UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

A study of the warring states graphs : structural discrepancies between the Chu area and the Qin state Nagakura, Yukiko


Chinese graphical forms of the Warring States period have traditionally been characterized as varying by region. This thesis investigates discrepancies observable in the scripts of the Warring States Chu and Qin regions, as extant in inscriptions and epigraphy on a variety of media. With the postulate that the Warring States graphical forms were part of a continuous evolution of guwen from the Shang period to the Script Reform that followed the Qin Unification, these discrepancies are treated as the accumulations of a common diachronic process. To define this process, the two-step formation of semanto-phonetic graphs is adopted as jiajie augmented with semantic determiners, and evolutionary modifications tending to induce graphical divergence are classified for simple and multi-element graphs, based on the work of Boodberg, Boltz, Chen, Qiu, He, Gao and others. A table of graphs is constructed to allow for diachronic evaluation of the process of formation and evolutionary modification, and for synchronic comparison of Chu and Qin forms, using the Baoshan bamboo slips as the primary source, supplemented with material from the Shuihudi bamboo slips, the antecedent Shang oracle bones and Western Zhou bronzes, and other sources. Discrepancies observable in simple and multi-element graphs are discussed in detail, placed in the appropriate category of formation or evolutionary modification, and, if possible, assigned the period of genesis (Shang, Western Zhou, or Warring States). The 12,472 total Baoshan bamboo-slip graphs are placed into the 1,473 entries in this table. 154 cases of discrepancies are discussed, of which the genesis of 33 can be dated, with 7 originating in the Warring States period and 26 in the Shang and Western Zhou periods. A high degree o f homogeneity in the Chu and Qin Warring States script is thus confirmed. Notwithstanding that the scarcity of source material precludes definite conclusions, it is suggested as a possibility for further study that graphical discrepancies were not at all a feature of the Warring States period exclusively, but should be traced to earlier times as accumulating throughout entire period when guwen were used.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.

Usage Statistics