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the study of Chinese history, language, culture, etc.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Chinese studies), the study of the history, economics, politics, philosophy, language, literature, and culture of China. (For the development of the humanities in China itself, see: Social sciences and Literature.)

Sinology, like other disciplines within Oriental studies, for a long time embraced many individual areas of study that were scarcely differentiated from one another. In Western Europe, China was first studied in the 17th and 18th centuries by J. H. Prémare, J.-F. Gerbillon, Mailla, and other French missionaries. The scientific foundations for the study of Chinese philology were laid by J.-P.-Abel Rémusat, who began teaching Chinese philology at the University of Paris in 1814. In Russia, the first works on China were written in the 17th century by P. I. Godunov, N. G. Spafarii, and other diplomats and by those who had left the Russian ecclesiastical mission in Peking, including A. L. Leont’ev and I. K. Rossokhin. N. Ia. Bichurin made an exceptional contribution to Russian sinology through his translations and studies on history, ethnology, geography, and linguistics. In 1837, D. Sivilov taught the first Chinese-language course in Russia. The teaching of Chinese literature was instituted by V. P. Vasil’ev in 1851 at the University of Kazan.

In the second half of the 19th century and in the early 20th century, sinology underwent appreciable development in connection with the more active role being played by colonial power politics, an increased interest in China, and the overall development of European scholarship. Among the outstanding British sinologues of this period were J. Legge, who translated the Confucian canon, and H. Giles, who compiled a Chinese-English dictionary and a history of Chinese literature. German sinologues included H. von der Gabelentz, the author of a basic grammar, and W. Grube, a student of Chinese religions and literature. French sinologues included S. Couvreur, who compiled a Chinese-French dictionary and translated books of the Confucian canon, S. Julien, and E. Chavannes, who translated and studied Ssu-ma Ch’ien’s Historical Records. Works on Chinese international relations were written by the British scholar H. Morse and others. Sinology developed in Japan as well.

In Russia, the development of sinology was furthered by the establishment of chairs of the Chinese and Manchu languages at the University of Kazan in 1837 and at the University of St. Petersburg in 1855. Chinese studies were also promoted by the creation of the Russian Geographical Society in 1845 and the Eastern Branch of the Russian Archaeological Society in 1851. In the latter half of the 19th century, a number of important sinologues appeared in Russia. V. P. Vasil’ev was the author of works on the history of Northeast China and Buddhism; in addition he wrote An Outline of the History of Chinese Literature, the first work of its kind ever. P. I. Kafarov studied the history of China and Mongolia and the history of Buddhism; he and P. S. Popov compiled the first large Chinese-Russian dictionary. I.I. Zakharov was a Manchurian scholar and the author of a work on the history of the agrarian relations in China. S. M. Georgievskii wrote a number of studies on the ancient history and mythology of China and the Chinese character writing system. P. S. Popov translated the Lun Yü Analects and the Meng-tzu. A. O. Ivanovskii wrote numerous works on the history, numismatics, ethnology, and literature of China. The students of these scholars continued the tradition in the 20th century: A. I. Ivanov translated the Han Fei-tzu, N. V. Kiuner studied the history of the material and nonmaterial culture of China, and A. V. Rudakov wrote a work on the Boxer Rebellion and on the history of Chinese culture.

The modern era of world history—which began with the victory of the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia—the growing influence of Marxist-Leninist ideas, and the sharp ideological struggle inaugurated a new phase in the development of both the bourgeois and Marxist approaches in world sinology since 1917.

In Western Europe, the USA, and Japan, the development of sinology was stimulated by the needs of the ruling circles of the imperialist states. The expansion of research was also stimulated by the struggle of the peoples of the Orient and the failure of Eurocentric theories. In the 1920’s and 1930’s a number of new institutes, scientific centers, and societies for the study of China were created in the West. Basic works on the history and ideology of China were written before World War II by P. Pelliot, H. Cordier, M. Granet, H. Maspero, and P. Demiéville of France; O. Franke, A. Forke, R. Wilhelm, E. Haenisch, and F. Hirth of Germany; G. Tucci of Italy; J. Duyvendak of The Netherlands; H. Creel, L. Goodrich, and A. Hummel of the USA; and J. Andersson of Sweden. B. Karlgren of Sweden reconstructed Middle Chinese and Ancient Chinese phonetics and laid the foundations for the linguistic analysis of classical texts. A. Waley of Great Britain, E. von Zach of Austria, and G. Margouliès of France made significant contributions to the study and translation of Chinese literature. A number of studies were written by Japanese historians, economists, and philologists, including Aoki Masaru, Wada Sei, Kaizuka Shigeki, Nagasawa Kikuya, Naito Torajiro, Niida Noboru, Oeda Toshio, Tamura Jitsuzo, and Sogabe Shi-zuo. On the whole, specialization on the part of sinologues increased. Many of the works of these scholars contain rich factual material and raise important questions, although the methodology of the authors prevents the questions from being successfully answered. At the same time, bourgeois sinologues and politicians published books that falsified the history of the Chinese revolution and Soviet-Chinese relations, whitewashed the Kuomintang regime, and defended the colonial activities of the Western powers in China.

Soviet Chinese studies began developing after the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution. The creation of Marxist sinology and the training of personnel were accomplished in the late 1920’s. Those engaged in Chinese studies included both representatives of the prerevolutionary school of scholars (V. M. Alekseev, N. V. Kiuner, and D. M. Pozdneev) and a new generation of authors (K. A. Kharnskii, A. 1. Ivin, VI. Vilenskii-Sibiriakov, and A. E. Khodorov), who studied the revolutionary struggle of the Chinese people and other problems of sinology.

From the early 1930’s until the Great Patriotic War of 1941–15, the scholarly work of sinologues was expanded and intensified in all aspects. Sinologues worked on problems of the revolutionary movement (P. A. Mif, A. V. Bakulin, and G. N. Voitinskii), the history of the popular and peasant movement (Mikhail Volin and E. S. Iolk), the history of imperialist expansion in China (A. Ia. Kantorovich and V. Ia. Avarin), the history of Chinese philosophy (A. A. Petrov), and the problems of slavery and feudalism in China (G. M. Andreev, L. I. Mad’iar, M. D. Kokin, G. K. Papaian, and P. A. Grinevich). Alekseev’s versatile studies laid the foundations for the further study of Chinese literature, aesthetics and literary criticism, folklore, theater, writing, and lexicography; Alekseev was the first to attempt experimental research on Chinese phonetics. The study and translation of the classics and other works of literature was continued by lu. K. Shutskii, A. A. Shtukin, and B. A. Vasil’ev. Iu. V. Bunakov began the decipherment of the Shang writing system, and N. A. Nevskii and L. N. Rudov began the decipherment of the writing systems of the Tanguts and Khitans. K. K. Flug studied the history of printing in China. E. D. Polivanov noted the distinctive features of Chinese phonetics and initiated a scientific study of the grammar. A. A. Dragunov reconstructed the phonetics of the Yüan period, discovered the Hsiang dialect group, and laid the foundations for a Chinese grammar. He and A. G. Shprintsyn, together with various Soviet and Chinese scholars, worked on the problems of romanizing the Chinese writing system. A new dictionary was compiled by V. S. Kolokolov.

A new situation for Chinese studies resulted from the formation of the socialist system, the collapse of the colonial world, and the victory of the people’s revolution in China in 1949. The ruling circles of the imperialist governments reorganized and developed sinology to conform to their own political goals.

In the USA and elsewhere, Chinese studies now concentrate more on contemporary affairs. Works have appeared on the activities of the Communist Party of China and the policies of the People’s Republic of China; they are written for the most part from bourgeois liberal or anticommunism positions by sinologues and scholars of a pronounced political bent, such as S. Schram of Great Britain and H. Hinton, A. D. Barnett, R. Scalapino, A. Whiting, and B. Schwartz of the USA.

Numerous studies have been published on the ancient and medieval history of China by D. Bodde, C. M. Wilbur, H. Bielenstein, H. Creel, N. Swann, and W. Eberhard of the USA; E. Balazs and J. Gernet of France; H. Franke and W. Bauer of the Federal Republic of Germany; A. F. Hulsewé of the Netherlands; and M. Loewe and D. Twitchett of Great Britain. Works on modern and contemporary history were written by J. Fairbank, A. Feuerwerker, and M. Wright of the USA; W. Franke of the Federal Republic of Germany; and V. Purcell of Great Britain. The economics of China was treated by A. Eckstein of the USA and A. Donnithorne of Australia. A great deal of attention was devoted to the problems of philosophy and the history of culture in works by J. Levenson W. T. de Bary, B. Watson, and A. Wright of the USA and S. Griffith, R. Dawson, and A. Graham of Great Britain. The history of the development of technology, production, and science in China is covered in J. Needham’s Science and Civilisation in China, a multivolume work that began publication in 1954.

These same problems are being treated by a large group of Japanese historians, economists, source specialists, and historians of Chinese culture, including Muramatsu Yuji, Miyazaki Ichisada, Sudo Yoshiyuki, Imabori Seiji, Matsumoto Yeshimi, Tokuda Nariyuchi, and Nakamura Kenju.

There has been increased publication of bibliographies, indexes, biographical reference works and dictionaries, and historiographie works; scholars working in these areas included C. Gardner, Han Yu-Shan, and D. Nivison. Problems of the history and theory of Chinese literature are studied by J. High-tower, E. Hughes, B. Watson, D. Holzman, J.-P. Diény, Y. Hervouet, and J. Liu; comprehensive works were published by G. Margouliès of France, Ch’en Shou-Yi of the USA, Lai Ming of Great Britain, and G. Bertuccioli of Italy. E. Pulley-blank and W. Simon of Great Britain and N. Bodman of the USA study the history of the Chinese language. S. Egerod of Denmark investigates dialectology and A. N. Rygalov of France and J. Mullie of Belgium study grammar. Yuen Ren Chao of the USA has compiled a basic grammar. Texts have been translated and anthologies published. The publication of indexes to classical texts, begun in 1931, has continued at Harvard University in the USA.

Japanese sinologues have made appreciable progress, especially in textology, the study of sources, the study of modern literature, and the publication of reference works. Dialectology and grammar have been studied. An Encyclopedia of Chinese Linguistics has been published in Japan, as has the most comprehensive bilingual Chinese-Japanese dictionary, compiled by Morohashi Tetsuji. Notable Japanese philologists have included Yoshikawa Kojiro, Ogawa Tamaki, Kuraishi Takeshiro, Ono Shinobu, Shiroki Naoya, and Shiba Rokuro.

Progress in sinology has also been achieved in the socialist countries of Europe. Prominent scholars have included J. Chmielewski and T. Zbikowski of the Polish People’s Republic, S. Behrsing and K. Kaden of the German Democratic Republic, M. Galik and O. Švarný of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, and F. Tököly and B. Csongor of the Hungarian People’s Republic.

In the USSR, the postwar years have seen rapid and comprehensive development in sinology. New sinology centers have been established in which China has been studied in depth; most study has taken the form of research for monographs. Large and comprehensive works have appeared, and sections devoted to China have been included in textbooks used in higher educational institutions and in a number of encyclopedia publications. An increasing amount of research has been devoted to contemporary affairs. Works on the economics of the People’s Republic of China have been written by V. A. Mas-lennikov, M. I. Sladkovskii, and E. A. Konovalov. V. G. Gel’-bras and L. S. Kiuzadzhian have written on the social and political problems of China, and M. S. Kapitsa and O. Borisov have published works on Chinese foreign policy. Maoism has been subjected to fundamental and penetrating criticism. Problems of the history of the Chinese revolutionary movement and the Communist Party of China have been studied (M. F. Iur’ev, V. I. Glunin, L. P. Deliusin, E. F. Kovalev, and N. P. Vinogradov), as well as economic problems in recent Chinese history (A. V. Meliksetov and G. D. Sukharchuk) and problems of the history of imperialist aggression in China (G. V. Astaf’ev and B. G. Sapozhnikov). In the ancient period, the genesis of Chinese civilization, ethnogenesis, the clan and community, and early class societies have been studied (M. V. Kriukov, R. F. Its, L. I. Duman, L. S. Perelomov, and L. S. Vasil’ev); in the medieval period, socioeconomic history (N. I. Konrad and E. P. Stuzhina), popular movements (G. Ia. Smolin and L. V. Simonovskaia), the history of foreign contacts (V. M. Shtein), and the history of neighboring peoples (E. I. Kychanov, M. V. Vorob’ev) have been studied. The same fundamental problems are studied by sinologues specializing in modern Chinese history (S. L. Tikhvinskii, G. V. Efimov, V. P. Iliushechkin, and R. M. Brodskii). The publication of sources and translations of historical documents (N. Ts. Munkuev) is continuing. Works have been published on the history of social and philosophical thought in China (Yang Hing-shung, N. G. Senin, L. D. Pozdneeva, and A. G. Krymov), historiography and source study (L. A. Bereznyi and V. N. Nikiforov), and bibliography (P. E. Skachkov). Alekseev’s heretofore unpublished works and translations have appeared in print. The number of translations increased in the 1950’s, and general works on the history of Chinese literature by N. T. Fedorenko, L. Z. Eidlin, and V. F. Sorokin were published.

An important place has been given to study of the problems of humanism, tradition and innovation, Chinese literary thought, genres, the interrelationships of Soviet Russian, Western, and Chinese literatures, and the division of literature into periods. Phenomena in Chinese literature have been examined from a comparative-typological point of view (N. I. Konrad, O. L. Fishman, and V. I. Semanov). Soviet sinology has attached special importance to tracing the democratic line in Chinese literature. Studies of literature are carried out in the general context of culture. The monograph has become the principal form used in literary research. Classical poetry is the primary focus of the works of Eidlin and E. A. Serebriakov; B. L. Riftin and D. N. Voskresenskii deal with old narrative prose; Konrad, Fedorenko, Pozdneeva, and I. S. Lisevich have studied ancient texts; Semanov, L. E. Cherkasskii, Sorokin, V. V. Petrov, M. E. Shneider, and A. N. Zhelokhovtsev have concentrated on modern literature; and I. V. Gaida and S. A. Serova have treated drama.

In linguistics, much attention (beginning with Dragunov) has been devoted to the grammar of the modern language. Material drawn from the Chinese language has given rise to questions of general linguistics, such as those concerning the precise definition of the concept of isolating languages, the special nature of agglutination, and parts of speech. Advances have been made in the study of general questions of the structure of the Chinese language (V. M. Solntsev, N. N. Korotkov, lu. V. Rozhdestvenskii, and S. E. Iakhontov), phonetics, morphology, and syntax (M. K. Rumiantsev, V. I. Gorelov, N. V. Solntseva, T. P. Zadoenko, A. F. Kotova, N. I. Tiapkina, E. I. Shutova, and S. B. Iankiver), Middle Chinese (M. V. Sofronov, I. T. Zograf, and I. S. Gurevich), Shang inscriptions (M. V. Kriukov), and dialects (lu. V. Novgorodskii and M. V. Sokolov). Studies have been initiated on questions of sociolinguistics (A. G. Shprintsyn), Old Chinese grammar (Iakhontov), and problems of machine translation from Chinese (A. A. Zvonov and V. I. Zherebin). The modern vocabulary has been most extensively treated in the Chinese-Russian dictionary edited by I. M. Oshanin, a phonetic dictionary based on the grammatical determination of word boundaries has been compiled by B. S. Isaenko, and a large academic dictionary is in preparation.

A special field of sinology centers on studies of the Buddhist manuscripts discovered in cave storage chambers near the city of Tunhuang at the turn of the 20th century. Progress has been made by French (P. Demiéville), Japanese (Fujieda Akira), and Soviet (L. N. Men’shikov) scholars. In the USSR, the Oriental Institute’s catalogue of the Tunhuang corpus and the pienwen texts have both been published. The Leningrad collection of woodcuts has also made it possible to research late Buddhist literature (E. S. Stulova).

Problems of sinology are studied at the Oriental Institute in Moscow and the institute’s Leningrad division, the Institutes of the Far East, Philosophy, and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the Siberian and Far Eastern divisions of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the Institute of Asian and African Countries of Moscow State University, the Oriental Department of Leningrad University, and other scientific centers. The journals Problemy Dal’nego Vostoka (Problems of the Far East), Narody Azii i Afriki (Peoples of Asia and Africa), and other periodicals deal with modern sinology.

The centers of sinology in European countries include the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Leeds, Paris, Bordeaux, Hamburg, Bochum, Munich, Berlin, Leipzig, Prague, and Warsaw, the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, and the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm. In the USA, problems in sinology are studied at Columbia, Harvard, and Stanford universities and at the Universities of Michigan, California, and Washington. In Japan, research is conducted at the Universities of Tokyo and Kyoto, the China Research Institute, the Society for Asian Political and Economic Studies, and the Institute of Eastern Culture in Tokyo. In Australia, China is studied at institutions in Sidney and Canberra.

The principal periodicals, apart from general Oriental studies publications, are Cina (Rome, since 1956), China Mainland Review (Hong Kong, since 1965), China Report (New Delhi, since 1964), China Quarterly (London, since 1960), Papers on China (Cambridge, Mass., since 1946), Revue bibliographique de sinologie (Paris, since 1957), T’oung Pao (Leiden, since 1890), Sinologica (Basel, since 1947), Chugoku keizai shiryo (The Economic Literature of China; Tokyo, since 1956), Chugoku kenkyu geppo (China Research Monthly; Tokyo, since 1960), Chugoku bungakuho (Journal of Chinese Literature; Kyoto, since 1954), and Chugoku bungaku kenkyu (Studies in Chinese Literature; since 1961).


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R. V. VIATKIN, L. I. DUMAN, and I. S. LI [23–1252–]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
It is clear that as technological advances enable a levelling of the playing field in terms of the accessibility of textual materials, Southeast Asian scholars will be increasingly obliged to re-engage with these texts and, in the process, reintegrate premodern Southeast Asian history with that of the larger Sinological world.
In a series of essays written in the 1960s and 1970s (amongst others, 1979b [1963]; 1979d [1964]; 1979a [1969]; 1979c [1974]), he simultaneously reflects back upon the events of 1949 and looks forward to new possibilities for sinological anthropology.
In conclusion, RvG and his work on the Chinese gibbon both deserve a place in modern Sinological discourse.
Girardot, whose focus is not just Legge but also the emergence of the late Victorian intellectual and academic constructs of "sinological Orientalism" and the secularized "science" of comparative religions, gives us a rich and sympathetic view of Legge, a Scottish Nonconformist workaholic who joined the London Missionary Society's China Mission in 1840 and remained in Hong Kong until 1873.
The first three volumes are to contain articles and texts that discuss Chinese Christologies from the Tang dynasty to the present from the Sinological, mission-historical, theological, and art historical perspectives.
In 1995, through support provided by local historians in Jakarta, the remnants of the BKK Archives were shipped to the Netherlands, where they are now stored at Leiden University's Sinological Institute under the supervision of Leonard Blusse A Foundation of Kong Koan Archives has been established in the Netherlands to support research using these documents.
Legge was a Protestant missionary who pursued sinological studies, while as "le Legge francais," (3) Seraphin Couvreur, who translated and published Les Quatre Livres, was a Catholic missionary.
See, e.g., MILLER, supra note 154, at 24-25 (observing that American nineteenth-century traders' images of China were dominated by "criticism of China's despotism, vindictive system of law, and social injustice"); see also Gregory Blue, China and Western Social Thought in the Modern Period, in CHINA AND HISTORICAL CAPITALISM: GENEALOGIES OF SINOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE 57 (Timothy Brook & Gregory Blue eds., 1999) (analyzing emergence of increasingly negative views of China in European social thought).
Harvard-Yenching Sinological Series, Supplement 22 (Taipei: Chinese Materials and Research and Service Center, 1966), 5/82270.
A generation ago, for example, it was a scholarly commonplace that communist China marked the definitive modernizing break from the past, and that those who saw continuities between Mao's China and old China were atheoretical sinological windbags who probably should confine their attention to the classification of Ming vases.
The historicity of Confucius, while always subject to interpretation, has never been a serious issue in sinological discussion.