Ancient Sichuan and the Unification of China

By Steven F. Sage

Subjects: Asian Studies
Series: SUNY series in Chinese Local Studies
Paperback : 9780791410387, 320 pages, August 1992
Hardcover : 9780791410370, 320 pages, August 1992

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Table of contents

A Note on Transliteration
1. Introduction
2. Shu
Archaic Shu in Chinese Myths
Pre-and Protohistoric Shu
The Name Shu
Shu in Oracle Bone Inscriptions
The Shu Enter History
Shu in Transition

3. Ba and the Ba-Shu Culture
Eastern Sichuan in Prehistory
Ba Origins
Ba Culture
Chu in Sichuan
The Ba-Shu Culture
Sichuan on the Eve of Qin Conquest

4. Enter Qin
The Balance of Power, Middle Fourth Century B. C
Qin, Loyal Vassal of Zhou
The Qin Metamorphosis
The Kingdom of Qin
Qin Tums South
The Qin Conquest of Sichuan

5. Sichuan's Century under Qin
Qin Neutralizes Chu
The Pacification of Shu
The Transformation of Shu
Qin Power in Ba
The Defeat of Chu
Sichuan in the Qin Empire

6. Han Sichuan
Sichuan and the Restoration of China
Ba and Shu Under the Han
The Sichuan Cornucopia
Sima Xiangru and the Limits of Han Sichuan

7. Conclusion
In What Year Did Qin Conquer Sichuan?


Recent archaeological finds in China have made possible a reconstruction of the ancient history of Sichuan, the country's most populous province. Excavated artifacts and new recovered texts now supplement traditional textual materials. Together, these data show how Sichuan matured from peripheral obscurity to attain central importance in the Chinese empire during the first millennium B. C.

Steven F. Sage is Professor in the Department of History, Middle Tennessee State University.


"What I like most about this manuscript is that it is enjoyable to read, and makes ancient history come alive. The author's style is lively and carries the reader through the history of ancient Sichuan and its role in the greater sphere of ancient Chinese history.

"This topic is definitely significant. A study of ancient Sichuan has been long overdue. The analysis is made more important by placing ancient Sichuanese history in the context of both the history of the northern central states, especially Qin, and the dominant northern state, Chu.

"It is also significant that large portions of the Hua Yang Guo Zhi have been rendered into English—although the work is known to have certain historical problems, it is an important text for people researching the ancient history of China's southwest. It has never been translated, and Sage's work helps to remedy this situation. " — Heather A. Peters, The University Museum, University of Pennsylvania