The Daybook Manuscripts (rishu 日書) of the Warring States, Qin and Han


Contents of the two-volume publication

I - Thematic volume

General introduction: Donald Harper and Marc Kalinowski

Part 1: Background

1. Rishu 日書 in archaeological context: Alain Thote

  • geographical distribution of sites; time periods; cultural affiliations.
  • tomb and graveyard; manuscripts from tombs and non-tomb manuscript discoveries.
  • rishu within the artifactual assemblage of their places of discovery; their relation to other written documents.
  • archaeological perspectives on rishu in non-tomb contexts (e.g. settlements, military and government outposts in northwest China).
  • association of rishu with social groups from perspective of archaeology.

2. Rishu as technical literature: Liu Lexian

  • definition of rishu as type of literature; material description and contents; miscellanies related to the rishu type.
  • relation of rishu to other excavated literature, mainly shushu 數術 literature.
  • rishu and traditional bibliographic classification of shushu literature.
  • relation of rishu to transmitted texts and historical sources; relation of rishu to the shushu knowledge of the specialists.

3. Rishu in the context of manuscript culture and popular culture studies: Donald Harper

  • methodology for research on rishu as manuscript miscellanies.
  • rishu, literacy, and social groups.
  • textualization of technical knowledge; common knowledge across social groups; function of rishu in everyday life.
  • rishu as evidence of popular culture and religion.
  • medieval continuity in manuscript culture.

Part 2: Detailed studies

4. Hemerology in the rishu, ideas and practices: Marc Kalinowski

  • activities affected by hemerology; rishu as mirrors of local culture and society in late Warring States, Qin, and Han.
  • prescriptive and predictive methods, and the motivations of the compilers and users of rishu.
  • technical features and the early development of correlative cosmology and calendrical astrology.6
  • rishu within the larger scope of competing religious ideologies at the end of the Warring States period.

5. Spirits in rishu: Yan Changgui

  • types of spirits in rishu; the context for their occurrence in rishu.
  • classified survey of passages involving spirits in rishu related to rituals, sacrifice, and popular practices.
  • relation of spirits in rishu to Chu divination/sacrifice records; and to Later Han archaeological material (talismans, tomb-quelling documents, etc.).

6. Calendars and calendar production, 4th-1st century BCE: Christopher Cullen

  • calendrical basis of rishu.
  • scientific background of calendar; relation to astrology and cosmography; calendrical specialists.
  • types of calendars; form and function of calendars.

7. Chu Silk Manuscripts from Zidanku: Li Ling 李零

  • discovery of Chu Silk Manuscripts, conservation, and study.
  • description of content.
  • relation of Chu Silk Manuscripts to rishu.

Part 3: Other perspectives

8. Rishu within the scope of Qin and Han elite culture and religion: Marianne Bujard.

9. Babylonian hemerologies and menologies: Alasdair Livingstone.

10. Medieval European almanacs: László Sándor Chardonnens.

11. Legacy of rishu in Chinese civilization: Richard Smith.

  • rishu viewed in the perspective of Ming and Qing society.
  • official and popular literature with medieval antecedents.
  • notion of "books of fate" applied to Ming and Qing society.

Appendix 1: List of the manuscripts belonging to the rishu category.
Appendix 2: Summaries of published rishu.
General index

II - Translation volume

General introduction: Donald Harper, Marc Kalinowski, Liu Lexian, Yan Changgui.

Part 1: The rishu from Kongjiapo 孔家坡 tomb 8 (ca. 142 BCE)

  1. Archaeological context, other documents in Kongjiapo tomb 8, dating, relation to other rishu, codicological features of the Kongjiapo rishu: Ethan Harkness
  2. Transcription and translation of the Kongjiapo
  3. rishu
  4. : Ethan Harkness; transcription by Liu Lexian and Yan Changgui.7
  5. Transcription and translation of the calendar corresponding to 142 BCE and the burial document (gaodi shu 告地書): Ethan Harkness; transcription by Liu Lexian and Yan Changgui

Part 2: Selections from other rishu and miscellanies related to the rishu type
*Various translators; transcriptions by Liu Lexian and Yan Changgui.

  1. A daybook of the condensed type: the hemerological miscellany from Yueshan 岳山.
  2. Calendar-based systems as the foundation of standard daybooks: the Jianchu 建除 system in JD.1, JD.2, FMTA.1, FMTB.1, SHDA.1, SHDA.3, SHDB.1, SHDB.3, and KJP.1.
  3. Methods related to correlative ideas: Wuxing 五行, Sui 歲, and Guxu 孤虛.
  4. 4. Methods with diagrams: the Genshan 艮山 method in SHDA.13 and KJP.23; the wooden tablet YWD9 from Yinwan 尹灣; the 28 stellar lodges diagram in ZJTA.
  5. New evidence: the Kanyu 堪輿 method in the Beida Han slips.
  6. Non-hemerological methods: prediction related to the location, shape, and inner arrangement of the house compound (SHDA.58).
  7. Magical and ritual practices: the Jie 詰section in SHDA.59; the Yubu related rituals travel-related rituals in (FMTA.11, FMTB, sl. 165, SHDA.70, SHDB.30, and Ejina 2002ESCSF1:2).

Part 3: The Chu Silk Manuscripts (Chu boshu 楚帛書) I and II (ca. 300 BCE)

  1. Codicological features of the Chu Silk Manuscripts I and II: Li Ling
  2. Transcription and translation of the Chu Silk Manuscripts I and II: Li Ling and Donald Harper (for the translation).

Part 4: Reference materials

Appendix 3: Thematic index to rishu manuscripts.