Book cover

The Oxford Handbook of Early China

Edited by Elizabeth Childs-Johnson

The Oxford Handbook on Early China brings 30 scholars together to cover early China from the Neolithic through Warring States periods (ca 5000-500BCE). The study is chronological and incorporates a multidisciplinary approach, covering topics from archaeology, anthropology, art history, architecture, music, and metallurgy, to literature, religion, paleography, cosmology, religion, prehistory, and history.

Table of Contents

Section I: Introduction and Background by Elizabeth Childs-Johnson

Section II: Neolithic Farmers, Ceramics and Jade
1. The Neolithic revolution in the north, ca. 7/6000-2000 BCE Xinglongwa, Xinlei, Yangshao, Hongshan, and related cultures(Inequality/social complexity in Neolithic northern China), Andrew Womack, Yale University
2. The Neolithic revolution in the south, ca. 7/6000-2000BCE
Majiabang, Hemudu, Daxi, Songze cultures, Xiangming Fang, Zhejiang IA
3. The Neolithic jade revolution in Northeast China, Chung Tang, Mana H. Tang, and Yadi Wen, Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong and Liu Guoxiang, CASS, IA
4. The Jade Age revisited, ca. 3500-2000BCE, Elizabeth Childs-Johnson, Independent Scholar
5. The Liangzhu Culture and the Ancient City of Liangzhu, Bin Liu, Zhejiang IA
6. Longshan Culture Issues: Taosi and cosmology by He Nu, CASS, IA

Section III: First Dynasty of the Bronze Age: Xia Period
7. Introduction: definitions, themes and debate by Xu Hong, Professor / Chair, Department of Xia-Shang-Zhou Archaeology, CASS, IA
8. Settlements, Buildings, and Society of the Erlitou Culture by Xu Hong and Li Xiang Hong Xu and Xiang Li
9. The bronze casting revolution and the ritual vessel set Hong Xu and Yu Liu
10.The spread of Erlitou yazhang (VM3:4) to South China: origin and dispersal of early political states and order in early China, Chung Tang, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Fang Wang, Jinsha Museum, Chengdu

Section IV: The First Height of the Bronze Age- The Shang Period
11. Shang cultural and historical setting, Jonathan Smith, Christopher Newport University and Yuzhou Fan, Nanjing University
12. Early and Middle Shang by Guoding Song, Department of History, Beijing Normal University
13. Shang religion, belief, and art by Elizabeth Childs-Johnson
14. Bronze casting technology and metallurgy issues, Changping Zhang, Wuhan University
15. Late Shang: Anyang Shang City architecture and layout, E. Childs-Johnson
16. Late Shang: Fu Zi and M5 at Xiaotun, Dingyun Cao, CASS, Institute of History

Section V: The Second Height of the Bronze Age: The Western Zhou Period
17. Western Zhou cultural and historic setting, Maria Khayutina, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
18. Government and society, Nicholas Vogt, Indiana University
19. Rites and mortuary practice (inscriptions and texts), Connie Cook, Lehigh Univ.
20. Bronze working, stylistic and other innovations by Yan Sun, Gettysburg College
21. Bells and music in the Zhou by Scott Cook, University of Singapore

Section VI: The Third Height of the Bronze Age-Springs and Autumns Period
22. Historical background: terms and dating by Yuri Pines, Hebrew University
23. Historiography, thought, and intellectual development, Yuri Pines, Hebrew University of Jerusalem University
24. Cultures and styles, Xiaolong Wu, Hanover College

Section VII: The Iron Age- Warring States Period
25. The Warring States Period: Historical Background by Yuri Pines, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
26. The iron, agricultural, and military revolution, Wangcheong Lam, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
27. Political, military, and economic reforms: Institutional Reforms and Reformers by Yuri Pines, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
28. Political, military, and economic reforms: Change and Continuity at the intersection of received history and the material record: capitals, population registration, oaths, and tallies, Charles Sanft, University of Arizona
29. Political, military, and economic reforms: The army, wars, and military arts, Albert Galvany, University of Barcelona
30. Social, intellectual, and religious transformations: The shi, diplomats, and urban expansion, Andrew Meyer, Brooklyn College
31. Social, intellectual and religious transformations: Thinkers: Confucians and their critics; Mozi and Mencius; Laozi, Zhuangzi, and Han Feizi, Moss Roberts, New York University
32. Social, intellectual and religious transformations: Mozi, Vincent S. Leung, Hong Kong University
33. Social, intellectual and religious transformations: Mohism and jian ai, Carine Defoort, University of Leuven
34. Chu religion and art, John Major and Elizabeth Childs-Johnson
35. The artistic revolution, Jie Shi, Bryn Mawr College

Glossary of Chinese Characters


Elizabeth Childs-Johnson works on early Chinese art, archaeology, and paleography. Her major research interests include mapping a Jade Age and Shang Bronze Age in early China.


Cao Dingyun, Research Associate, CASS, Institute of History
Childs-Johnson, Elizabeth, Old Dominion University
Cook, Constance, Lehigh University
Cook, Scott, University of Singapore
Defoort, Carinne, University of Leuven
He, Nu, Institute of Archaeology, CASS
Fan, Yuzhou, Professor Emeritus, Nanjing University
Fang, Xiang-ming, Zhejiang Institute of Archaeology
Galvany Albert, University of Basque Country
Khayutina, Maria, Institute of Sinology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
Lam, Wangcheong , The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Leung, Vincent S. ,Lingnan University
Li, Xiang, University of Pittsburgh
Liu, Bin, Zhejiang Institute of Archaeology
Liu Guoxiang, Institute of Archaeology, CASS
Liu Xiao, Institute of Archaeology, CASS
Major, John, independent scholar
Meyer, Andrew Brooklyn College
Pines,Yuri, Professor, Hebrew University
Sanft, Charles, University of Arizona
Roberts, Moss, New York University
Smith,Jonathan, Christopher Newport University
Song Guoding, Beijing Normal University
Sun, Yan, Professor Dept. of Art History, Gettysburg College
Tang, Chung, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Tang, Mana, Washington University
Nicholas Vogt, Indiana University
Wang, Fang, Jinsha Site Museum
Wen, Yadi, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Womack, Andrew, McGill University
Wu Xiaolong, Hanover College
Xu, Hong, Institute of Archaeology, CASS
Zhang, Changping, Professor, Wuhan University

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