A Bibliography of English Translations and Monographs

Compiled by Heiner Fruehauf
National University of Natural Medicine, College of Classical Chinese Medicine

Chinese medicine is a microcosmic branch of ancient Chinese philosophy and cosmology. The better one understands the philosophical foundations of Chinese medicine, the deeper one’s knowledge of its core concepts and terminology can be. Theories such as yin and yang, the five phase elements, the hierarchical relationship between matter, energy, and consciousness, the supremacy of spirit, and the twelve organ networks were first mentioned in the Daoist and Confucian classics of the Han and Pre-Han periods of Chinese antiquity (fl. 700 BC – 200 AD) before they appeared in the keystone works of Chinese medicine. The following represents a comprehensive list of relevant philosophical, scientific, and literary works from the formative period of Chinese medicine in English translation.


General Texts

Birrel, Anne, trans. The Classic of Mountains and Seas. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1999.

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

Cullen, Christopher. Astronomy and Mathematics in Ancient China: The Zhou Bi Suan Jing. Vol. 1. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Dawson, Raymond Stanley, ed. Ssu-ma, Chien. Historical Records. World’s Classics. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1994

de Bary, Wm. Theodore, Wing Tsit-chan, & Burton Watson. Sources of Chinese Tradition. New York: Columbia University Press, 1960. Paperback ed. in 2 vols., 1964.

Forke, Alfred, tr. Lunheng. 2 vol. reprint of the original 1907 edition. New York: Paragon Book Gallery, 1962.

Knechtges, David, trans. Wen Xuan or Selections of Refined Literature. 2 vols. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982.

Knechtges, David, trans. Wen Xuan or Selections of Refined Literature. Volume 3: Rapsodies on Natural Phenomena, Birds and Animals, Aspirations and Feelings, Sorrowful Laments, Literature, Music, and Passions. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.

Loewe, Michael. Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley, 1993.

Tjan, Tjoe Som (Tseng Chu-sen). Po Hu T’ung, The Comprehensive Discussions in the White Tiger Hall. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1949 & 1952.

Watson, Burton, trans. Courtier and Commoner in Ancient China: Selections From the History of Former Han by Pan Ku. New York: Columbia University Press, 1977.


Yijing Translations and Commentaries

Karcher, Stephen, trans. Ta Chuan: The Great Treatise. St. Martins Press, 2000.

Karcher, Stephen. Total I Ching: Myths for Change. Time Warner Books, 2005.

Huang, Alfred. The Complete I Ching: The Definite Translation by the Taoist Master Alfred Huang. Inner Traditions, 1998.

Nylan, Michael, trans. The Elemental Changes: The Ancient Companion to the I Ching: The T’ai Hsuan Ching. Albany: SUNY Press, 1995.

Rutt, Richard, trans. Zhou Yi: A New Translation with Commentary of the Book of Changes. Durham East Asia Series, 1996.

Shaughnessy, Edward, trans. I Ching: The Classic of Changes. New York: Ballantine Books, 1997.


Daoist Texts

Rickett, Allyn W. The Kuan-tzu, A Repository of Early Chinese Thought. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1965.

—. Guanzi: Political, Economic, and Philosophical Essays from Early China. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.

Bokenkamp, Stephen. Early Daoist Scriptures. With a contribution by Peter Nickerson. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Kohn, Livia, ed. Daoism Handbook. 2 vols. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2004.

Legge, James. The Texts of Taoism. New York: Julian Press, 1959. Reprinted from Sacred Books of the East, Vols. 39-40. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896.

LaFargue, Michael. The Tao of the Tao-te-ching: A Translation and Commentary. Albany: SUNY Press, 1992.

Major, John. Heaven and Earth in Early Han Thought: Chapters Three, Four, and Five of the Huainanzi. Albany: SUNY Press.

LeBlanc, Charles. Huai-nan Tzu: Philosophical Synthesis in Early Han Thought. Hong Kong University Press, 1985.

Palmer, Martin, trans. The Book of Chuang Tzu. New York: Arkana, 1996.

Peerenboom, R. P. Law and Morality in Ancient China: the Silk Manuscripts of Huang-Lao. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1993.


Confucian Texts

Brooks, E. Bruce, & A. Takeo Brooks, trans. The Original Analects: Sayings of Confucius and His Successors. N.Y. Columbia University Press, 1998. Study of the Analects evolving over 230 years following Confucius’ death.

Lao, D. C., trans. The Analects. Harmonsdsworth; New York: Penguin, 1979.

Legge, James. The Texts of Confucianism. Li Ki. Oxford: Clarendon, 1885.

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

Legge, James. The Ch’un Ts’eu, with Tso Chuen. The Chinese Classics, Vol. V. London: Trubner, 1872.

Watson, Burton, trans. The Tso Chuan: Selections from China’s Oldest Narrative History. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989.

Queen, Sarah. From Chronicle to Canon: The Hermeneutics of the Spring and Autumn Annals, According to Tung Chung-shu. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Knoblock, John, trans. Hsun-tzu: A Translation and Study of the Complete Works. 3 vols. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988-1994.

Watson, Burton. Hsun Tzu. Basic Writings. Paperback ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 1963.

Gardner, Daniel K. Chu Hsi: Learning to Be a Sage. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990. Selections of the Zhuzi yu lei (Topically Arranged Conversations of Master Zhu).


Monographs on Han and Pre-Han Culture

Allan, Sarah. The Shape of the Turtle: Myth, Art, and Cosmos in Early China. New York: State University of New York Press, 1991.

Allan, Sarah. The Way of Water and Sprouts of Virtue. New York: State University of New York Press, 1997.

Allan, Sarah. The Formation of Chinese Civilization: An Archeological Perspective. Yale University Press, 2002.

Birrell, Anne. Chinese Mythology: An Introduction. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

Hardy, Grant & Kinney, Anne Behnke. The Establishment of the Han Empire and Imperial China. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2005.

Knechtges, David R. Court Culture and Literature in Early China. Variorum Collected Studies Series. Burlington: Ashgate Publishing, 2002.

Loewe, Michael. Divination, Mythology and Monarchy in Han China. University of Cambridge Oriental Publications; No. 48. Cambridge, UK: New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Needham, Joseph. Science and Civilization in China: Introductory Orientations. Cambridge University Press, 1954.

Needham, Joseph. Science and Civilization in China: History of Scientific Thought. Cambridge University Press, 1956.

Needham, Joseph. Science and Civilization in China: Mathematics and the Sciences of the Heavens and the Earth. Cambridge University Press, 1959.

Nielson, Bent. A Companion to Yi jing Numerology and Cosmology: Chinese Studies of Images and Numbers from Han (202 BCE-220 CE) to Song (960-1279 CE). Chinese and English. London; New York: Routledge Curzon, 2003.

Pirazzoli-t’Serstevens, Michele. The Han Dynasty. Translation of: La Chine des Han. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1982.

Rawson, Jessica, ed. Mysteries of Ancient China: New Discoveries From the Early Dynasties. New York: George Braziller Incorporated, 1996.

Ronan, Colin A., ed. The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China: An Abridgement of Joseph Needhams’s Original Text. Cambridge University Press, 1995.

7000 Years of Chinese Civilization: Chinese Art and Archaeology From the Neolithic Period to the Han Dynasty. Milan: Silvana Editoriale, 1983.

Sun, Xiaochun and Kistemaker, Jacob. The Chinese Sky During the Han: Constellating Stars and Society. Leiden; New York: Brill, 1997.

Twitchett, Denis C. and Loewe, Michael, ed. The Cambridge History of China: The Ch’in and Han Empires, 221 BC-AD 220. Vol. 1. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Van Gulik, R. H. Sexual Life in Ancient China: A Preliminary Survey of Chinese Sex and Society From c. 1500 B. C. Till 1644 A. D. Kinderhook, NY: E. J. Brill U. S. A., 1996.

Vervoorn, Aat. Men of the Cliffs and Caves: The Development of the Chinese Eremitic Tradition to the End of the Han Dynasty. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1990.

Watson, William. The Arts of China to A. D. 900. Yale University Press Pelican History of Art Series. Vol 1 (of 3). New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.

Wilhelm, Helmut. Heaven, Earth, and Man in the Book of Changes: Seven Eranos Lectures. University of Washington Press, 1977.

Zufferey, Nicolas. To the Origins of Confucianism: The ‘Ru’ in Pre-Qin Times and During the Early Han Dynasty. Schweizer Asiatische Studien. Monographien bd. 43. Bern; New York: Peter Lang, 2003.