Kristofer Schipper was born in 1934 in Sweden, grew up in Amsterdam and studied at the University of Paris. After graduating in Chinese, Japanese and Religious Anthropology, he obtained a PhD at the Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes in 1962.
As Member of the Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient, he did research at the Academia Sinica in Taipei from 1962 to 1970. In 1972 he became Professor of Chinese religious history and anthropology at the Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris. In 1993 he was also appointed Professor of Chinese History at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. In 2001 he founded, together with Dr. Yuan Bingling, the Library of the Western Belvedere at Fuzhou University, Fujian, China.
His activities comprise: fieldwork on the Daoist liturgical traditions in South Taiwan (1962 - 1970), the founding of the European Association of Chinese Studies (1976); the Daozang Project of the European Science Foundation (1978 - 1984); the Beijing as a Sacred City Project (in cooperation with Professor Hou Renzhi of Beijing University) from 1988 to 1998; the Wujing (Five Classics) Translation Project of the International Confucius Institute Headquarters (together with Dr. Yuan Bingling) since 2007; etc.
Principal publications: L’empereur Wou des Han dans la légende taoïste (Hanwudi neizhuan). EFEO, Paris 1965 ; The Taoist Body ( University of California Press, Los Angeles 1993; originally published as Le corps taoïste - corps physique, corps social. Editions Arthème Fayard, Paris 1982) ; The Taoist Canon: A Historical Companion to the Daozang. The University of Chicago Press, 2004 (with Franciscus Verellen); Zhuang Zi: De volledige geschriften. Amsterdam, Uitgeverij Augustus 2007; La religion de la Chine - La tradition vivante. Paris, Fayard, 2008; Lao Zi - Het Boek van de Tao en de Innerlijke Kracht. Amsterdam, Uitgeverij Augustus, 2010; De Gesprekken van Confucius. Amsterdam, Uitgeverij Augustus, 2011 (forthcoming), and about one hundred articles in scholarly journals.
Kristofer Schipper is member of the Royal Academy of Sciences of the Netherlands. In 2004 he received the Friendship Medal of the People’s Republic of China.