Edward L Shaughnessy is Lorraine J and Herrlee G Creel Distinguished Service Professor of Early Chinese Studies, and Director of the Creel Center for Chinese Paleography, at the University of Chicago. He is the author and editor of many books on pre-imperial China, including Chinese Wisdom: Sayings from the Classical Masters; Before Confucius: Studies in the Creation of the Chinese Classics; Sources of Western Zhou History: Inscribed Bronze Vessels; and The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC (co-edited with Michael Loewe).

Paperback | Kindle | Nook

October 2016

220 pages 

216 x 134 mm

A Short History of Ancient China
Edward L Shaughnessy

£10.99 | $15.95

While digging a well in 1974, farmers in Shanxi made one of the world’s most astonishing discoveries. From their dusty grave emerged eight thousand life-size soldiers, each one with its own distinctive features and each one individually fashioned to guard the nearby tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, charismatic first emperor of China. The terracotta warriors, and the horses and chariots buried alongside them, are merely the most visible remnants of a civilization whose Neolithic beginnings in the Yellow River valley led to remarkable cultural advances. Edward L Shaughnessy, a leading authority on ancient China, here reveals the complexity of a society that produced brilliant thinkers like Laozi, Confucius and Mencius. Using as a model the subtle design of Sima Qian’s Records of the Historian, China’s first proper historical record, the author likewise explores geography, religion, warfare, trade, art and philosophy. With its full account of the entire first millennium of China’s past, from the earliest written evidence to the death of the first emperor in 210 BC, this bold new survey helps redefine a formative era in history.