Monographs in Tang Official Historiography

Perspectives from the Technical Treatises of the History of Sui (Sui shu)

  • Daniel Patrick Morgan
  • Damien Chaussende

Part of the Why the Sciences of the Ancient World Matter book series (WSAWM, volume 3)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Daniel P. Morgan, Damien Chaussende
    Pages 1-25
  3. The Work of Li Chunfeng

  4. The Anonymous Treatises

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 359-371

About this book


This book examines the role of medieval authors in writing the history of ancient science. It features essays that explore the content, structure, and ideas behind technical writings on medieval Chinese state history. In particular, it looks at the Ten Treatises of the current History of Sui, which provide insights into the writing on the history of such fields as astronomy, astrology, omenology, economics, law, geography, metrology, and library science. Three treatises are known to have been written by Li Chunfeng, one of the most important mathematicians, astronomers, and astrologers in Chinese history.

The book not only opens a new window on the figure of Li Chunfeng by exploring what his writings as a historian of science tell us about him as a scientist and vice versa, it also discusses how and on what basis the individual treatises were written.

The essays address such themes as (1) the recycling of sources and the question of reliability and objectivity in premodern history-writing; (2) the tug of war between conservatism and innovation; (3) the imposition of the author’s voice, worldview, and personal and professional history in writing a history of a field of technical expertise in a state history; (4) the degree to which modern historians are compelled to speak to their own milieu and ideological beliefs.


Book of Sui Li Chunfeng Historiography Historiography of Science History of Astronomy Omenology Economic History History of Sui History of Han Seventh Century China Treatise on the Wuxing Knowledge in Tang Times recycling of sources premodern history-writing Seventh Century China Organisation of Ancient Knowledge Tang Historian Liu Zhiji Harmonics and Astronomy

Editors and affiliations

  • Daniel Patrick Morgan
    • 1
  • Damien Chaussende
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire SPHERE, UMR 7219Université Paris 7—CNRSParis cedex 13France
  2. 2.Centre de recherche sur les civilisations de l’Asie orientaleParisFrance

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-18037-9
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-18038-6
  • Buy this book on publisher's site