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Bamboo Slips

Bamboo and wooden slips were one of the main media for literacy in early China. The long, narrow strips of wood or bamboo typically carry a single column of brush-written text each, with space for several dozen Chinese characters. For longer texts, many slips would be bound together in sequence with thread. Each strip of wood or bamboo is said to be as long as a chopstick and as wide as two. The earliest surviving examples of wood or bamboo slips date from the 5th century B.C. during the Warring States period.

However, references in earlier texts surviving on other media make it clear that some precursors of these Warring States period bamboo slips were in use as early as the late Shang period (from about 1250 BC).

Boasting the world's largest, most comprehensive and systematical collections of  bamboo slips,, Changsha deserves the name of "Hometown of Bamboo Slips in China".

Located in central China's Hunan province, Liye town gained renown overnight due to marvelous discoveries which include historic sites such as the ancient city moat, city wall, workshops and wells. The 36,000 bamboo slips inscribed with scripts from the Qin Dynasty (221BC-207BC) unearthed in the city are of great significance for the study of the history of that period. The province’s unearthed bamboo slips are mostly exhibited in the Changsha Bamboo Slips Museum.

Changsha Bamboo Slips Museum
This museum, covering an area of two hectares, houses more than 100,000 bamboo slips and wooden tablets dating back over 1,700 years, which have been unearthed in downtown Changsha since October, 1996. The astounding bamboo and wooden slips were known as "one of 20th Century's most important archeological discoveries in China" and also labeled as "the fifth great discovery of ancient Chinese records" following the unearthed inscriptions on oracle bones from Yin Ruins and Dunhuang documents.

The slips and tablets, which were inscribed with characters, recorded in detail the political, economic, military, cultural and geographic information of the ancient Changsha prefecture which was under the rule of Wu Kingdom (222 AD-280 AD), according to local government sources.