The origin and role of the state according to the Li Shi chunqiu

Asian Philosophy 9 (3):193 – 218 (1999)
Abstract
To study the L shi chunqiu (or L -shih ch'un-ch'iu. Master L 's Spring and Autumn Annals is to enter into the tumultuous but progressive times of the Warring States period (403-221 BCE). 1 This period is commonly referred to as 'the pre-Qin period' because of the fundamental changes that occurred after the Qin unification. Liishi chunqiu was probably completed, in 241 BCE, by various scholars at the estate of L Buwei (L Pu-wei) the prime minister of Qin and tutor to the Qin child King, Zheng. 2 It is one of the few pre-Qin texts that dates itself; the date, though not precise, is given in the xuyi chapter. 3 A decade after the completion of the L shi chunqiu, King Zheng began the ensuing 9 years of fervent warfare that led to his unification of the empire in 221 BCE. Before the political unification, L shi chunqiu created a philosophical consolidation. 4 The Liishi chunqiu performed an important function in the literary and political education of the young King Zheng. More importantly, it provided a philosophical understanding of and justification for a unified empire which left its mark on the young King, and subsequent Han philosophy. After the unification of the empire, King Zheng took the title Qin shihuangdi (First-generation Emperor of Qin), and he established the insignia of water for the imperial emblems, employing concepts from Liishi chunqiu's yingtong (responding and identifying) chapter which describe the succession of dynasties according to the timely cycle of the five phases (wuxing) to justify his new dynasty. 5.
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