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Possible lost version of 'Analects of Confucius' discovered

Archaeologists excavating the 2,000-year-old Haihunhou Tombs in Nanchang City, the capital of east China's Jiangxi Province, have made another amazing discovery.

Possible lost version of 'Analects of Confucius' discovered
An undated photo shows the possible Qi version of "Analects of Confucius" unearthed from the Haihunhou Tombs
in Nanchang City, the capital of east China's Jiangxi Province [Credit: CTV News]
Among over 5,000 bamboo slips unearthed from the tomb, senior archaeologists regarded the Qi version of "Analects of Confucius" as the most important finding.

The Analects is a collection of Chinese philosopher Confucius and his contemporaries' sayings and ideas, which are supposed to be compiled and written by Confucius' followers. Written during the Warring States period (475 BC–221 BC), it has three versions, including an "ancient" version in 21 chapters, a state of Qi version in 22 chapters and a Lu version in 20 chapters.

According to historical records, the Qi version of the Analects was lost during the Han and Wei periods, some 1,800 years ago.

If the finding from the tomb is confirmed as the Chapter Divisions contained in the Qi version, it will be a milestone discovery for the academia both at home and abroad.

However, Xin Lixiang, leader of the Haihunhou Tombs' archaeological team, pointed out that the conclusion can only be fully reached after interpreting the bamboo slip in simplified version along with further research works.

He explained, after the stripping procedure, the team is now solidifying the slip, which is expected to be complete by the end of this year. As the slip shows signs of rotting, experts should identify the ambiguous characters on it with the help of infrared scanning to accomplish the interpretation.

Dating back to the Western Han Dynasty, the Haihunhou Tombs are thought to belong to the aristocrat Liu He, grandson of Emperor Wu, which covers roughly 40,000 square meters and contains eight tombs and a burial site for chariot-pulling horses.

More than 20,000 items including gold coins, bamboo slips and bronze wares have been unearthed from the tomb of since the excavation began in 2011.

Source: People's Daily Online [September 09, 2016]

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