HANGZHOU, China, April 26 (UPI) -- Bamboo strips more than 2,300 years old, and bearing portions of a classic Confucian text, have gone on display in China, a university official said.
The writing on the strips is an excerpt from Zuo Zhuan, a Confucian masterpiece considered the earliest Chinese work of narrative history, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported Thursday.
The bamboo strips on display are among 160 such strips collected by Zhejiang University in Hangzhou city, with more than 120 inscribed with the content of Zuo Zhuan.
The strips, which date back to 340 B.C., were stolen and sold abroad and then purchased by the university in 2009, Xinhua reported.
Experts examining the antiques after they were returned from abroad said they provided strong factual evidence of the history Zuo Zhuan work.
"As a Confucian classic, Zuo Zhuan involves many problems of Chinese literature and history, and it is of great significance for historical research," Miao Zhe, with the Center for Art and Archaeology in Zhejiang University, said, "but before the appearance of these bamboo strips, academia has always been confounded by a lack of research references."
The book is considered important research material on the pre-Qin Period (pre-221 B.C.), and also on pre-Qin Confucius thoughts, researchers said.