Exploring Chinese History
- Literature -

Chinese Classic Texts



Chinese classics texts or Chinese canonical texts are the classical literature in the Chinese culture which are considered by Chinese culture to be one of the best or to be the most valuable. These include both poetry and prose, some dating from the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (1122 BC - 256 BC). Some of them are attributed to Confucius but he might only be the editor of them. One of the aspects of the Chinese culture that allows its continuity is the importance given to those ancient texts, that shape the philosophies of the culture.
Sì shū wǔ jīng (四書五經), the Four Books and the Five Classics, were mandated study of those Confucian scholars who wished to become government officials. Any political discussion was full of references to this background and one couldn't be one of the literati, or even a military officer, without knowing them perfectly.
Chinese children first studied the Chinese characters with the Hundred Family Surnames (Bai Jia Xing) and the Three Character Classic (三字經 San Zi Jing). Then, they studied the following Classics, in order to climb the social hierarchy.

List of Chinese Classic Texts


Scroll to Top