Henri Maspero was the son of the Egyptologist Gaston Maspero. After initial studies with his father in Egypt, he returned to France and studied law and Édouard Chavannes Chinese and other languages of East Asia.
In 1908, he started for the branch of the École Française d' Extrême -Orient in Hanoi at work and employed henceforth with the languages and customs of the peoples of the Southeast Asian peninsula ( Indochina ).
In 1918 he became professor of Chinese Studies at the Collège de France, succeeding his teacher Édouard Chavannes. His new research focus was Daoism, about which he published a first short article in 1922. In 1927 he published " La Chine Antique ," a standard work on the history, literature and philosophy of ancient China.
In the 30s Henri Maspero published countless studies on the religion, the legal system and the economic history of China. He took over from Marcel Granet the Department of Chinese Studies at the Sorbonne and was the director of the department of religions of China at the École Pratique des Hautes Études. Since 1935 he was a regular member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres.
In July 1944, Henri Maspero by the Germans arrested " on suspicion of terrorist activities " and deported to Buchenwald.
Henri Maspero died on March 17, 1945 - shortly before liberation - in the Buchenwald concentration camp from exhaustion. The only German professor of Chinese Studies, which was not then a member of the NSDAP, Erich Haenisch by the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin, had lobbied unsuccessfully for his release.
Henri Maspero 's successor in Paris were Max Cold Kristofer Schipper and Mark.
- Le général d' Annam protectorat sous les Tang, in BEFEO 10, 1910, 539-551
- Contribution à l' étude du système des langues phonétique thai, in BEFEO 11, 1911, 153-169.
- Études sur la phonétique historique de la langue annamite: les initial, in BEFEO 12, 1912, 1-126.
- Études d' histoire d' Annam, in BEFEO 16, 1916, 1-55 and 18, 1918, 1-36.
- Le dialecte de Tch'ang - ngan sous les T'ang (1920 )
- Légendes Mythologiques dans le Chou king, in the Journal Asiatique in 1924
- La Chine antique, Paris 1927
- Mythology de la Chine moderne. Mythology asiatique illustrée, Paris 1928
- Prefixes et Dérivation en chinois archaïque (1930 )
- Mélanges sur les religions posthumous et l' histoire de la Chine, vol. 1: Les chinois religion, vol. 2: Le TAOISME, vol. 3: Études historiques, Paris 1950.
- Les institutions de la Chine, Paris 1952.
- Le TAOISME et les chinois religion, Paris 1950
- Les documents chinois de la troisième expédition de Sir Aurel Stein en Asie centrale, London 1953.
- Histoire et institutions de la Chine ancienne the origines au XIIe siècle après J.-C., Paris 1967.
- Le TAOISME et les religions chinois, Paris 1971