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Changsha: More Ancient Bamboo Slips Discovered

More than ten thousands pieces of bamboo slips (used for writing on in ancient times) were unearthed recently in Zoumalou Street, Changsha City, Hunan Province. These bamboo documents were mainly used to record administration and judicatory conditions in Han Dynasty 2100 years ago, especially in the reign of Emperor Wudi.


Song Shaohua, director of the Changsha Museum of Bamboo Slips, declared the discovery on January 12. He said, “After primary verification, we believe these bamboo slips are mainly administration and judicatory documents, in fields like lawsuit systems, legislative reforms, statistics systems, traffic and basic conditions of Changsha Kingdom of the Han Dynasty.” He also said these documents are dated to 125 to 120 BC, the early period in the reign of Emperor Wudi, all for official use except one for private use.


The bamboo slips are highly valued by archaeologists and history experts since they provide uniformed correspondence recording government offices, organization and management in Han Dynasty. They also can be used as great supplementary to China’s history masterpiece Records of the Historian (Shiji) compiled by Sima Qian, and History of Han Dynasty (Hanshu).


Sources from Changsha Cultural Relics Bureau said that 140,000 pieces slips were first found in October 1996 near a construction site of Zoumalou. They were verified to be slips of annals for the Wu State (222-280 A.D.), one of the Three Kingdoms about 1,700 years ago.


(China.org.cn January 23, 2004)

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