history: China


In China by the middle of the Chou dynasty, histories of the royal house and of the various states (notably the Shu Ching, or Document of History, and the Annals of Lu by Confucius) were being compiled. Ssu-ma Ch'ien (d. c.87 b.c.) wrote the first general history of China; his work was the model for later dynastic histories. He was followed in the 1st cent. a.d. by Pan Ku, compiler of the History of the Former Han. Under the T'ang dynasty, imperial commissions completed or compiled eight standard histories to fill in the period from the Three Kingdoms. A pioneer collection of early inscriptions was made, and Ssu-ma Kuang wrote (1066–84) an integrated history of China from 403 b.c. to a.d. 959. The Manchu rulers were noted for fraudulent histories glorifying their past. Critical treatment of Chinese history was forwarded in the late 19th and early 20th cent. with the work of Kang Youwei, Wang Xian Qian, and Wang Guowei.

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