I am gratified to be reelected as editor of Early China and chair of the Society for the Study of Early China and I would like welcome Miranda Brown as a new member of the editorial board. I am also pleased to welcome Erica Brindley, who was reelected, back to the board. I would like to thank Constance Cook for her service on the editorial board over two terms and for overseeing the election. It was our first using online balloting. Voting was anonymous thanks to Lehigh University's computer technology services. I am nevertheless disturbed that all of the posts in this election were uncontested. Emails were sent to all paid-up members of the Society asking for nominations, but, except for Miranda Brown, the nominating committee did not receive any. I hope that future elections will be livelier. In this last election, we passed a bylaw to increase the number of seats on the board by two, making a total of eight. An election for these posts will be held next year.
The journal has made great strides in the last few years and I hope to expand upon this progress in the coming years. The print journal now comes out annually and the articles are published online throughout the year, ahead of the printed issue. To sign up to receive email alerts, please visit http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/journals-content-alerts and choose “Early China” and “Article Alert.” Members can always read the journal online by logging in, but you will not be alerted when new articles are posted unless you opt in in this manner. We now have a healthy number of institutional subscriptions, but we need more individual subscriptions, both because they are our membership base and because our ability to expand our activities depends upon the funding derived from them. We have a regular stream of high-quality submissions, but there are some fields where we should have more coverage. Most importantly, we have relatively few articles submitted in the field of archaeology even though this is such a major part of early China studies.
Our annual one-day conference, now regularly held in conjunction with the Association for Asian Studies annual meeting, is increasingly well-attended and has become an important forum for discussion, with papers on a wide range of topics, many of them from young scholars at the beginning of their careers. Information about the conference, including the criteria used in selecting the papers and forms for submission, is available on the Early China website (earlychina.org). The success of these conferences is largely due to the leadership and hard work of Charles Sanft and the selection committee.
I am also pleased to announce the imminent publication of the seventh book in the Special Monograph Series of Society for the Study of Early China, A Source Book of Ancient Chinese Bronze Inscriptions, edited by Constance A. Cook and Paul R. Goldin. The contributors include: Constance A. Cook, David M. Sena, David W. Pankenier, Laura A. Skosey, Martin Kern, Maria Khayutina, Paul R. Goldin, Robert Eno, Wolfgang Behr, and Yan Sun. The book begins with introductory essays and useful tables. These are followed by translations of eighty-two bronze inscriptions. For each inscription, there is a brief overview of its provenance, and its historical importance. This is followed by a transcription in modern Chinese graphs and translation, with comments concerning problems in interpretation. A list of further readings for each vessel makes it possible to delve more deeply into the scholarly arguments that surround their interpretation. Thus, this book will serve to introduce students and scholars without expertise in bronze inscriptions to their content. It is also a ready handbook even for scholars well acquainted with these materials. A Source Book will be published by the Society for the Study of Early China and distributed through online and brick-and-mortar bookstores. You can order it through the bookstores like any other book. However, you cannot order it directly from the Society or from the Institute of East Asian Studies at Berkeley or Cambridge Journals.
This issue of Early China is dedicated to the memory of two sinologists who made important contributions to our field. Zhou Fengwu 周鳳五 (1947–2015), who taught at Taiwan University, was an eminent paleographer who made many important contributions to the field. Many of our contributors and readers knew or studied with him and he will be sorely missed. His obituary herein was contributed by Huang Kuan-yun. The other, Noel Barnard (1922–2016) of Australian National University, belonged to an earlier generation and is probably less known personally, though most scholars of bronze inscriptions will be acquainted with Rubbings and Hand Copies of Bronze Inscriptions in Chinese, Japanese, European, American, and Australasian Collections (Zhong Ri Ou Mei Au Mu suojian suota suomo jinwen huibian 中日歐美澳紐所見所拓所摹金文彙編), a collaboration with Cheung Kwong-Yue, who contributes his obituary herein, and those who work on excavated texts, with his formative works on the “Chu Silk Manuscript” from Zidanku in Changsha. I would like to take this opportunity to add a personal note on my impression of the impact his first book, Bronze Casting and Bronze Alloys in Ancient China (1961).
I took my first course in Chinese archaeology with Richard Rudolph at UCLA in 1964. Barnard's Bronze Casting was published just two years earlier and the first edition of K. C. Chang's The Archaeology of Ancient China (1963) was newly published. The US had not had political relations with China since the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949. The dominant paradigm for understanding the development of civilization was still evolutionary, with diffusion as the primary explanatory mechanism for technological advances outside the supposed mainstream of the Near East and Europe. According to this theoretical model, the markers of civilization, such as writing and agriculture, were “invented” only once and spread through cultural diffusion or migration. Thus, the idea that Chinese civilization itself could have been introduced from the Near East was still widely accepted.
The ideological underpinnings of this paradigm seem obvious to us today. And it is not surprising that it had failed to receive a sympathetic hearing in a China fighting to establish its independence from European and then Japanese imperialism. I should note, however, that the earliest archaeological discoveries in China did not disprove this hypothesis. Yangshao pottery, first discovered in 1921 by the Swedish geologist, Johann Gunnar Andersson, seemed on the basis of its designs to have a link with Near Eastern examples. Most importantly, the discovery of sophisticated bronze technology and oracle bone writing found at Anyang in the excavations that took place from 1928 to 1937 had no apparent foundation in an earlier Chinese civilization.
Archaeology resumed in China not long after the establishment of the People's Republic of China, but there was very little writing in English about the new discoveries. The importance of Barnard's book was that it presented a clear argument for the development of metallurgy within China. This was based upon a reconstruction of the sectional mold technology for casting bronze ritual vessels. The argument for indigenous development was particularly convincing because the “lost wax” method is simpler and more efficient than the cumbersome sectional molds. K. C. Chang's book more broadly established a developmental sequence in central China of the Yangshao, Longshan, Erlitou, Erligang, and Shang cultures. The combination of these two books represented a watershed in the study of ancient China. Since then, of course, the picture has become infinitely more complex. Nevertheless, the indigenous development of Chinese civilization has been well established.