Yue gong qi shi 越公其事 is a recently published manuscript from the Tsinghua University collection. The manuscript provides a new version of the well-known story of King Goujian of Yue 越王句踐 (r. 496-464 b.c.e.), who turned defeat into victory and overcame Yue's formidable rival, the state of Wu 吳. My exploration of this text focuses on its two most notable aspects. First, the story about the policy of self-strengthening allegedly adopted by Goujian offers new insights into the evolution of political thought in the Warring States period. Second, the text allows deeper insight into the genre of didactic historical narratives that became prominent at a certain point of time between the Springs-and-Autumns (Chunqiu 春秋, 770-453 b.c.e.) and the Warring States (Zhanguo 戰國, 453-221 b.c.e.) periods.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant No. 568/19) and by the Michael William Lipson Chair in Chinese Studies. I am grateful to Christopher J. Foster, Paul R. Goldin, Martin Kern, Edward L. Shaughnessy, and the Early China anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier versions of this article.
Copyright © The Society for the Study of Early China and Cambridge University Press 2022.
- bamboo manuscripts
- state building