Zeng Hou Yi Bamboo Pieces1

Hubei Provincial Museum

Hubei Provincial Museum
Wuhan, China

From the Zeng Hou Yi mausoleum, 240 bamboo pieces were discovered. These pieces are known as the earliest remains of bamboo writing. All the characters on these Jian are in ink. Except for one piece that has writing on both side, most of the Jian were only written on one side. The number of characters on one piece of Jian varies from four to 62. In total, there are 6696 characters written on the pieces.

These characters recorded the situation on the marquis’ funeral, including the carriages and horses and the weapons that were used on the ceremony, present members and their official positions, guests from the Chu State and the gifts they brought along. These records are highly valuable to the study of the Warring States ceremonies, situation of historical artifacts and the relationship between the Zeng State and the Chu State.


  • Title: Zeng Hou Yi Bamboo Pieces1
  • Location: Unearthed from Leigudun Tomb (No.1 ), Suizhou, Hubei
  • Medium: Bamboo
  • Excavation Date: 1978
  • Dynasty: Around 433 B.C. (the East Zhou Dynasty and the early Warring States Period)
  • Dimensions: Average length: 70-75 cm; average width: 1 cm.

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