Historical Geography Research ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 1-6.

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On Anyang and Seven Ancient Capitals: Letters to Zhang Zhi and Wang Shien

Tan Qixiang (posthumously edited by Zou Yilin)   

  1. Institute of Chinese Historical Geography, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • Received:2019-04-02 Online:2019-08-20 Published:2019-08-20


Since Shang Dynasty, during which the earliest textural records emerged, capital cities of various dynasties have served as national centers of politics, economy and culture. Evolutions of planning and management of capital cities have been a significant aspect in the historical research, because they can reflect changes in economic and cultural characteristics in a corresponding period. More than ten cities were designated as the capital city of China at some points in the history. To address the representativeness of capital cities, in 1920s, the academia listed Xi’an, Luoyang, Beijing, Nanjing and Kaifeng as Five Ancient Capitals. Hangzhou was added to this list in 1930s, making the list into Six Ancient Capitals. In 1980s, Tan Qixiang proposed to add Anyang (known as Yin or Ye) to the list, which would turn the list into Seven Ancient Capitals. At that time, this proposal triggered intense discussions in the academia. It was eventually approved by the academia and became a consensus among mainstream historians. These three letters, presented here, were written in late 1980s. They were exchange letters addressing the proposal mentioned above between Tan Qixiang and local scholars in Anyang. Through these letters, we could also notice the professional attitude and scientific spirit that scholars in the earlier generation used to carry.

Key words: Anyang, Ye, Yin, Seven Ancient Capitals

CLC Number: 

  • K928