2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Important Historical Materials in Sung Studies: Tomb Inscriptions Unearthed in Mainland China

Kuan-Chung Huang

Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica

Tomb inscriptions record peoples lives and achievements, political involvement, and social affairs. They tell us much about the people of that time and their families, and as such, are a very important historical source. However, owing to differences in time and place of excavation sites, much of the tomb inscriptions  remains disorganized, obscuring their value and significance.

This project seeks to organize the tomb inscriptions unearthed in Mainland China during the last fifty years, and by focusing on several specific examples, illustrate their value for Sung studies. Many of these inscriptions are composed by well-known Sung literary figures such as Huang T’ing-chien, Chang Lei, Fan Tsu-y, L Hui-ch’ing, Ts’ai ching, and so forth, providing us with their otherwise irretrievable essays and literature. They also serve as valuable supplements to official histories such as the Sung Shi, and include notable biographies of individuals such as Wang Kung-ch’en, Feng Ching, Ts’ao Pin, Shih Shih-tien, Liu Chin and so forth. They provide us with information on various Sung dynasty officials and their descendants, for example, the tomb inscriptions of YKung-chu, Chang Hung, Chai Kao, and Chang T’ung-chih, as also help us better understand families such as Y Yun-wen, Chang chn, Chai Hsing, and Chang Hsiao-hsiang. Other useful materials provide information on certain family histories. More importantly, they provide for us a history of common folks. These inscriptions reflect cultural, political, economic, and military facts at all levels of society, and consequently give us a far more credible picture of daily life during the Sung period. This project looks at twelve specific case studies. Even though this project is on a small-scale and only represents a fraction of what is available to us, it is hoped that this paper will encourage other scholars to expand their efforts, add to the overall value of Sung scholarship, and promote further research. This article includes periodicals, journals, and texts on Sung dynasty tomb inscriptions published in mainland China between 1949 and 1996, a total of 172 works by 199 authors.


Key Words: epigraphs, tomb inscriptions, Official History of the Sung Dynasty (Sung Shi), essays (wenji), supplements (addendums), revision and comparison, family history