[Guodian Laozi zhujian][Guodian Laozi zhujian]

Which parts of the Laozi are represented?

A total of about 800 bamboo strips were found at the Guodian site, of which 71 contain portions of the Laozi. (The other texts from the tomb, mostly previously unknown Daoist and Confucian texts, are also contained in the published book.)

No book titles are indicated on the bamboo strips themselves, but the strips whose content overlaps the received Laozi text belong to three sets (designated [jia3]jia3, [yi3]yi3, and [bing3]bing3). In all, about 40% of the received Laozi text is represented; since the tomb had been previously robbed, there is no way of knowing how much more was originally present. Although the texts recognizably match the received Laozi, the order of chapters is entirely different, and parts of some chapters are separated from each other. The table below summarizes the contents of the three sets:

Summary of the Guodian Laozi
group (zu3)descriptionLaozi chapters represented (a, b, c = beginning, middle, end)
[jia3]jia3 39 strips, 32.3 cm long 19, 66, 46bc, 30ab, 15, 64c, 37, 63, 2, 32,25, 5c, 16a, 64a, 56, 57, 55, 44, 40, 9
[yi3]yi3 18 strips, 30.6 cm long 59, 48a, 20a, 13, 41, 52b, 45, 54
[bing3]bing3 14 strips, 26.5 cm long 17, 18, 35, 31bc, 64c

This page was prepared for the informal Guodian Laozi seminar in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Michigan.
This page was last updated Sat, Oct 10, 1998, at 1:08 PM.
If you have comments or corrections, please contact William Baxter (wbaxter@umich.edu).