Gan Bao

Gan Bao (or Kan Pao) (Chinese: , pronounced [kân.pàu]) (fl. 315, died 336) was a Chinese historian and writer at the court of Emperor Yuan of Jin. He was a native of southern Henan. After diligent study of the classics during his childhood and youth, Gan Bao was appointed head of Office of History at the court. Apparently the position was granted to him in recognition of his skills which he demonstrated in his Chin-chi, presumably a written account of earlier court activities.

Gan Bao subsequently occupied other prominent positions at the court, but today he is best remembered for the book Soushen Ji, which he probably compiled. An extremely important early example of the Zhiguai genre, the book comprises several hundred short stories and witness reports about spirits and supernatural events. A contemporary biography mentions that Gan Bao became interested in these matters after his mother had entombed a maid having an affair with his father, the rest of the family found the maid had survived more than 10 years sealed inside a tomb with the help of a ghost which brought her food.


  • Gan Bao. In Search of the Supernatural: The Written Record, translated into English by Kenneth J. DeWoskin and James Irving Crump. Stanford University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-8047-2506-3