中国古书 示范课程 Ancient Chinese Books
中国古书 示范课程 Ancient Chinese Books
What ways were used to keep a record of events before books came into existence?
Western bibliophiles know of the clay tablets of the Sumerians, the papyrus scrolls of the Egyptians, and the parchment texts of the Greeks. In the Shang Dynasty, ancient Chinese engraved inscriptions on tortoise shells or animal bones. Some people say that the Oracle Bone Script (甲骨文 ) was the earliest“book”in China. Later, people tended to engrave inscriptions on bronze ware or stones. So some say that the Bronze and Stone Scripts are“books.”
When we use the word“book”today, we mean a bound text. To a certain degree, the oracle bone, bronze and stone scripts function as“books,”but most of these are not bound together. In addition, they are not used for the purpose of disseminating knowledge. They are only the record of some characters.
Notes：1）bibliophile藏书家； 2）Sumerian苏美尔人； 3）papyrus纸莎草纸； 4）parchment羊皮纸； 5）bind装订
Was jiance the earliest books of China?
Jiance means“texts written on bamboo or wooden slips.”The ancients at that time wrote characters on bamboo or wooden slips with Chinese brushes. Then, in accordance with their meaning, they bound all the slips together with a thick cord of hemp, silk or cowhide. When did bamboo or wooden slips start to be used? They might have been used during the Shang and Zhou dynasties. From the Spring and Autumn Period to the Han Dynasty, bamboo and wood remained as the main writing materials. In 1975, more than a thousand bamboo slips were unearthed in Yunmeng County (云梦县 ), Hubei Province. These date back to the Qin Dynasty and constitute a considerable amount of Qin’s law documents. In the 1980s, some 50,000 wooden slips from the Han Dynasty were unearthed at sites in Tianshui (天水 ), Gansu Province. These provide firsthand material that enables us to know the social order in detail during that period.
The slips from the Qin and Han dynasties differ in length. The laws and classic scriptures were written on longer slips, while biographies and essays were written on short ones. Chinese characters were written vertically from top to bottom on one face of each slip. During the Han Dynasty, there were usually 60 characters written on one slip. However, some slips had only one or two characters, and some others just over ten.
The bound slips could be rolled up into a cylindrical shape. Usually a bamboo or wooden slip book came in bundles. People in ancient China read bound slips from right to left, and they rolled up them from left to right.
Notes：1）slip片条； 2）cord细绳； 3）hemp麻类植物； 4）co-whide牛皮革； 5）biography传记； 6）essay论说文； 7）vertically垂直地； 8） cylindrical圆柱的； 9）bundle捆
What is boshu?
The ancient Chinese used brushes to write characters or copy books on silk fabrics. This is called boshu which means“an ancient book copied on silk fabrics.”From the Spring and Autumn Period, silk had also been used as a writing material. In 1973, archeologists unearthed more than 20 books copied on silk fabrics from Tomb No.3 at Mawangdui (马王堆 ) in Changsha (长沙 ), Hunan Province. The total amount of characters is some 120,000. The books include Book of Changes (《易经》 ), Way and Virtue (《道德经》 ) and Strategies of the Warring States (《战国册》 ). Most strikingly, these books differ greatly from the copies of these books used today.
Silk fabric is a better material for character writing, compared with bamboo or wooden slips. In addition, books copied on silk fabrics are soft, light, and portable. However, silk remained expensive at that time because the silk output was quite low. So only imperial courts and rich families used it, and only to a limited extent.
Notes：1）fabric织物； 2）strikingly显著地； 3）similar相像的； 4） portable便于携带的； 5）expensive昂贵的； 6）output出产
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