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    Ing, Michael D. K. 2017. Philosophy in Western Han Dynasty China (206 BCE-9 CE). Philosophy Compass, Vol. 11, Issue. 6, p. 289.

    Ren, Kai and Li, Jun 2017. Academic Freedom and University Autonomy: A Higher Education Policy Perspective. Higher Education Policy, Vol. 26, Issue. 4, p. 507.

    Nylan, Michael 2017. Highways, Byways, and Road Systems in the Pre-Modern World.

    Sellmann, James D. 2017. On the Origin of Shang and Zhou Law. Asian Philosophy, Vol. 16, Issue. 1, p. 49.

    Hall, David L. and Ames, Roger T. 2017. The cosmological setting of Chinese gardens. Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes, Vol. 18, Issue. 3, p. 175.

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Book description

This volume begins the historical coverage of The Cambridge History of China with the establishment of the Ch'in empire in 221 BC and ends with the abdication of the last Han emperor in AD 220. Spanning four centuries, this period witnessed major evolutionary changes in almost every aspect of China's development, being particularly notable for the emergence and growth of a centralized administration and imperial government. Leading historians from Asia, Europe, and America have contributed chapters that convey a realistic impression of significant political, economic, intellectual, religious, and social developments, and of the contacts that the Chinese made with other peoples at this time. As the book is intended for the general reader as well as the specialist, technical details are given in both Chinese terms and English equivalents. References lead to primary sources and their translations and to secondary writings in European languages as well as Chinese and Japanese.

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  • 1 - The state and empire of Ch'in
    pp 20-102
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    Ch'in long existed as a small state or principality and then as a major dynasty and empire. The Chinese world became divided into a multitude of political entities; some 170 are believed to have existed during the Chou subperiod known as the Spring and Autumn period. Both non-Marxist and Marxist historians have been exercised over the appropriate use of the term feudalism. The improvement in agriculture was probably accompanied by a growth of population, despite the simultaneous intensification of warfare. In Ch'in and several contemporary principalities, the political changes just noted were accompanied by an evolution toward more sophisticated institutions and organs of central government. The Ch'in empire is regarded as the supreme embodiment of the ideas and techniques known as Legalism. Shang Yang had been chancellor in Ch'in, and Shen Pu-hai had been chancellor in the much smaller neighboring state of Hann.
  • 2 - The Former Han dynasty
    pp 103-222
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    The Han dynasty bequeathed to China an ideal and a concept of empire that survived basically intact for two thousand years. Modernist policies derived from the unification of China by Ch'in and the operation of imperial government under the principles of Shang Yang, Shen Pu-hai, and Han Fei. The first century of the Han empire witnessed the implementation, modification, or extension of these policies in a number of ways. The imperial institutions and intellectual framework of the Han empire were evolved and modified as a result of controversy, violence, or rebellion. Ch'en She and Wu Kuang are named as the two men who were the first to challenge the authority of the Ch'in empire. The major difference between the systems of government of Ch'in and Han lay in the organization of the provinces. During the last fifty years of the Former Han period, foreign policy was marked at times by a refusal to engage potential enemies.
  • 3 - Wang Mang, the restoration of the Han dynasty, and Later Han
    pp 223-290
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    The Han Chinese were firm believers in the art of physiognomy. It was claimed that Wang Mang was descended from Shun and the Yellow Emperor sovereigns hallowed in Chinese mythology, by way of the dukes of Ch'i of the house of T'ien. Wang Mang's reliable genealogy begins with his great-grandfather, who filled no office and apparently lived as a country gentleman in what is now northern Shantung. Wang Mang's manipulation of the public and the methods later used to support the restoration of the Han dynasty were identical. To gain a correct perspective, one must look at Wang Mang's enactments against the broad vista of Former and Later Han policies. Pan Ku's account of Wang Mang's policies toward non-Chinese peoples within and outside the borders is equally biased and in need of redressing. Population growth in Han China was retarded by a number of factors. Agricultural techniques, hygiene, and medicine were primitive in all parts of the country.
  • 4 - The conduct of government and the issues at stake A.D. 57–167
    pp 291-316
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    This chapter assesses in what ways the practical operation of imperial government varied during the Later Han or how it was affected by the turmoil of factional strife. There are signs that during the second half of the first century AD and even earlier, the administration of the restored Han government had been oppressive and over-rigorous. Chang-ti's reign saw a distinct improvement in internal communications in the southern part of the empire. At the beginning of the Yung-ch'u period, a succession of droughts and floods had created distress in a number of areas. P'ang Ts'an's suggestion was opposed by Yii Hsu, who was serving as a gentleman of the palace on the staff of Li Hsiu, the supreme commander. In 126 Yu Hsu, who had just been appointed colonel, internal security, raised the cry that the government had been oppressive.
  • 5 - The fall of Han
    pp 317-376
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    The Han dynasty fell because the concept of dynastic change had made its way from the people to influential circles in Ts'ao Ts'ao's entourage. Weak emperors, or eunuchs, empresses, and the Yellow Turbans are blamed for the decline of Han, but until a thousand years after its fall efforts were still being made to restore the dynasty. For some, the creation of the Wei dynasty remained an unlawful act which tainted those emperors and their successors with illegitimacy. Liu Yuan had a detailed knowledge of the vicissitudes of Later Han history and the events accompanying its fall. In AD 338, a new Han dynasty was proclaimed in the same city that had served as Liu Pei's capital, in the southwestern corner of China. When the Chinese dynasties were driven to the southeast after 316 by non-Chinese invaders from the north, it was important for them to know that they were the true holders and inheritors of the mandate.
  • 6 - Han foreign relations
    pp 377-462
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    As Tsou Yen's theory increasingly gained currency, China's self-image of its geographical situation underwent a fundamental change. The Han Chinese world order not only existed as an idea, but, more important, also expressed itself in an institutional form. The Han world order was defined mainly in terms of the so-called five-zone or wu-fu theory. The five-zone theory played an important historical role in the development of foreign relations during the Han period. Central to the institutional expressions of the Han understanding of world order is the development of the famous tributary system. The first great challenge faced by Han statesmen in their shaping of a foreign policy emanated from the steppe-based empire to the north, that of the Hsiung-nu. On the financial and material side, Hu-han-yeh was rewarded for his participation in the tributary system. The financial part of the tributary system proved to be particularly attractive to the Hsiung-nu.
  • 7 - The structure and practice of government
    pp 463-490
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    The system of imperial government evolved during the Ch'in and Han periods was marked by the division of responsibilities, the duplication of some offices, and the organization of civil servants into hierarchies. The principal method of recruiting civil servants was by the recommendation of provincial officials or of senior ministers in the central government. The academy flourished in Later Han, admitting foreigners as well as Chinese. The importance of the secretariat was recognized as early as 46 BC in a telling remark made by the statesman Hsiao Wang-chih. The great majority of the inhabitants of the Ch'in and Han empires lived on the land in villages. Major decisions of state policy depended theoretically on the choice and authority of the emperor, or on that of the empress dowager The government of Ch'in and Han rested on principles enunciated by Shang Yang and Han Fei: that meritorious service must be encouraged by rewards, and infringement of the law must be punished.
  • 8 - The institutions of Later Han
    pp 491-519
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    The most important source for the study of Later Han institutions is the "Treatise on the hundred officials" in the Hou-Han shu or Later Han history. During Former Han, the office of the grand tutor had been filled only at the beginning and end of the dynasty. The Later Han dynasty maintained the system established in 8 BC by which the three highest regularly appointed career officials had the same rank. These were the so-called three excellencies: the grand minister of finance, the marshal of state and the grand minister of works. In AD 35, the founder of Later Han recognized the depopulation of Shuo-fang due to Hsiung-nu pressure, abolished the province, and added its territory to an adjoining unit. Both Han dynasties appointed staffs for the purpose of inspecting the performance of all officials in the commanderies and kingdoms.
  • 9 - Ch'in and Han law
    pp 520-544
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    Early Chinese law is the law of a fully developed archaic society. The ancient nobility of the predynastic period had long since disappeared; the marquises of the Ch'in-Han period had titles but no real fiefs, and consequently no power. The orders of honor which were conferred during the Ch'in and Han periods carried with them several privileges, including that of a reduction in punishment for crime; but the marquises, or nobles, enjoyed no special status other than that of holders of the highest orders. Early traditional China knew three types of punishment: the death penalty, the mutilating punishments, and hard labor. Redemption of punishment was common practice during both the Ch'in and the Han periods; the technical term, shu, is also used for slaves buying their freedom. The Han period saw the birth of several systems which were to continue throughout the imperial period: the entry into the civil service through recommendation, through examinations, and by title of birth.
  • 10 - The economic and social history of Former Han
    pp 545-607
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    This chapter discusses social and economic conditions in China under the Han dynasty when the unified, centralized state that had been achieved by the short-lived Ch'in empire was consolidated into a permanent form which lasted-allowing only for the short break caused by the Hsin dynasty of Wang Mang, for some four centuries. The succeeding Han empire inherited the results of the social, economic, and administrative changes which had taken place over the preceding centuries. The Han founder Liu Pang, Kao-ti, was of peasant origins, having been born and brought up in Chung-yang li of Feng-i in P'ei-hsien. From the point of view of agriculture, the country may be divided into two main regions, north and south China, separated by the eastward-flowing Huai River and in the west by the Ch'in-ling Mountains. During the Han dynasty, agriculture along the Yangtze was greatly inferior in productivity to that of north China.
  • 11 - The economic and social history of Later Han
    pp 608-648
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    This chapter describes and analyzes major structural changes in the economy and society, such as the reorganization of agricultural production, the emergence of new forms of local organization, and the continuing evolution of the composition of the upper class in Han period. In the Later Han period, commerce and industry were not subject to as much political interference as they had been in the first century BC and during Wang Mang's reign. The evidence for the continued flourishing of interregional trade through Later Han is largely circumstantial. Land transportation in north China was probably as good during Later Han as it was in any period before modern times. Scholars approaching Han society from a variety of standpoints have perceived a major change in the organization of rural communities. Social stratification underwent gradual change during the Later Han. The Hou-Han shu describes a few cases of extremely prolonged prominence or of extremely fast social rise.
  • 12 - The religious and intellectual background
    pp 649-725
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    Many studies of Chinese thought tend to concentrate on the growth of what are regarded as the three major schools of Confucianism, Legalism, and Taoism. These terms should be used with care, particularly for the four centuries of Ch'in and Han, when major developments were taking place. Some Ch'in and Han thinkers laid deep stress on the need to organize the life and work of mankind by means of sanctions and institutions, with the specific intention of enriching and strengthening the state. Chinese mythology alludes to the emergence and work of culture heroes. The peoples of the Ch'in and Han age inherited from their forbears the worship of a number of deities. The relationship between Buddhism and Taoist religion came to be complex. The importance of music had been recognized by the designation of one text as the Yueh-ching, now long lost.
  • 13 - The concept of sovereignty
    pp 726-746
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    One of the principal legacies that the Han dynasty bequeathed to its successors was the demonstration that imperial sovereignty was a respectable means of government which statesmen could serve with loyalty and with due deference to the ethical ideals on which they had been nurtured. The establishment of the Ch'in empire as the sole effective political authority that could expect to command obedience was an innovation in political practice. One of the earliest contributions to political theory to be written during the Han period is the Hsin-yii of Lu Chia. According to Lu Chia, Ch'in's failure had been due to its excessive application of punishments, its arrogance, and its extravagance. Wang Ch'ung could hardly be expected to agree that Heaven is willing to interfere in the affairs of man to the extent of specifically conferring authority to rule on a particular dynastic house.
  • 14 - The development of the Confucian schools
    pp 747-765
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    This chapter discusses the development of the Confucian schools in the early phases of China's history. The center of Lu seems to have remained predominantly within the early Confucian tradition, concentrating on the cultivation of the ancient rites and music and the interpretation of classical lore. The rulers' charisma is sanctioned by the mandate they receive from Heaven, t'ien-ming. The oldest strata of the l-ching constitute a ritualized form of divinatory practice which ensured an orderly contact with the forces that governed the destiny of man. The special contribution of the Confucian school lies in its reflection on the meaning of the ancient ritual order and the place of man in this order, especially man entrusted with power. Tsou Yen was one of many scholars who were counted as belonging to the class of fang-shih, experts on esoteric and magical arts.
  • 15 - Confucian, Legalist, and Taoist thought in Later Han
    pp 766-807
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    The history of Han Confucianism is a history of the development of the variegated cross-currents of Confucian, Legalist, and Taoist thought in Han times. The triumph of Han Confucianism, unlike the triumph of Ch'in Legalism, was accompanied not by an outright suppression of the other schools of thought, but by a subtle promotion of learning and education that coincided with the basic Confucian concerns. The Confucians in the middle of the first century BC probably had good reason to believe that their doctrine had prevailed. The failure of Wang Mang evoked a critical and discriminating spirit in the thinkers of Later Han. Yang Hsiung elevated spiritual intelligence, the power of cognition that implied human intelligence, to be coefficient with the great mystery. The concept of fate or mandate, advanced by Su Ching, Pan Piao, and Pan Ku, was greatly extended by Wang Ch'ung.
  • 16 - Philosophy and religion from Han to Sui
    pp 808-872
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    The collapse of the Han dynasty during the second and third centuries AD together with the political, social, and economic troubles that it brought about, resulted in a period of intellectual ferment unequaied in Chinese history except at the end of the Chou period, the end of the Ming dynasty and the revolutions of the twentieth century. Toward the end of the second century BC, Chuang-tzu was well known among a group of literary men gathered at his court by the king of Huai-nan. In the midst of the upheavals of the end of the Han dynasty, the long-concealed layer of popular Taoism rose to the surface in a series of rebellions that broke out in 184. In the midst of this Taoist explosion Buddhism was introduced to China. Real philosophical exegesis of the Chuang-tzu started only with Hsiang Hsiu and Kuo Hsiang, the greatest thinkers of the generation after Ho Yen and Wang Pi.
  • Postscript to Chapter 16
    pp 873-878
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    The survey of developments in Chinese philosophy and religion between Han and T'ang constitutes one of the last major publications of Paul Demieville in a career that stretched from the days of Chavannes and Pelliot to the more recent efflorescence in Paris of the study of Chinese religion. Recent Chinese writings on the Yellow Turbans have for the most part preferred to emphasize the social and political background to the uprising of 184. Certainly the past decade has shown how the Taoist canon can be used to amplify the history of Taoism in southern China, which in Demieville's narrative is subsumed under accounts of its three leading figures, Ko Hung, Lu Hsiu-ching, and T'ao Hung-ching. For although all three of these men were southerners, aristocrats, and scholars, a close reading of materials in the canon has shown that the position of Ko Hung in the history of Taoism is very different from that of Lu or T'ao.

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

David N. Keightley Where all the swords have gone? Reflections on the unification of China’, Early China, 2 (1976).

Derk Bodde . “Forensic medicine in pre-imperial China.Journal of the American Oriental Society, 102: 1 (1982), 1–15.

Arthur N. Waldron The problem of the great wall of China.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 43: 2 (1983), 643–663.

Lien-sheng Yang . “Historical notes on the Chinese world order.” In The Chinese world order: Traditional China's foreign relations, ed. John K. Fairbank . Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1968, pp. 20–33.

Derk Bodde , and Clarence Morris . Law in imperial China: Exemplified by 190 Ch'ing dynasty cases. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1967.

Michael Loewe . “Manuscripts found recently in China: A preliminary survey.T'oung Pao, 63: 2–3 (1977), 99–136. [abbreviation: “Manuscripts”]

Clarence Martin Wilbur . Slavery in China during the Former Han Dynasty. Chicago Field Museum of Natural History, Anthropological Series, Vol. XXXIV. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History, 1943. [abbreviation: Slavery in China]

Lien-sheng Yang . Money and credit in China: A short history. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1952. [abbreviation: Money and credit]

Patricia Buckley Ebrey . “Later Han stone inscriptions”. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 40 (1980), 325–53.

Howard Levy . “Yellow Turban religion and rebellion at the end of Han.Journal of the American Oriental Society, 76 (1956), 214–27.

Christopher Cullen . “Joseph Needham on Chinese astronomy.” Past and present, 87 (May 1980), 39–53.

P. van der Loon On the transmission of Kuan-tzu.” T'oung Pao, 41: 4–5 (1952)

Patricia Buckley Ebrey . The aristocratic families of early imperial China: A case study of the Po-ling Ts'ui family. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1978. [abbreviation: Aristocratic families]

Ch'i-yün Ch'en . Hsün Yüeh and the mind of Late Han China: A translation of the Shen-chien with introduction and annotations. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1980. [abbreviation: Hsün Yüeh and the mind of Late Han China]

Kenneth Ch'en . “Anti-Buddhist propaganda during the Nan-ch'ao.Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 15 (1952), 166–92.

Kenneth Ch'en . “On some factors responsible for the anti-Buddhist persecution under the Pei-ch'ao.Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 17 (1954), 261–73.

Paul Demiéville . “Récents travaux sur Touen-houang.” T'oung Pao, 56 (1970), 1–95.

Walter Liebenthal . “A biography of Chu Tao-sheng.Monumenta Nipponica, 11:3 (1955), 64-96.

Walter Liebenthal . “New light on the Mahāyāna-śraddhotpāda śāstra.T'oung Pao, 46 (1958), 155–216. [abbreviation: “New light”]

Arthur E. Link , and Tim Lee . “Sun Ch'o's Yü-tao lun: A clarification of the way.” Monumenta Serica, 25 (1966), 169–96.

Anna K. Seidel The image of the perfect ruler in early Taoist messianism: Lao-tzu and Li Hung.” History of Religions, 9: 2–3 (November 1969–February 1970), 216–47.

R. A. Stein Remarques sur les mouvements du taoisme politico-religieux au IIe siècle ap. J. C.T'oung Pao, 50 (1963). [abbreviation: “Remarques”]

James R. Ware The Wei shu and the Sm shu on Taoism.” Journal of the American Oriental Society, 53: 3 (1933), 215–50.

Nathan Sivin . “On the word ‘Taoist’ as a source of perplexity. With special reference to the relations of science and religion in traditional China.” History of Religions, 17: 3–4 (February–May 1978), 303–30.

E. Zürcher Buddhist influence on early Taoism: a survey of scriptural evidence.” T'oung Pao, 66: 1–3 (1980), 84–147.

Noel Barnard . “Did the swords exist?Early China, 4 (1978–79), 60–65.

Hans Bielenstein . The bureaucracy of Han times. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1980. [abbreviation: Bureaucracy]

Rhea C. Blue The argumentation of the Shih-huo chih chapters of the Han, Wei and Sui dynastic histories.Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 11 (1948), 1–118.

Chi-yun Chen (Ch'en Ch'i-yün). “A Confucian magnate's idea of political violence: Hsün Shuang's (128–190) interpretation of the Book of changes,” T'oung Pao, 54 (1968), 73–115.

Christopher Cullen . “Some further points on the shih.” Early China, 6 (1980–81), 31–46.

Paul Demiéville . “Notes d'archéologie chinoise.” Bulletin de I'École française d'Extrême Orient, 25 (1926), 449–67.

Paul Demiéville . “Présentation d'un poéte.” T'oung Pao, 56 (1970), 241–61.

Paul Demiéville . “La Yogācārabhūmi de Saṅgharaksa.” Bulletin de I'École française d'Extrême Orient, 44: 2 (1954), 339–436.

Patricia Buckley Ebrey . “Estate and family management in the Later Han as seen in the Monthly instructions for the four classes of people”. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 17 (1974). [abbreviation: “Estate and family management”]

Patricia Buckley Ebrey . “Patron-client relations in the Later Han”. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 103: 3 (July-September. 1983).

John King Fairbank , ed. The Chinese world order: Traditional China's foreign relations. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1968.

William T. Graham Jr.The lament for the south”: Yü Hsin's “Ai Chiang-nan fu”. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1980.

Donald J. Harper The Han cosmic board.” Early China, 4 (1978–79), 1–10.

Donald J. Harper The Han cosmic board: A response to Christopher Cullen.” Early China, 6 (1980–81), 47–56.

Donald Holzman . “Les sept sages de la forêt des bambous et la société de leur temps.” T'oung Pao, 44 (1956), 317–46.

Stephen James Hotaling . “The city walls of Han Ch'ang-an.” T'oung Pao, 64: 1–3 (1978).

Frank A. Kierman Jr., and John K. Fairbank , eds. Chinese ways in warfare. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1974.

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Walter Liebcnthal . “Chinese Buddhism during the 4th and 5 th centuries.” Monumenta Nipponica, 11: 1 (1955), 44–83.

Walter Liebenthal . “The immortality of the soul in Chinese thought.” Monumenta Nipponica, 8 (1952), 327–97.

Walter Liebenthal . “Shih Hui-yuan's Buddhism.” Journal of the American Oriental Society, 70 (1950), 243–59.

Walter Liebenthal . “The world conception of Chu Tao-sheng.” Monumenta Nipponica, 12: 1–2 (1956), 65–103; 12: 3–4 (1956), 73–100.

Arthur E. Link Shyh Daw-an's preface to Saṅgharaksa's Yogācārabhūmisutra and the problem of Buddho-Taoist terminology in early Chinese Buddhism.” Journal of the American Oriental Society, 77: 1 (1957).

Arthur E. Link The Taoist antecedents of Tao-an's Prajñā ontology.” History of Religions, 9: 2–3 (November 1969–February 1970), 181–215.

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Henri Maspero . “Rapport sommaire sur une mission archéologique au Tchö-kiang.” Bulletin de I'École française d'Extrême Orient, 14: 8 (1914), 1–75.

Richard B. Mather The controversy over conformity and naturalness during the Six Dynasties.” History of Religions, 9: 2–3 (November 1969–February 1970), 160–80.

Katrina C. D. McLeod , and Robin D. S. Yates . “Forms of Ch'in law: An annotated translation of the Feng-ehen shih.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 41: 1 (1981), 111–63.

Paul Michaud . “The Yellow Turbans.” Monumenta Serica, 17 (1958), 47–127.

Paul Pelliot . “Encore à propos du nom de ‘Chine.’T'oung Pao, 14 (1913), 427–28.

Paul Pelliot . “Meou-tseu ou Les doutes levés.T'oung Pao, 19 (1920), 255–453.

Paul Pelliot . “L'origine du nom de ‘Chine.’T'oung Pao, 13 (1912), 727–42.

Gilbert Rozman . “Soviet reinterpretations of Chinese social history.” Journal of Asian Studies, 34: 1 (November 1974).

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Nathan Sivin . “Cosmos and computation in early Chinese mathematical astronomy.” T'oung Pao, 55: 1–3 (1969).

William Trousdale . “Where all the swords have gone: Reflections on some questions raised by Professor Keightley.” Early China, 3 (Fall 1977).

Rudolf G. Wagner Lebensstil und Drogen in chinesischen Mittelalter.” T'oung Pao, 59 (1973).

Holmes H. Welch The Bellagio conference on Taoist studies.” History of Religions, 9: 2–3 (November 1969-February 1970), 107–36.

Arthur F. Wright Fo-t'u-teng: A biography.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 11 (1948), 321–71.

Ying-shih . “Life and immortality in the mind of Han China.Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 25 (1964–65).

Hsüan-chih Yang . A record of Buddhist monasteries in Loyang, trans. Yi-t'ung Wang . Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1984. See also W. J. F. Jenner


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