Learn - Explore

  • bibliography
  • dictionaries
  • links

Source Texts Bibliography

Most text titles listed in the bibliography below are clickable links leading to a details page for the text.

This list (with its linked pages) is intended to be completed and enriched, and all remarks and suggestions to that effect are welcome. (Please use the site's contact form at the bottom of the page).

Chinese Text Project ›

Special mention should first be made of the Chinese Text Project site, on which many of the Chinese Classics listed here are digitally available, sometimes with an english translation.

This online open-access digital library makes pre-modern Chinese texts freely available to all. It also explores new ways of interacting with these texts beyond what is possible in print. With over ten thousand titles, it is one of the largest databases of pre-modern Chinese texts in existence.

translations of classical texts

Bai Hu Tong ›

Tjan, Tjoe Som (Tseng Chu-sen), trans, Ban Gu. Po Hu T’ung, The Comprehensive Discussions in the White Tiger Hall. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1949 & 1952. An explanation on the Classics attributed to Ban Gu, first century CE.

Chun Qiu Zuo Zhuan ›

James Legge The Ch’un Ts’ew with the Tso Chuen in The Chinese Classics. Second edition, SMC Publishing Inc. Taipei. (New edition 2000). Commentary of Zuo to the Spring and Autumn Annals (particularly the history of the State of Lü between 722-468 BCE). Fourth century BCE.

Da Xue

James Legge (transl.) The Great Learning - The Chinese Classics I, reprinted by Hong Kong University Press, 1960.

Gregory C. Richter (Transcription, Gloss, Translation), The Great Learning - Da Xue, Truman State University, 2005.

Charles Muler (transl.) The Great Learning. (Online publication here ›)

The Daxue is a short main text attributed to the teachings of Confucius and then ten commentary chapters accredited to one of Confucius' disciples, Zengzi ›.

Dao De Jing

The Daodejing is an early daoist book attributed to Laozi. Some recommended translations could be:

Ames, Roger T. and David L. Hall, Dao De Jing: Making This Life Significant. New York: Ballantine Books, 2003

Hendricks, Robert G., Lao-Tzu Te-Tao Ching: a new translation based upon the recently discovered Ma-wang-tui texts. New York: Ballantine Books, 1989.

Lau, D. C., Lao Tzu London: Penguin Books 1963.

Lynn, Richard John, Tao-te Ching: A New Translation of Laozi as interpreted by Wang Bi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.

Wu, John C. H., Lao Tzu Tao Teh Ching New York: St John’s University Press, 1961.

Other translations and studies are available on terebess.hu ›

Guan Zi ›

Rickett, W. Allyn, trans. Guanzi: Political, Economic and Philosophical Essays from Early China. Princeton Library of Asian Translations, Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1998. The Guanzi is an encyclopedic compilation of Chinese philosophical materials, named after the 7th century BCE philosopher Guan Zhong ›, but mainly written in the end of the Warring States period (403-221 BCE).

Nei Ye is the title of the Guanzi chapter 49
Roth, Harold D., Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism, Columbia University Press, New York, 1999.
(translation here › )

Guo Yu ›

Discourses of the Kingdoms or Discourses of the States, a collection of historical accounts of the Zhou dynasty, collated around the fifth century BCE.

Section: Zhou Yu

Huai Nan Zi ›

John S. Major, Sarah Queen, Andrew Meyer, Harold D. Roth (translators), The Huainanzi: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Government in Early Han China, Columbia University Press, 2010.

Lau & Ames. Yuan Dao: Tracing Dao to Its Source. New York: Ballantine Books, 1998. (chapter one)

Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée and al. Jingshen, a translation of Huainanzi Chapter 7. Monkey Press 2010 The Huainanzi is a syncretic daoist text written between 140 and 130 BCE.

Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen ›

(In short: Suwen)

Unschuld, Paul, trans. Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen: An Annotated Translation of Huang Di's Inner Classic - Basic Questions. Volumes 1 and 2. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2011.

Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée, The rhythm at the heart of the world, Neijing Suwen chapter 5. Monkey Press 2011. The Suwen is a fundamental work on medical theory. It is a compilation in 24 volumes and 81 chapters of ancient medical texts made by Wang Bing (710-804). Together with the Lingshu, it constitutes the Huangdi Neijing or Classical Cannon of the Yellow Emperor.

Huang Di Nei Jing Ling Shu ›

(In short: Lingshu)

No recommended translation. Available Translations:

Wu, Jing-Nuan, trans. Ling Shu, the Spiritual Pivot. Asian Spirituality, Taoist Studies Series, University of Hawaii Press, 2002. The Lingshu is a compilation in 81 chapters of ancient medical texts made during the Song dynasty. It forms with the Suwen the Huangdi Neijing or Internal Cannon of the Yellow Emperor.

Lu Shi Chun Qiu ›

Knoblock, J. and J. Reigel, trans. The Annals of Lu Bu Wei. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. Spring and Autumn Annals of Lüshi, a compendium of knowledge compiled mid 3rd century BCE.

Lun Yu ›

Legge, James., trans. Confucian Analects The Great Learning, and The Doctrine of the Mean. New York: Dover Books, 1971; o.p. 1893. (Online here › )

Roger T. Ames and Henry Rosemont, The Analects of Confucius, a Philosophical Translation, Ballantine Books, 1998. The Analects (or Analects of Confucius) : a collection of sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius, traditionally believed to have been written by Confucius' followers. Other translations are available here ›, here › and here ›.

Ma Wang Dui texts ›

Yates, Robin D.S., trans. Five Lost Classics: Tao, Huang-lao, and Yin-yang in Han China (Classics of Ancient China). New York: Ballantine, 1997

Harper, Donald, Early Chinese Medical Literature, Routledge, 1997. These texts come from manuscripts discovered in a tomb closed in 168 BCE.

Meng Zi

James Legge (transl.), The Works of Mencius - The Chinese Classics II, (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. Reprinted by Dover Books in 1990 (Online here › and here › )

Lau D.C., Mencius, Penguin Books, London, 1970; New Bilingual Edition Chinese University Press, Hong Kong, 2003. A collection of anecdotes and conversations of the Confucian thinker and philosopher Mencius (372-289 BCE) compiled around 400 BCE.

Nan Jing ›

Unschuld, Paul, trans. Nan-ching: The Classic of Difficult Issues (Comparative Studies of Health Systems and Medical Care by Bianque. Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1986. This is a medical book from the first century CE, consisting in questions about difficult points in medicine.

Shu Jing ›

Legge, James, trans. The Shoo King or the Book of Historical Documents, The Chinese Classics, Vols III, IV. London: Oxford University Press, 1865. (Online here › )

James Legge (Editor) and Clae Waltham (Revised by), Shu Ching: Book of History, A Gateway Edition, Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, 1971.

Sun Zi Bing Fa

Sonshi Group (transl.), The Art of War by Sun Tzu, sonshi.com ›

Lionel Giles (transl.), The Art of War by Sun Tzu, classics.mit.edu › The Art of War, an ancient Chinese military treatise attributed to Sun Tzu (4th century BCE.).

Xi Ci ›

Richard J Lynn, The Classic of Changes, I Ching, Columbia University Press, 1994

Legge, James, trans. I Ching: The Book of Changes, Sacred Books of the East, vol.16, 1899. Republished by Gramercy in 1996. Also known as Dazhuan, the Xici is the Great Commentary to the Yijing or Book of Change.
(The Legge translation can be found online here › and here › )

Xun zi ›

Knoblock, John, trans. Xunzi: A Translation and Study of the Complete Works. Stanford; Stanford University Press: 1988. Xunzi is a Confucian philosopher from the late Warring States period.

Zhong Yong

James Legge (transl.) , The Doctrine of the Mean, 1893.

Roger T. Ames and David L. Hall, Focusing the Familiar, A Translation and Philosophical Interpretation of the Zhongyong University of Hawai, 2001.

A. Charles Muller (transl.) The Doctrine of the Mean, first translated in 1991, revised in 2013.

Gregory C. Richter (transl.) The Doctrine of the Mean Zhong Yong Transcription, Gloss, Translation, Truman State University, 2005. The Zhongyong is the Doctrine of the Mean, also known as Constant Mean, Middle Way or Middle Use , one of the Four Books of Confucean philosophy. The Legge translation can be found online here ›, and the Charles Muller translation here ›

Zheng Meng ›

Huang, Siu-chi, trans. Essentials of Neoconfuciansim: Eight Major Philosophers of the Song and Ming Periods by Zang Zai. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1999

Zhuang zi ›

Watson, B., trans. The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu. New York: Columbia University Press, 1968.

Graham, A. C., Chuang-Tzu The Inner Chapters, George Allen & Unwin, London, 1981. This is an early Daoist book from the late Warring States period. Can be found online here ›

recommended books

Ames, Roger T., The Art of Rulership: A Study of Ancient Chinese Political Thought, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1983.

Feng Yulan (Derk Bodde transl.), A History of Chinese Philosophy, Princeton University Press, 1983.

Feng Yulan, A Short History of Chinese Philosophy, Collier-Macmillan, 1948; Free Press (reprinted), 1997.

Graham, Angus C., Yin-Yang and the Nature of Correlative Thinking, The Institute of East Asian Philosophies, Singapore, 1986.

Larre, Claude, The Way of Heaven, Monkey Press, Cambridge, 1994.

Le Blanc, Charles, Huai Nan Tzu – Philosophical Synthesis in Early Han.

Loewe, Michael, ed., Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide, The Society of the Study of Early China, Berkeley, 1993.

Major, John S., Heaven And Earth In Early Han Thought: Chapters Three, Four and Five of Huainanzi, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1993.

Murray, Judson B., A Study of 'Yaolue', 'A Summary of the Essentials': Understanding the Huainanzi Through the Point of View of the Author of the Postface., Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, 1985.

Rickett, W. Allyn. Loewe, Michael ed., 'Kuan tzu' In Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide, University of California, Institute of East Asian Studies, Berkeley, 1993.

Unschuld, Paul, transl., Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen: Nature, Knowledge, Imagery in an Ancient Chinese Medical Text, University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, 2003.

Unschuld, Paul, Tessenow, Hermann, A Dictionary of the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen: A Volume of the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen Project, University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, 2008.

Wing-tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, Princeton University Press, 1963.

Dictionaries and Etymology

tools for ancient chinese

Mathews, Robert Henry, Chinese-English Dictionary (A Chinese-English Dictionary Compiled for the China Inland Mission) Harvard University Press; Revised edition 1943.

Wieger, L., Chinese Characters: Their Origin, Etymology, History, Classification, and Signification: A Thorough Study from Chinese Documents, Dover Publications; 2nd edition 1965.

Shuo Wen Jie Zi 說文解字/说文解字 (Shuo-wen chieh-tzu) "Explaining Simple and Analyzing Compound Characters". A Chinese dictionary from the Han Dynasty. The first dictionary to analyze the structure of the characters and the first etymological dictionary, as well as the first to organize the characters by radical.
See this article ›, an electronic edition at the Chinese Text Project, and other links from the Wikipedia article.

KROLL, Paul W., A Student’s Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, Brill, Leiden/Boston, 2015 This dictionary facilitates reading and translating historical, literary, and religious texts dating from approximately 500 BCE to 1000CE. As a lexicon meant for practical use, it also includes an abundance of alliterative and echoic binomes as well as accurate identifications of hundreds of plants, animals, and assorted technical terms in various fields. Comprising over 8,000 characters, an index by radical and stroke-number, and various appendices, this is the one reference work for both students and advanced scholars.

online chinese-english and english-chinese dictionaries

Paradigm Online TCM Dictionary The English terminology is based on a Practical Dictionary of Chinese Medicine, by Wiseman and Feng.
www.paradigm-pubs.com/TermList ›

Yellow Bridge - a guide and an online tool to Chinese language and culture for English speakers. yellowbridge.com ›

Wenlin - a desktop tool (dictionary, text editor and flashcards system). wenlin.com ›

Chinese Etymology - an online tool for the seal, bronze and oracular forms of Chinese characters. chineseetymology.org ›


Nigel Wiseman and Ken Boss, Glossary Chinese Medical Terms and Acupuncture Points, Paradigm Publications, 1990; Redwing Book (distribution) Available as ebook here ›


Links on Chinese medicine, the Classics, Chinese language, and Chinese philosophy.

sites with original texts

Chinese Text Project

A growing archive of classical Chinese texts. Includes a search function, dictionary, and a section devoted to medical texts. www.ctext.org ›

Resources for East Asian Language and Thought

Dr. Muller’s website contains his work at Tokyo Cakuen University in Japan and includes dictionaries and catalogues of East Asian works, and his translations of the Lun Yu, Da Xue, Mencius, the Dao De Jing, and other works. acmuller.net ›

National Library of Medicine

An online version of an exhibit held at the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; includes Chinese, Japanese and Korean historical texts on Chinese medicine. nlm.nih.gov ›

sites with english translation of the texts

Google Books

Many texts translations can be found here, mostly the early translations. There are also some books on education theory. books.google.com ›

Internet Sacred Text Archive

This site has a number of older translations of Chinese classical texts available, sometimes with the original Chinese. (The relevant books can be found in the following site categories: Confucianism, Sacred Books of the East, Taoism, I Ching, Wisdom of the East …) sacred-texts.com ›

sites for background on the texts

China Knowledge

This site, compiled by Ullrich Theobald, has information on some texts including excerpts of original Chinese and translations into English. It is not updated and it has many problems, but it does have some interesting basic information, especially helpful for students who are not well versed in the world of Chinese literature and language. There is a Chinese Language and Script section which has many resources and explanations of themes in ancient chinese language. There is also an explanation here of the different transcriptions systems for students who have been confused by this issue. chinaknowledge.de ›

The Internet Archive

This is a project building a digital library of internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. It is possible to view the original books themselves. For example, to see Legge's work from the 1800's, follow this link › archive.org ›

The Internet Classics Archive

A resource for classical texts, mainly of Greco-Roman authors, but also for translations of Confucius, Lao Zi and Sun Zi. classics.mit.edu ›

Classical Chinese Medicine

This site presents a bibliography of English translations and mongraphs, including philosophical and cosmological texts from the formative period of Chinese Medicine. classicalchinesemedicine.org ›

other useful sites

A practical dictionary of chinese medicine on Daylight site

Daylight Chemical Information Systems provides online access to the dictionary terms from Wiseman and Ye’s Practical Dictionary organized alphabetically in English. (To get a general idea of why this group is interested in Chinese Medicine, follow this link › ) daylight.com › (each letter of the alphabet has to be looked up individually.)