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THE GUODIAN LAOZI (Dao De Jing)
     
 
About the Guodian Laozi

Quoted from: YOUR DAO DE JING by Nina Correa

The Guodian Dao De Jing has been dated to the third or fourth century BCE, and the characters were written in a form of Small seal characters. Due to the confusion of the writing system at the time (as mentioned above), the characters used in the Guodian text created much controversy between the modern scholars who have tried to determine which modern characters they represent.

In 1993 a tomb was uncovered in Guodian (Hubei province) near the city of Ying which was the capital of the ancient state of Chu. Laozi is said to have come from the state of Chu. Although the occupant of the tomb is unknown, various contents of the tomb have led historians to date the tomb to the third or fourth century BCE. The text of the Dao De Jing found at Guodian was written on bamboo slips, and it is refered to as the Bamboo Slip Laozi.

Bamboo slips were long slender strips of bamboo on which primitive Chinese characters were written vertically, from top to bottom. The bamboo strips were then woven together in a certain order with string or leather thongs (similar to a venetian blind) then rolled up into a bundle. Three such bundles were found in the Guodian tomb, and they are refered to as "Laozi A", "Laozi B" and "Laozi C", although none of them were labeled at the time they were written. As with the Mawangdui text, the chapters in the Guodian are ordered differently that the "received" versions. "Laozi A" consists of (in this order) chapters 19, 66, 46, 30, 15, 64 (part 2), 37, 62, 2, 32, 25, 5, 16, 64 (part 1), 56, 57, 55, 44, 40, and 9. "Laozi B" consists of chapters 59, 48, 20, 13, 41, 52, 45, and 54. "Laozi C" consists of chapters 17, 18, 35, 31, and 64 (part 2). Not all of the chapters found in the Mawangdui or "received" texts are included in the Guodian, and not all of the characters in the later versions appear in the Guodian.





In this section of Dao Is Open you'll find photographs of the actual Bamboo Slips of the Dao De Jing found in the tomb at Guodian. Along side of each slip appears the Traditional and Simplified Chinese character which has been accepted as the modern comparative character by the scholars at the Dartmouth Conference on the Guodian texts. To the right of the modern characters are the Pinyin and Wade/Giles spellings, then a brief English definition.

Reference books used:

> Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching: A Translation of the Startling New Documents Found at Guodian by Robert G. Henricks
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> The Guodian Laozi: Proceedings of the International Conference, Dartmouth College, May 1998 by Sarah Allan and Crispin Williams
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Since the frame of each Bamboo Slip is large, I've only included four Slips per page (to help prevent slow loading of each page). Also note that the Bamboo Slips aren't separated into chapters in the way we usually recognize them. Thus, two chapters may appear on one Slip. I've tried to provide an easy reference index in the following table.

(Note: The Dao De Jing was originally refered to as The Laozi.)
A: 1 to A: 2 (Chapters 19 & 66) A: 2 to A: 5 (Chapters 66, 46, 30, 15)
A: 5 to A: 6 (Chapters 15 cont. & 64[b]) A: 6 to A: 9 (Chapters 64[b], 37, 63, 2)
A: 9 to A: 10 (Chapters 2 & 32) A: 11 to A: 13 (Chapters 25, 5 & 16)
A: 14 to A: 15 (Chapters 64[a] & 56) A: 15 to A: 16 (Chapters 56 & 57)
A: 17 to A: 18 (Chapters 55 & 44) A: 18 to A: 20 (Chapters 44, 40 & 9)
B: 1 to B: 3 (Chapters 59, 48 & 20) B: 3 to B: 4 (Chapters 20 & 13)
B: 5 (Chapter 41) B: 6 (Chapter 52)
B: 7 (Chapter 45) B: 8 (Chapter 54)
C: 1 to C: 3 (Chapters 17, 18, 35) C: 3 to C: 4 (Chapters 35 & 31)
C: 4 to C: 5 (Chapters 31 & 64[b]) C: 5 (Chapter 64[b])





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