Written Slips of Qin
Qinjian(Written Slips of Qin) is the collective name for the presently available literature from the Qin State in the Warring States Period (475-221BC) and from the subsequent Qin Dynasty(221-206BC). At that time, paper had not been invented yet and bamboo and wood slips were used for writing. The discovery of Qinjian is greatly important for the study of the history of Qin, especially the legal system of Qin.
At the end of 1975, more than 1,100 pieces of bamboo slips, which were written during the period from the end of the Warring States Period to the Qin Dynasty, were discovered in the Qintombs in Suihudi, Yunmeng County, Hubei Province.
Some of the slips are the copies of the laws of the Qin Dynasty, with the explanation in the Q&A form. Besides, there are the chronicles of the empire and the family of the tomb owner from 306BC to 217BC, transcripts of aphorism and calligraphy, etc.
The juridical law of Qin, stipulated in the Warring States Period, was lost after the Qin Empire collapsed. The newly discovered one is now the most ancient law available in China. The reign of Qin was very short, and rare literature, especially on the social economy, was handed down. The newly discovered juridical law ofQin, and other literature provide a lot of new knowledge on the State-owned economy, labor of the slaves, land system, relationship among the classes, government system, penal law, and also the general social life of the civilians, etc.
Being an important historical data, Qinjian is also valuable for the study of the development of Chinese characters. It is said that Lishu(official script) was first used in the Qin Dynasty, but nobody saw a script of that time. The handwriting on Qinjianwas quite different from Xiaozhuan(the lesser seal style of Chinese calligraphy). With Qinjian, we can not only see clearly the true script of the Lishuin the Qin Dynasty, but also make sure that the script had been in practical use in the Warring States Period.
Artistic achievement in Qin dynasty: Terra-Cotta Army of the Qin Dynasty