Bone, Bronze, and Bamboo

Unearthing Early China with Sarah Allan

Expected to ship: 2024-09-01

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Explores how the tremendous wealth of newly unearthed artifacts and manuscripts have changed our understanding of China's past.


Bone, Bronze, and Bamboo explores the tremendous wealth of newly unearthed artifacts and manuscripts that have been revolutionizing the study of early China. Leading scholars from China and abroad lend their expertise in archaeology, art history, paleography, intellectual history, and many other disciplines to show how these fascinating finds change our understanding of China's past. Organized in a chronological progression from the Shang to Han periods, and treating bone, bronze, and bamboo-strip artifacts in turn, the book treats a wide breadth of topics, from the status of owls in Shang religion to the Zhou court's economic interest in managing salt resources, and from the conceptual evolution of de 德 in Spring and Autumn covenants to the interplay between materiality and text in Han scribal primers. Bone, Bronze, and Bamboo exemplifies the exciting energy and sense of discovery inspired by these sources in recent years, while surveying the latest debates and developments shaping early China as a field.

Constance A. Cook is Professor of Chinese at Lehigh University, Christopher J. Foster is an independent scholar, and Susan Blader is Associate Professor Emerita of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures at Dartmouth College. Together they are also the coeditors of Myth and the Making of History: Narrating Early China with Sarah Allan and Metaphor and Meaning: Thinking through Early China with Sarah Allan, both published by SUNY Press.


"For someone with an appetite for information about early China, this volume is a delectable repast. True to its title, it offers an immense number of insights into Chinese written materials found on oracle bones, bronze inscriptions, and books composed of wooden and bamboo slats. There is no work I know of that is its equivalent." —Keith Knapp, The Citadel