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Instructions for authors

Guidelines for Preparation of Manuscripts
1. Length and Nature of Manuscripts
2. Scholarly Conventions
3. House Style and Text Conventions
4. Figures, Illustrations and Tables
5. Archaic and other Non-Unicode Characters
6. Final Manuscript Preparation
Sample Article
English Language Editing Services
Open Access Policies

Guidelines for Preparation of Manuscripts

Early China is a specialized journal devoted to the archaeology, art, history, language, literature, philosophy, religion, science and technology of China from the Neolithic through the Han. Published annually by the Society for the Study of Early China and Cambridge University Press, it includes articles based on original research, occasional translations of seminal articles written in Chinese, reviews of scholarship including both Western-language monographs and developments in China, Taiwan and Japan, and comprehensive bibliographies of works in Western languages. Contributors need not be members of the Society for the Study of Early China, but all submissions other than those expressly commissioned by the editorial board are subject to peer review. Please visit the Cambridge University Press Peer Review Hub for general information on how to peer review journal articles, a peer review FAQ, ethics in peer review, and more information.

Submissions for future issues should be submitted to in Word format. As manuscripts are reviewed anonymously, please remove the author’s name from the manuscript and any identifying references in the footnotes (such as “see my article xxx”). Names and institutional affiliations, including country, of all contributing authors are required in all final articles.
Books for review should be sent to the Book Review Editor, Professor Anne Kinney, 4185 Garth Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901, USA.

Contributors whose manuscripts have been accepted for publication are asked to comply to the extent possible with the following guidelines.

1. Length and Nature of Manuscripts

In principle, Early China places no restrictions on the length or nature of manuscripts, allowing authors maximum flexibility to present their work. However, we suggest the following general guidelines:

Original articles should be substantial enough to stand as independent scholarly statements (roughly 20–75 pages typescript, double spaced, right margin unjustified), yet not so lengthy as to constitute an independent monograph (no more than roughly 125 pages).

Reviews are of two types.

  1. Review articles that discuss major issues or trends, methodologies and theories, in the field, or review two or more books, should be substantial analyses (perhaps 15–50 pages) that make significant original contributions to ongoing debates.
  2. Reviews of individual books or monographs should be approximately 8–12 pages and also provide thorough consideration of the important arguments and issues raised in the works under review. Note that page numbers cited in reviews should be preceded by “p./pp.,” but in footnotes, the style (see below) is without “p./pp.”

Many articles in Early China involve arguments based on close readings of Chinese texts; authors should feel free to use Chinese characters (or Japanese kana) whenever appropriate (see, too, sections 2 and 3 below).

2. Scholarly Conventions

General scholarly conventions should follow those of the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS).


Chinese words and names should be rendered in pinyin romanization. Wade-Giles will only be considered in special circumstances and with the approval of the Editor. Pinyin is preferred and required for commissioned pieces. Usage should be consistent throughout the manuscript, though romanizations included in quotations of other work should not be changed. To distinguish between 陜西 and 山西, write Shaanxi, for the former and Shanxi for the latter. Tone marks are not allowed, though they may be used occasionally to distinguish two words that might be confused (e.g. Zhòu 纣,Zhōu 周).


Hyphenate as in the following examples:

Xi-Zhou; Sei-Shū; Dong-Han; Xin-Mang; BUT Liang Zhou.


In the text, Chinese characters should generally be supplied only after the first mention of a word or name and with a space preceding them, e.g. Zhang Zhan 張, thereafter Zhang Zhan. In principle, “traditional” (i.e., fanti) forms should be used, even when referring to publications that use “simplified” (i.e., jianti) characters. Note that missing characters in Chinese text are normally indicated by blank squares, e.g. □夷□是. In indented block quotations with both Chinese text and full English translation, the Chinese text should be set above the English translation, followed by a linespace.

Note: Archaic graphs should be provided in a separate file, but copies of each graph must be pasted into their correct positions within the manuscript file, in order for the copy editor to code each one for placement during typesetting. (See Section 5 below for archaic and other non-unicode characters.)

Japanese names

Japanese names with long vowels should read:

Ōgami, not Oogami; kenkyū, not kenkyû.

3. House Style and Text Conventions

In matters of house style, the Journal generally follows CMS rules. Authors are also encouraged to consult the most recent issues of Early China for further guidance.

Headings; subheadings: headings and subheadings should not be numbered except when doing so may be of help to the reader; this is left to the author’s discretion. The hierarchy of heading styles is shown below:

  • h1 [article title]: centered roman caps.
  • h2 [first-level subheading]: centered bold, upper and lowercase, e.g. Cao Mie’s Central Theme: The Peril and Promise of Action
  • h3 [second-level subheading]: centered roman, upper and lowercase, e.g. Promoting the Efficacy of Action
  • h4 [third-level subheading]: left-aligned roman all caps, e.g. PROPER ACTION IN MILITARY CONTEXT

Capitalization: capitalization, when required, should be applied consistently within the article, e.g. Emperor Wen, First Emperor of Qin, the previous emperor, Warring States, regional states, the Han dynasty, westernize, Western Europe, Western Zhuo period, , the Heavenly Way, neo-Marxism, post-modernism, Daoism.

Abbreviations: should be followed by a full point except for acronyms, e.g. chap. (in footnotes, but “chapter” in text), c. (not circa), cf., Dr., ed./eds. (editor/s and edition), et al., ff., fo./fos., ibid., i.e., n. (note), no./nos. (number/s), p./pp. (page numbers in reviews/review articles only), rept., rev., ser., trans., vol./vols., M.A., Ph.D.

Note: r., d., b. (reigned, died, born), 2nd ser., 3rd ser., etc.

The use of op. cit., passim, and abbreviations of titles (e.g., SJZY for Shi ji zhengyi), except, e.g., in tables, should be avoided in general. Avoid use of infra and supra. Use ibid. to refer only to the immediately preceding reference or part of it.

The use of “i.e.” or “that is” and “e.g.” or “for example” is equally acceptable, but the style used must be consistent within the article.

Acronyms, should they occur, should be spelled out at first occurrence.

Author’s initials in text and in footnotes should be spaced: “A. C. Graham.” Spacing of initials in publishers’ names, e.g. “M.E. Sharpe,” remains unchanged.

In footnotes use the standard abbreviations for months: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

Italics: Foreign words and phrases should be italicized, except when they are naturalized, i.e. have become normalized in English usage, thus, e.g. contra, per se, et al.

Quotations: quotations of more than approximately sixty words or more are set off as block quotations, although it be may sometimes be appropriate to set off shorter ones, depending on their function in the article. Quotations of two or more lines of poetry are usually set off. Use ellipses points (without parentheses) to mark omitted material within the block quotation but not to begin or end the quotation. Do not enclose block quotations within quotation marks. Also note use of square brackets in text and footnotes for editorial interpolation within quoted matter.

Solidus/slash: an equal space either side of a solidus should only be used to mark the end of a line of poetry that is run into the text, e.g. “The tiny swallow, weak and old, sadly crying, it enters the seas / Grieving, it thinks not of its plumage, in disarray are its feathers.”

Spelling and punctuation: Early China follows US spelling and punctuation styles for all text other than quoted material, which should retain its original spelling and punctuation style. Use the serial comma: “red, white, and blue.” Use the possessive “’s” following a name ending in -s (e.g. Ames’s), but note Confucius’, Sophocles’, etc. Square brackets should be used only for editorial interpolation within quoted matter. Unspaced em rules [—] should be used for dashes indicating sudden breaks.

English-font punctuation should be used when Chinese characters and English text occur together in a paragraph. In set-off block quotations, where the Chinese text is indented, Chinese punctuation only is normally used, e.g.:

“絕智棄辯,民利百倍.絕巧棄利, 盜賊亡有.絕僞棄詐,民復孝慈” 三

言以為辨不足,或命之,或呼屬: “視素保檏,少私寡欲”

Numbers and Dates

Month, day, year format: “accessed on May 31, 2005.”

Spell out people’s ages and numbers under one hundred and approximations, e.g. the age of twenty-one, about one thousand, some eighty years ago.

Spell out centuries in text, e.g. third century B.C.E. (not 3rd century B.C.E), around the sixth to fifth centuries B.C.E. Note that Early China would prefer to use the form B.C.E./C.E. (Before the Common Era/Common Era, paralleling the Chinese gongyuan qian/gongyuan) rather than b.c./a.d. Indicate in a footnote if dates are B.C.E. or C.E. Note that if space is limited (e.g. in table text or figure captions), the ordinal style may be used for numbering centuries.

Use numbers for dates, percentages, and where numbers are mentioned several times within a few lines of text or in groups (but spell out “percent,” except in tables), e.g. 5 percent, mid-’70s, tomb number 84. Use numbers for measurements and chapter numbers, e.g. 24.8 cm, chapter 3, and for currencies. The use of arabic numbering in journal citations and for chapter and volume numbers is preferred.

When inclusive dates occur in titles, it is usual to repeat all the digits: An English Mission to Muscovy, 1589–1591.

Dates of reigns: When indicating the length of a reign of a Chinese ruler, give the name in romanization first, followed by the Chinese graphs, followed by the full dates in brackets:

Huiwen of Qin 秦惠文王 (r. 337–311 B.C.E.)

Inclusive numbers: are separated by an en dash and follow CMS style (examples shown are inclusive page numbers): 3–10; 71–72; 100–104; 600–613; 1100–1123; 107–8; 505–17; 11564–68; 13792–803; 1496–1504.

Note: the following style for number spans other than inclusive page numbers: the war of 1914–18; the years 1597–1601; the winter of 1900–1901; fiscal year 1975–76 (or 1975/76); 300–325 C.E.; 325–27 C.E., but use all numbers in B.C.E. spans, e.g. 327–325 B.C.E., and B.C.E.– C.E. spans, e.g. 206 B.C.E.–220 C.E.

Also note, e.g., from 1785 to 1789, not from 1785–89, likewise between 1785 and 1789, not between 1785–89.


Acknowledgments in Early China take the form of an unnumbered footnote, and will be set in the article as the second paragraph of an asterisked opening footnote that contains the article author information.

Cite all references to page numbers without p. or pp. (but see “Reviews,” above, for exception).

Use et al. for three or more authors, but spell out all names at first mention.

Spell out “dissertation,” in full.

Use square brackets for parentheses within parentheses: e.g. “(Beijing, Zhonghua, [1965] 1995)”.

In general, footnote reference markers are placed outside punctuation, but note, e.g., “敢不繩繩29焉中心事其主”

when referring to previous notes in the article, the form should be, e.g. “See n. 87 above.”

“see,” “see also,” etc. should not be followed by a colon.

capitalization in foreign language titles follows the conventions of the language of the work cited.

characters need not be supplied for Chinese and Japanese authors when the author is an organization or institution.

when giving the names of Chinese and Japanese publishing houses and presses, words such as chuban she, yinshu guan, and shuppansha should be omitted.

omit initial “the”, and “Inc.”, “Ltd”, “Co.”, “Publishing Co.”, etc., from names of publishers.

ampersands in publishers’ names (e.g. Routledge & Kegan Paul) may be used, but use must be consistent within the article.

where two or more publisher locations are given, give the first only, e.g. “Berlin: Springer, 1975,” rather than “Berlin, Heidelberg, and New York: Springer, 1975.”

anglicize publisher location names, e.g. The Hague; (’s Gravenhage); Cologne (Köln); Vienna (Wien).

note use of CA, MA, NJ, NY, etc. style in citations for US publisher locations.

Footnote citation examples

Note: multiple references to a work should give only the author’s surname (or full name, without characters, in the case of Chinese authors with common surnames), title (shortened in the case of very long titles), and page number (without “p.”), e.g.:

Sarah Allan and Crispin Williams, eds., The Guodian Laozi: Proceedings of the International Conference, Dartmouth College, May 1998 (Berkeley: The Society for the Study of Early China and the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 2000), 118–20.

[second and subsequent citation forms: Allan and Williams, Guodian Laozi, 182; Li Xueqin, “The Confucian Texts from Guodian Tomb Number One: Their Date and Significance,” in Guodian Laozi, ed. Allan and Williams, 110.]

Other citation examples:

Roger T. Ames, The Art of Rulership: A Study in Ancient Chinese Political Thought (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1983), 77.

Wiebke Denecke, The Dynamics of Masters Literature: Early Chinese Thought from Confucius to Han Feizi (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2010), 51–72.

Marcel Granet, Danses et légends de la Chine Ancienne, corrected and annotated by Rémi Mathieu, 3rd ed. (Paris, 1926, rpts. 1956, 1994).

Li Xueqin, Eastern Zhou and Qin Civilizations, trans. K. C. Chang (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1985), 40–52.

Paul R. Goldin, “Han Law and the Regulation of Interpersonal Relations: ‘The Confucianization of the Law’ Revisited,” Asia Major (3rd. ser.) 25.1 (2011), 14.

Tsang Chi-hung, “A Study of Alliance Pacts Unearthed at Houma” Houma mengshu yanjiu 侯馬盟書研究, Ph.D. dissertation (University of Hong Kong, 1993), 67–68.

John Dewey, The Early Works of John Dewey, 18821898, ed. Jo Ann Boydston, 2 vols. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University, 1969–72), vol. 1, 162.

Huang Ruxuan 黃儒宣, “Patterns of the Almanacs (Ri-shu)” 日書圖像研究 (Ph.D. dissertation, adviser Zhou Fengwu 周鳳五, National Taiwan University, 2010).

See Shima Kunio 島邦男, Inkyo bokuji sōrui 殷墟卜辭綜類, 2nd rev. ed. (Tokyo: Kyūko, 1971), 556.

Mark E. Lewis, “The Mythology of Early China,” in Early Chinese Religion, Vol. 1, ed. J. Lagerwey and M. Kalinowski (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 543–94.

Paul J. Lin, A Translation of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and Wang Pi’s Commentary, Michigan Papers in Chinese Studies no. 30 (Ann Arbor, 1977), 45.

Jao Tsung-i, “The Su Tan Fragment of the Tao-te-ching (A.D. 270),” Journal of Oriental Studies 2 (1955), 1–28.

Lü Shuxiang 呂叔湘, Zhongguo wenfa yaolüe 中國文法要略 (Shanghai: Shangwu, 1956), 287.

Ōgami Masami 大 上 正 美, “Shō Kairon” 鍾 會 論, Aoyama gakuin daigaku bungakubu kiyō 青 山 學 院 大 學 文 學 部 紀 要 30 (1988), 17–29.

For double issues of journals:

See Kenneth E. Brashier, “The Spirit Lord of Baishi Mountain: Feeding the Deities or Heeding the yinyang,” Early China 26–27 (2001–2), 159–231.

Schuyler Cammann, “The ‘TLV’ Pattern on Cosmic Mirrors of the Han Dynasty,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 68.3–4 (1948), 159–67.

For journals that are issued monthly or bi-monthly, the form of the citation should be as follows:

“He zun mingwen chushi” 何尊銘文初釋, Wenwu 1976.1, 64–65, 93.

Examples of journals in early China studies that should be cited in this way are as follows:

Jiang Han kaogu

Kongzi yanjiu


Kaogu xuebao

Kaogu yu wenwu

Lishi yanjiu

Sichuan wenwu




Zhongguo lishi bowuguan guankan

Zhongyuan wenwu

Electronic resources should be cited as follows:

“Readers unfamiliar with the Warring States Project website may wish to consult the following urls for the Brooks’ views on the Zuo zhuan ( and the Chun qiu (” For single citations of an electronic site, provide the date on which the site was accessed: “accessed on May 31, 2005.”

Citations of primary sources

Primary sources should be spelled in the following way.

Chun qiu

Chu ci

Daode jing

Du duan



Guo yu


Han shu

Han Feizi


Hou Han shu


Huangdi neijing

Huangdi sijing

Lienü zhuan

Lun heng

Lun yu

Lüshi chunqiu

Mao shi


Mu tianzi zhuan

Sanguo zhi

Shanhai jing zhusu

Shang shu

Shang shu dazhuan

Shangjun shu

Shi ji

Shi jing


Shu jing

Shuijing zhu

Shuo wen

Shuowen jiezi


Xunzi jijie

Yantie lun

Yanzi chunqiu

Yi jing

Yin Wenzi

Zhanguo ce

Zhou Yi

Zhushu jinian

Zuo zhuan

References to modern editions should indicate the name of the text, followed by a comma, followed by the chapter (juan) number, followed by a period, followed by the page number:

Shi ji, 28.1401

Han shu 漢書 (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1962), 53.2410

Xunzi jijie 荀子集解, ed. Wang Xianqian 王先謙 (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1988), 349

When citing a section or chapter of a primary text, the title of the text should appear first in italics, followed by the pinyin romanization of the section or chapter title in round brackets and in roman script, followed by the Chinese graphs:

Ying Shao 應劭, Fengsu tongyi jiaoshi 風俗通義校釋, ed. Wu Shuping 吳樹平 (Tianjin: Tianjin renmin, 1980), 366 (“Shan ze: Wu yue” 山澤: 五嶽).

When citing the juan and sub-section number of a text such as the Lüshi chunqiu or Zhanguo ce in a modern edition, together with the western page number, put the page number immediately after the title of the text, followed by the chapter title, followed by the juan and section number enclosed in round brackets, as in the following example:

Lüshi chunqiu, 705 (“Jin ting” 謹聼 13.5).

References to notes in multiple volume modern editions that preserve the juan numbers should be presented in the following example where the “2” represents the juan number, “96” the page number, the “1,” the note number, and (“Dang ran” 當染) is the title of the section. It is not necessary to include the volume (or ce) number of the modern edition:

Chen Qiyou 陳奇猷, Lüshi chunqiu jiaoshi 呂氏春秋校釋 (Shanghai: Xuelin, 1990), 2.96n1 (“Dang ran” 當染)

References to page numbers in traditionally paginated texts should read as follows:

Li shi, 2.4b

Guanzi 管子 (Sibu beiyao 四部備要 ed.), 15.6a–b

Yi li zhushu 儀禮注疏 (Shisan jing zhushu 十三經注疏 ed., 1815; rpt. Taipei: Yiwen, 1997), 28.337–34.407

When citing from one of the concordances of the classical Chinese texts, use the following format:

Kongzi jiayu 孔子家語, “Ben xing” 本性 (Kongzi jiayu zhuzi suoyin 孔子家語逐字索引, Institute for Chinese Studies Concordance [Hong Kong: Commercial Press, 1992], 39.1/72/22–23)

4. Figures, Illustrations and Tables

Upon final acceptance, all figures and illustrations should be submitted as separate, clearly identified graphic files (TIFF and EPS files are preferred). A descriptive heading, with a citation of the source and text placement advice, should be inserted inside the main text of the article after the paragraph in which the item is first referenced; the item will normally be typeset at the top of the next page. For archaic and non-Unicode characters, please insert the image in-line with the text as well as submitting separately as graphic files (see section V). Illustrations must be at a resolution of 300 dpi or more (for character images that will be inserted as in-line with text, 1200 dpi is strongly preferred).

Normally, color illustrations will appear as such in the online publication, but be converted to grayscale in the printed version, so authors should ensure that the conversion of their color images does not reduce their illustrative value. Color illustrations can also be printed in the paper version if requested, but will incur extra cost, which is borne by the author.

Authors should also ensure that they write for permission to reproduce copyrighted material in both the print and online editions of the journal.

Please consult the Editor for further information when submitting art.

V. Archaic and other Non-Unicode Characters

All graphs that are available in Unicode should be entered as characters. N.b., with extended fonts there are now more than 70,000 Unihan characters. To check, see, e.g.

As noted in Section 4 above, both images of archaic characters and modern-style transcriptions not available in Unicode should be scanned at 1200 dpi, ideally at larger than final size. They may be scanned from a clear, printed version or hand-drawn by a good calligrapher. Both character types should be sent as separate image files in the final submission, as well as inserted in-line in the text in their final placement. For efficiency it is recommended, but not required, that romanization be used after the first placement of the in-line character images.

VI. Final Manuscript Preparation

After your submission has been accepted for publication, the original manuscript will be returned to you with suggested editorial revisions. At this stage it is expected that the author will incorporate necessary changes into a final file (which should be supplied in a format compatible with a standard American word processing system). We also ask authors to adhere to the following two formats in these files:

  • Delete all idiosyncratic word-processing functions, such as cross-referencing commands, etc., but retaining universal functions such as italics (if you have used underlines these should be converted), centering, etc. Do not italicize Chinese or Japanese graphs. Notes should be supplied as footnotes.
  • Where spaces have been left for the insertion of images of archaic graphs, please substitute one space followed by the two letters “xx” (in the main text) or “**” (in the notes) followed either by a space or punctuation. Whether there is only one character or a string of characters, you should supply only one xx or **.

In order to facilitate production of the journal we also ask that you try to conform to the following word-processing standards:

  • With IBM compatible programs, Word in the Windows operating system is preferred. Use New Times Roman font, 12 point, for English.
  • Use PMingLiu font for Chinese and MS Mincho for Japanese. Unfortunately, using all the CJK capabilities at once in MAC MS Word adds some complications (see Yale’s “Chinese Mac” site for details), but in theory, if the author can type what she/he wants in MAC Word under OS X, we should be able to use the file. If you use TwinBridge or other Chinese character software, enter characters using Unicode fonts but be aware that this and other programs trying to bridge the change into Unicode create a difficulty: they continue the pre-Unicode option of adding a space-bar space (“ASCII space”) after every CJK character. These must be removed from Unicode files, where no spaces are wanted inside a CJK string.
  • Avoid Wordperfect and NISUS if at all possible when sending files electronically, as their graphs are often unreadable by the word processing systems used by the Editor.
  • The main body of the text and the footnotes should be double-spaced and neither the text nor the footnotes should be justified.

In the event of special requirements (e.g., specialized fonts or diacritics, illustrations, etc.), please consult the Editor at the time that you submit the draft to be copy edited. Other questions should also be addressed to the Editor at this time.

At the same time as you submit your revised draft, please send:

  • an Abstract in English and Chinese in another file
  • shortened version of running head (if title is very long)
  1. a list of 3–5 Keywords in English and Chinese
  2. your name and contact information (address + name in Chinese graphs) in a third file

For a sample article, please click here.

Language Editing Services

Contributions written in English are welcomed from all countries. Authors, particularly those whose first language is not English, may wish to have their English-language manuscripts checked by a native speaker before submission. This is optional, but may help to ensure that the academic content of the paper is fully understood by the editor and any reviewers. Cambridge offers a service which authors can learn about here. Please note that the use of any of these services is voluntary, and at the author's own expense. Use of these services does not guarantee that the manuscript will be accepted for publication, nor does it restrict the author to submitting to a Cambridge published journal.

Open Access Policies

Open Access

Early China is what is known as a "hybrid" journal, meaning that although the journal itself is available via subscription, individual articles can be published under an Open Access model. Authors who would like to publish their article via Open Access should select the appropriate author publishing agreement. Should your article be accepted, an Article Processing Charge (APC) will be collected during the production phase. For further information about Open Access at Cambridge University Press, please visit our Open Access page.

Publication Ethics

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