, ISBN 1-55729-043-1. Shaughnessy, Edward L., 'The Editing and Editions of the Bamboo Annals', in: ibid, Rewriting Early Chinese Texts, Albany (State University of New York Press) 2006, ISBN 0-7914-6643-4. Nivison, David S., (倪德衛), The Riddle of the Bamboo Annals (竹書紀年解謎), Taipei (Airiti Press Inc.) 2009, ISBN 9789868518216. For the content, Airiti Press, Amazon or ebook, or for a written summary by Nivison himself here. SHAO, Dongfang, (邵東方), Critical Reflection on Current Debates about The Bamboo Annals, Taipei (Airiti Press Inc.) 2010, ISBN 9789868518292. For the content Airiti Press, or Ebook. Nivison, David S., 'The Dates of Western Chou', in: Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 43 (1983) pp. 481-580. Nivison, David S., The Key to the Chronology of the Three Dynasties. The "Modern Text" Bamboo Annals, Philadelphia (Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Pennsylvania) 1999, Sino-Platonic Papers 93. Click here for summary. Shaughnessy Edward L., 'On the Authenticity of the Bamboo Annals', in: Before Confucius. Studies in the Creation of the Chinese Classics, Ithaca (SUNY Press) 1997, ISBN 0-7914-3378-1, pp.69-101, Click here.:Also published in: Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies vol. 46 (1986), pp. 149-180.
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