Nanchang City excavations reveal possible lost version of Confucius’ writngs

Archaeologists uncovering the Haihunhou Tombs in Nanchang City, the capital of east China’s Jiangxi Province, discovered over 5000 bamboo slips containing writings. Some of them have been identified as Qi version of the “Analects of Confucius” written between 5th and 3rd cent. BC.

Finds from Haihunhou Tombs (by
Finds from Haihunhou Tombs (by

The Analects are a collection of sayings and ideas attributed to Confucius and his contemporaries that were complied and written by the philosopher’s followers. The work was completed in three versions including an “ancient” version in 21 chapters, a state of Qi version in 22 chapters and a Lu version in 20 chapters. The historical records inform that the Qi version was lost during the Han and Wei periods, some 1800 years ago. The bamboo strips must now undergo restoration and preservation and archaeological deciphering and  interpretation.

The Haihunhou Tombs, dating back to the Western Han Dynasty, are thought to belong to the aristocrat Liu He, grandson of Emperor Wu, which covers roughly 40000 square meters and contains eight tombs and a burial site for chariot-pulling horses. So far, since start of excavations in 2011, more than 20000 items including gold coins, bamboo slips and bronze wares have been unearthed from the tomb.


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