Born Oct. 5, 1865, in Lyon; died Jan. 20, 1918, in Paris. French sinologue. Member of the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (1903); the academy’s president from 1915.
Chavannes’s most important works deal with the history, archaeology, and culture of China. An annotated translation of 50 of the 130 chapters of Ssu-ma Ch’ien’s Historical Records was Chavannes’s most outstanding achievement. He made an important contribution to the deciphering and translation of inscriptions and documents in China and Central Asia that dated from the first millenium of the Common Era. Chavannes became a corresponding member of the Imperial St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1913.