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Bamboo Slips of the Chu State
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2021.11.25 16:20:43

Period: Middle of the Warring State(ca. 340 BCE)
The width range 0.6-1.2 cm
Provenience: Unearthed in the north of the Geling village, Xincai county, Zhumadian, Henan, 1994

The bamboo slips, 1,571 pieces in total, were black gray in color when excavated, only appearing yellowish brown after cleaning. Most of the characters were written on the “bamboo yellow” i.e. the inner side, and a few on the other side. Most of the words are visible but in various forms, which have likely been written by different scribes. The contents fall into two categories, and the great majority of them are divination and prayers.  Others are inventories, that is, the gift list of the deceased. The divinations are primarily  inquiries about illness, whereby we can speculate on the illness of the tomb occupants before death.

The tomb occupant was identified to be the Lord of Pingye (present day Pingyu, Henan), named “Cheng”, whose rank and status are second only to the King of the Chu State.
With abundant contents and explicit chronological records associated with three kings of the Chu state, namely, Wen, Zhao, Hui, the present bamboo slips have been labeled to be another great discovery of its kind in the Central Plain after the unearthing of the Chu State bamboo slips from the Chu tombs at Changtaiguan of Xinyang, providing important references for studies on divination and the elites’ ideology of the Chu state during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States period.