An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Government, Administration, and Law of the Three Empires

Oct 30, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald
The Emperor
Empresses, their kinsmen, and eunuchs
The heir apparent
The Counsellor-in-chief and the Dukes
The Censorate
Recruitment, ranking, and payment of state officials
Legal system
State finance
The Emperor and the imperial household

Following the traditional concept of rulership, the sovereign of the Chinese states and empires was the Son of Heaven (tianzi 天子) and had received from Heaven the mandate to rule (tianming 天命). In worldly matters, the emperor (huangdi) was the highest civilian and military authority of the empire. Important political decisions were to be pronounced by edicts and decrees (zhao 詔, ling 令) issued by the emperor, even if the content had been formulated by a corpus of advisors or single, powerful persons like Counsellors-in-chief or regents. The sovereign determined the appointment and dismissal of high state functionaries.

There were phases in the period between 200 and 600 CE when the factual power was lying in the hands of individual ministers and their supporters. Moreover, the emperor might be influenced by actors not belonging to the officialdom, like eunuchs or kinsmen of empresses. Such was the case in the last decades of the Eastern Han period 東漢 (25-220 CE). The last Han sovereign, Emperor Xian 漢獻帝 (r. 189-220), was abducted and controlled by several warlords, like Yuan Shao and Cao Cao. Emperor Ming of the Wei dynasty was dominated by the regents Cao Shuang and Sima Yi. Princes of Jin determined the succession of the Western Jin dynasty, and generals and princes of the Northern Wei steered the fate of this dynasty.

In several cases, regents were able to acquire the "nine privileges" (jiuxi 九錫) that were similar to the prerogatives of the sovereign, and in multiple cases, a regent forced a sovereign to hand over the Heavenly mandate to a new dynasty (shanrang), like Cao Pi, Sima Yan, and Liu Yu.

The non-Chinese states in the north combined the concept of the Chinese emperor with that of the khan (in Xiongnu language shanyu 單于) of the steppe federations. Liu Yuan was granted the use of the title of Northern shanyu, and adopted the title of da shanyu when he decided to rebel against the Jin. Baozi 豹子, grandfather 祖父 of Helian Bobo, was granted the title of 左賢王 and shanyu of the Dingling, his son Weichen 衛辰 was allowed by Fu Jian 堅to bear the title of 西單于. Helian Bobo himself was named 大單于. Shi Le was allowed by Liu Cong to call himself 東單于. The title of 單于 thus served as a mode of indirect government over certain groups of non-affiliated tribes, as in the case of Yao Yizhong, who was by the Jin made 大單于 and 大都督 over the six barbarian tribes (六夷). On the other hand, Fu Hong himself adopted the title of 大單于 and passed it on to his son Fu Jian 健. The rulers of the Yan states adopted the title of da shanyu of the Xianbei. Many of them held concurrently titles like 趙皇帝, 大夏天王, 三秦王 or else, and thus combined a Chinese with a non-Chinese title. Yet many of the northern rulers did pass on to their successors just the Chinese title, and not the that of khan. The latter was then reserved to another son. In this way, a dual system was created, with practically a double leadership, one by an emperor, and one by a khan. Liu Yuan’s oldest son Liu He was emperor, and his fourth son Liu Cong khan. When the latter usurped the imperial throne as emperor, he made Liu Yi 劉乂 (and later his own son Liu Can 劉粲) khan. Liu Yao made his son Liu Xi 劉熙 imperial heir apparent, and another son, Liu Yin 劉胤, khan. Shi Le’s nephew Shi Hu 石虎 was made shanyu yuanfu 元輔, a function with greatest military powers. Shi Le’s son Shi Hong 弘 was imperial heir apparent, and his son Shi Hong 宏 khan. Shi Hu, who eventually usurped the throne, unified the two functions for his son Shi Xuan 石宣. Therefore the Murong family who founded the Yan states in the northeast, did not separate the two functions. Murong Chui's son Murong Bao was both imperial heir apparent, and khan. The court of the khan was called shanyutai, with left and right xianwang. Murong Xi called it Yantai 燕臺, with zuoyou fu 左右輔, When the Chinese Feng Ba took over the state of Yan, he created a khan court with four assistants 四輔. In the administrative structure, the non-Chinese states likewise pursued a mode of mixture. When Liu Yuan was still khan, he invested kinsmen as princes with Xiongnu titles (於大王, 左獨鹿王, 鹿蠡王). When he adopted the title of king of Han in 304, he nominated an queen, a counsellor, a defender-in-chief, a censor, a dasinong, etc., and thus adopted the Chinese system. When assuming the title of emperor in 308, he nominated an empress, a heir apparent, a taishi, taifu, and taibao, da situ, and made Liu Cong dasima, great khan, and lu shangshu shi (head of the imperial secretariat.) When Liu Cong succeded to the throne, he went a step further in imitating the administrative structure of the Jin empire, but filled many positions with kinsmen. Positions in the central government were the Seven Dukes 上七公 (chengxiang, taishi, daifu, taibao, da situ, da sikong, da sima), 16 Generals-in-chief 大將軍, shangshu ling, shangshu puye, Censor-in-chief and 左右選曹尚書. Positions in the local administration were 左右司隸, shanyu 左右輔 and 州牧. The khan assistands controlled the 100,000 tribes 落 of the six barbarians, with one duwei per tribe. The Imperial Family

Female offices (nüguan 女官, hougong 後宮, gongguan 宮官) and palace personnel

According to Yin-Yang thought, the counterpart of the male officialdom were the various palace women who – like their male analogues – ranked according to their position. The main consort was the counterpart of the emperor, shufei that of the counsellor (nobility rank of prince), shuyuan that of the Censor-in-chief (rank xiangong), etc. Like male officials, palace women received regular salaries in grain. The number of palace women amount to nearly 10,000 in the early Jin period (50). Guibin, furen, and guiren – the three furen - corresponded to the honorific ranks of the Three Dukes, and the jiubin (shufei, shuyuan, shuyi, xiuhua, xiurong, xiuyi, jieyu, ronghua, and chonghua) to the nine ministers qiuqing. Palace women did carry out similar functions like in the “male” buraucracy, like compiling official diaries, divination, arranging food, clothing, implement and paraphenalia, or preparing ceremonies, etc. There existed in fact two staffs of palace women, namely that of the empress dowager and that of the empress. The Heir Apparent Following traditional custom the Heir Apparent was the oldest son of the main consort (di zhangzi). He resided in the Eastern Palace (donggong). In several cases, reasonings led to the nomination of another offspring as heir apparent. Cao Zhi, being the second surviving son of Cao Cao, was deemed a better potential ruler than his older brother Cao Pi – who in the end won the day. The irregular exchange of the heir apparent was often preceded by fierce discussions in which ancient rules and precedents were quoted to support the tradition of naming the oldest son heir apparent, even if younger sons might be more competent. Thus, Emperor Wu of the Jin dynasty, accepted the nomination of his son Sima Zhong, and not the perhaps better choice Sima You 司馬攸 (246-283), the sovereign’s half-brother. This strict view of 父子相傳 was given up later. After the passing away of Emperor Cheng of the Jin dynasty, regent Yu Bing selected the late emperor’s half brother Sima Yue, and not one of his under-age sons. This suceesion was called 兄終弟及. Yet when Emperor Kang died, his two-sui old son Sima Ran was enthroned. His mother Empress Chu presided the court sessions (linchao chengzhi), and her father Chu Pou 褚裒 (303-350) acted as regent. In case a ruler had no heir, the usual succession was brothers or nephews. The Southern and Northern Dynasties followed the established rule in most cases. The staff in the Eastern Palace consisted of two groups, namely instructors and retainers on the one hand, and administrative personnel on the other. Instructors served for the political and moral education of the crown prince. In the state of Wu, Crown Prince Deng 登 was advised by the "four friends" 四友 Zhuge Ke as 左輔, 張休 as 右弼, 顧譚 as 輔正, and 陳表 as 翼正都尉. In addition, the prince was served and advised by four 賓客, some of which did not hold proper offices. In 267, the offices of 太子太傅 and 太子少傅 were introduced, supported by 功曹, 主簿 and yuanshu 掾屬. In 275, the Jin dynasty introduced the office of 太子詹事, who managed the household of the heir apparent. Shortly later, six persons (taizi liufu 太子六傅) were appointed, 太保少保, 太傅少傅, 太師少師 (called 帥 in order to avoid the personal same of 司馬師). The Southern and Northern dynasties did not always appoint persons to the full of the six posts. The office of taizi zhanshi was irregularly filled during the time. The household of the Heir Apparent was built like a small central government, with shangshu lingpu 尚書令僕 (wie 尚書丞), 曹書佐 (wie 諸曹郎), 中庶子 (wie 門下侍中), 庶子 (wie 中書監), and so on. 家令寺, 率更令寺, 僕寺, 左右衛坊率,門下坊,典書坊(wie zhongshusheng). Grown-up Heir Apparents were often allowed to participate in or even conduct military campaigns or make political decisions, like Prince Zhaoming 昭明太子 during the Liang period, or Tuoba Huang 拓跋晃 during the Northern Wei peirod. The crown princes’ military duties were the precursor of the 東宮帥府 system of the Tang period.

The imperial house

Princes of the imperial house were classified according to the traditional pattern of discerning not just between older and younger sons, but also between sons of the main consort (di 嫡) and offsprings of secondary wives (shu 庶). The ranks were officially determined by a xxx 宗正 or 宗正寺卿, who was one of the nine ministers jiuqing. The princes competed for power with high functionaries.

The Wei dynasty invested princes (wanggong 王公) with princedoms (王國) or marquisates (侯國), depending on the rank. These estates were equipped with a civilian bureaucracy and with troops of their own, but on the top of the functionaries of princedoms was a 督輔監國官員 who was entrusted by the imperial court to controll the activities of princes. Princes of the house of Cao were not allowed to visit the capital, not even to leave their residence for distant hunting campaigns. The saddest case was Cao Zhi, who was deemed a highly competent person, but was confined to his own estates. The consequence of this suppressive arrangement was that the sovereigns of the Wei dynasty could not count on the support of their kinsmen. The Jin dynasy therefore turned around the pattern and used the imperial princes as “viceregents” throughout the empire, similar to the regional rulers (zhuhou 諸侯) of the Western Zhou period: “Princes were sent out for local defence” (zongwang chu zhen 宗王出鎮), and were therefore granted substantial military functions as 都督. Princedoms were dispensed according to three different grades. The largest of them had a military body of 5,000 men. The result of this arrangement was that princes of the Sima family had sufficient forces to interfere into court politics, like the enthronement of the sovereign, as happened during the bawang zhi luan. The Eastern Jin dynasty as an exile regime in the southwest was critically dependend on the support of the distinguished families (menfa). Many of them were able to occupy important government positions over generations, and likewise influenced the succession of the throne. In order to counter this tendency, rulers of the Southern Dynasties trusted functionaries from the lower social ranks (hanmen) and appointed them to important positions in the Palace Secretariat or the Chancellery. In order to prevent imperial princes from usurpatorious steps and to eliminate competitors, fratricide was a common phenomenon during the Southern Dynasties period.

In the non-Chinese states of north China, the sovereigns relied to a great exent on the support of their kinsmen, and appointed princes to influential positions in government and military. The Northern Zhou thus established an ethnic bureaucratic government mainly staffed by members of the Taghbach people.

The disastrous paradigm of the Later Han period gave the lesson that kinsmen of empresses (waiqi 外戚) were strictly to be prohibited from interference into government affairs. Emperor Wen prohibited to submit petitions or memorials directly to an Empress Dowager, restricted the access of their kinsmen to high offices, and interdicted the bestowal of honorific ranks without concrete merits. Any disregard for these rules should be sanctioned (天下共誅之). Emperor Wu of the Song dynasty ordained that in case an under-age prince was enthroned, military matters would be determined by the Counsellor, and the Empress Dowager or the sovereign’s mother (muhou 母后) not allowed to interfere into politics. An old law of the Taghbach even requested that the mother of a freshly appointed crown prince should be killed. In their place, foster mothers (baomu 保母, later called 保太后) took over the role of influencing young emperors. Examples were Ms Dou 竇, , the foster mother of Emperor Taiwu, or Ms Chang 常, that of Emperor Wencheng. Lu Lingxuan 陸令萱 was the most trusted person of her foster/son, emperor Gao Wei 高緯, last ruler of the Northern Qi. She succeeded in eliminating Empress Hulü 斛律皇后 and her kinsmen and have her daughter made empress.

The only case during the whole period when an empress brought disaster to a dynasty was Empress Jia, consort of Emperor Hui, who killed Empress Dowager Yang and her father Yang Jun, the regent. During the Eastern Jin period, Empress Dowager Yu Wenjun reigned for Emperor Cheng. Later, Empress Dowager Chongde 崇德太后 (Chu Suanzi) was reigning for no less than four decades. Empress Dowager 文安王 determined the succession of the Qi dynasty. Yet even in all these cases, the power of their kinsmen was limited.

The most notorious example in the north was Empress Feng 馮太后, consort of Emperor Wencheng and regent for Emperor Xianwen. She showed a hard hand in putting down the turmoil of Yi Huan, and introduced several pathbraking reforms like the 三長制 or the 均田制. Or Empress Hu 胡太后, who reigned for her foster/son Emperor Xiaoming.

Emperor Wie likewise restricted the access of eunuchs to the "outer palace", where policy was made. The highest possible rank of a eunuch was 諸署令. Nonetheless, there were cases of eunuch influence. The second ruler of Shu-Han, Liu Chan, for intance, relied on Huang Hao 黃皓, and the official dynastic history Weishu, includes a special chapter (Yanguan zhuan) on influential eunuchs, with positive examples of honest and highly merited persons, but also with negative examples who did not shy away from murder, like Zong Ai 宗愛 or Liu Teng 劉騰. Zong was appointed zhongshangsi and invested as Commandery Duke of Taijun 泰郡公, and Liu played a crucial role during the regency of Empress Dowager Hu.

The Counsellor-in-chief and the Dukes

The office of the Counsellor-in-chief dates from the Qin dynasty, but it termed with different designations, namely chengxiang 丞相, xiangguo 相國, da situ 大司徒 or situ 司徒. The Chief Counsellor was not just the supreme minister of the central government, but was also expected to "assist the sovereign" in important political decisions. In many cases, the assumption of the title of Counsellor-in-chief was a preliminary step for eventual usurpation of the throne.

When Dong Zhuo 董卓 kidnapped the Han emperor, he usurped the function of the Chief Counsellor, and thus created a paradigm imitated by later potentates. The Six Dynasties did not regularly appoint persons to this post, but if it was filled, it was powerful persons among the ministers who took over this function, like Sima Zhao 司馬昭 (211-265) and Sima Yan 司馬炎 (Emperor Wu 晉武帝, r. 265-290) under the Cao-Wei dynasty, Zhuge Liang 諸葛亮 (181-234) in the empire of Shu-Han, the princes Sima Lun 司馬倫 (240-301), Sima Tong 司馬彤 (d. 302), Sima Ying 司馬穎 (279-306) and Sima Bao 司馬保 (296-320) under the Western Jin, Wang Dao 王導 (276-339) and Wang Dun 王敦 (266-324) under the Eastern Jin, Liu Yixuan 劉義宣 (415-454) under the Liu-Song dynasty, Yi Hun 乙渾 (d. 466) under the Northern Wei, Gao Yang 高羊 (Emperor Wenxuan 北齊文宣帝, r. 550–559) under the Eastern Wei, or Yuwen Tai 宇文泰 (505-556) under the Western Wei.

The Northern Qi and the Northern Zhou (in a later phase, dazhongzai or tianguan in the early phase) split up the office into that of Counsellor to the Left (zuo chengxiang 左丞相) and Counsellor to the Right (you chengxiang 右丞相). Under the Southern Qi dynasty in the south, the title of Counsellor-in-chief became a honorific designation (zengguan 贈官), and thus resembled the titles of the Three Dukes (sangong 三公: taiwei 太尉 "Defender-in-chief, situ 司徒, and sikong 司空) which lost political functions in the late Eastern Han period. This is also true for the functions of taiwei 太尉, taibao 太保, and taishi 太師(during the Jin called taizai 太宰 in order to avoid the word shi 師) which were purely honorific. The Northern Zhou dynasty followed the model of the ritual Classic Zhouli 周禮 and added to the Three Dukes the titles and posts for the three lesser dukes (sangu 三孤 “three solitaries”), shaoshi 少師, shaofu 少傅, shaobao 少保. 八公

Northern zhou: da situ = diguan, da zongbo chunguan. Etc. In 579, creation of the 四輔, i.e. 大前疑, 大右弼, 大左輔, and 大後承. Each one of the “dukes”, nonetheless, had his own court (kai fu 開府) and staff, and had a right to speak at the court, and could thus theoretically take part in policital negotiations. Som e of the dukes even were allowed to have companies of soldiers. This was also true for the Counsellors which disposed of a large staff.

Apart from the taiwei, the Three Empires used the offices of da sima 大司馬 and da jiangjun 大將軍 (er da 二大) which were likewise often just honorific titles.

In the hierarchy of court officials, the person next to the Counsellor-in-chief and the Defender-in-chief was the Censor-in-chief (see Censorate).

八公 N-S DIV (N. Wei): Eight Dukes, from 414 a collective reference to an ever-enlarged group of eminent personages considered the topmost echelon of the officialdom, each with a large staff though without any prescribed function except to give counsel when called on; derived from the earlier term Three Dukes (san kung, q.v.), instituted in acknowledgment that the number 3 was no longer adequate. The group commonly included several kinds of Counselors-in-chief (ch'eng-hsiang, tso ch'eng-hsiang, yu ch'eng-hsiang, hsiang-kuó) and such titles as Minister of Education (ssu-t'u\ Minister of Works (ssu-k'ung), Censor-in-chief (yu-shih ta-fu), Commander-in-chief (ta ssu-ma), Defender-in-chief (t'ai-wei), General-in-chief (ta chiang-chūn), Pillar of State (chu-kuo)’ and Bulwark of Government ifu-cheng). 五省 (1) N-S DIV (Liang): reference to the Department of State Affairs (shang-shu sheng)t Chancellery (men-hsia sheng) t Secretariat (chung-shu sheng) y Palace Library (pi-shu sheng), and Department of Scholarly Counselors (chi-shu sheng). 東省 is 集書省 西省 is 中書省

The Palace Secretariat (zhongshusheng 中書省)

The Palace Secretariat was an internal organisation for the management of documents the origins of which were created during the reign of Emperor Wu 漢武帝 (r. 141-87 BCE) of the Han dynasty. The staff was led by a Secretariat Director (zhongshu ling 中書令), who was assisted by a Vice Director (zhongshu puye [!] 中書仆射). The warlord Cao Cao 曹操 (155-220), ennobled as king of Wei 魏, created a parallel state structure for his quasi-autonomous kingdom. The introduced the post of Director of the Palace Library (bishu ling 祕書令), who handled the flow of documents up and down and supervised the palace archive. The founder of the Wei dynasty 曹魏 (220-265), Emperor Wen 魏文帝 (r. 220-226), distributed the duties into that of the Palace Library (bishufu 祕書府) and the Palace Secretariat (zhongshu fu 中書府) proper which was headed by a Secretariat Supervisor (zhongshu jian 中書監) and a Director (zhongshu ling). They were assisted by several *inner secretarial court gentlemen (zhongshu lang 中書郎, zhongshu shilang 中書侍郎). The term zhongshu sheng was introduced during the reign of Emperor Ming 魏明帝. During the Taihe reign-period 太和, there was a sub-institution called zhuzuoju 著作局.

The staff of the Secretariat consisted of secretarial receptionists (tongshilang 通事郎, from the Jin on tongshi sheren 通事舍人), secretaries (zhushu 主書), scribes (zhushi 主事), clerks (lingshi 令史), and other managerial persons. The secretaries and scribes were originally military offices, but the Liu-Song dynasty decided to fill the posts with civilian personnel. The Supervisor and the Director were obliged to use a common coach, but since Supervisor He Qiao 和嶠 (d. 292), slightly higher in rank than Director Xun Xu 荀勗 (d. 289), refused to share one vehicle, the two offices were allowed a separate coach each. The Palace Secretariat was in duty of drafting official documents, and the personnel therefore was expected to master the literary language, as did for instance, the famous calligrapher Wang Xianzhi 王獻之 (344-386). For some time, the Secretariat was subordinated to the *Department of Cavaliers Attendant (sanjisheng 散騎省) and the Department of Scholarly Counselors (jishushengy 集書省).

The four (from the Chen period on five) secretarial receptionists fulfilled their duties in the "Western Section" (xisheng 西省) in turn. They were responsible for the drafting of memorials submitted to the throne, but in some periods also for the drafting of edicts and proclamations.

Function and power of the Palace Secretariat changed over time. While the Han dynasty had relied on the Counsellor-in-chief and the Imperial Secretariat (shangshusheng), Cao Cao and Emperor Wen of Wei relied on the heads of the Palace Secretariat Liu Fang 劉放 (d. 250) or Sun Zi 孫資 (d. 251), who were responsible not just for drafting edicts, but also for the political strategies behind them, for instance, the launching of military campaigns or the appointing of regents like Sima Yi and Cao Shuang. The Imperial Secretariat was thus disempowered. The power of Directors like Miao Bo 繆播 (d. 309) or Xun Xu inspired people to call the Palace Secretariat "Phoenix Pond" (Fenghuangchi 鳳凰池), a name derived from a pond on the areal of the complex.

During the Liu-Song period, the function of the inner secretarial court gentlemen (zhongshu shilang) was taken over by the secretarial receptionists (tongshi sheren), who gradually absorbed more power. Important secretarial court gentlemen were Zhang Hua 張華 (232-300) and Wang Ji 王濟. The Eastern Jin dynasty relied from the beginning on the support of secretarial court gentlemen like Yi Xian 伊羨, Zhao 趙咸 or Liu Chao 劉超 (d. 329). They were called "gentlemen of the Western Department" (Xisheng lang 西省郎). The first receptionist who rose in power was Zhong Hui 鍾會 (255-264), who was an excellent drafter and highly estimated by Sima Shi. The tendency of second-rank officials gaining more influence was due to the phenomenon that several long-term Supervisors handed over office duties to their sons, e.g. Xun Xu to Xun Zu 荀組, Zhang Yi 張廙 to Zhang Hui 張薈, Fu Zhi 傅祗 (245-312) to Fu Chang 傅暢 (d. 330), or Xi Han 嵇含 (263-306), who did not pursue his duties at all. Liu Yu, founder of the Liu-Song dynasty, relied on the middle stratum of Secretariat officials, filled by persons hailing from the "cold doors" (hanmen 寒門), and used them as a tool against the higher echelon the posts of which were occupied by members of the distinguished families. Thus, secretarial receptionists like Dai Faxing 戴法興 (414-465), Dai Mingbao 戴明寶, Cai Xian 蔡閑, Chao Shangzhi 巢尚之, Ruan Dianfu 阮佃夫 (427-477), Wang Daolong 王道隆 (d. 474) or Yang Yuanchang 楊遠長 were allowed entrance into the imperial chambers, while the secretarial work was passed on to the secretaries and scribes. The four gates xxx 四戶 had the same power as the jishizhong of the Chanceelery. The Liang dynasty called the office zhongshu sheren.

The Northern Wei dynasty clarified the ranks of the officialdom and put the staff of the Palace Secretariat head in lower positions than their colleagues from the Imperial Secretariat. For some time, there was the rank of zhongshu yilang 中書義郎. Emperor Xiaowen renamed the zhongshusheng "Western Terrace" (Xitai 西臺). The Supervisor had the duty to instruct the Heir Apparent or other princes of the imperial house, a function unifying political with ceremonial power. Secretarial Supervisor Gao Cheng 高澄 (521-549) of the Eastern Wei was an influential minister. Here as well as in the Nothern Qi state, the Palace Secretariat was also responsible for musical entertainment. The Northern Zhou reintroduced the antiquated term neishizhong dafu 內史中大夫 under the Spring Office.

The Chancellery

The Chancellery (menxiasheng 門下省) was created by the Jin dynasty as a full-fledged institution of its own, after Emperor Wen of the Cao-Wei had established the shizhongcao 侍中曹 and sanjicao 散騎曹. In 254, the shizhongcao was renamed shizhongsi 侍中寺. It was headed by shizhong 侍中 and jishi Huangmen shilang 給事黃門侍郎. The Chancellery was also controlling the sanji sheng, a department led by sanji changshi 散騎常侍. There were four shizhong in duty and 2 sanji changshi, and an undefined number of honorific ones. In the early Wei state, sanji shilang 散騎侍郎 were introduced.also 通直散騎常侍 and 侍郎, 員外散騎常侍, and 侍郎, and 奉朝請.

Controlled documents, organized rituals and ceremonies., evaluated the memorials handed in by the Imperial Secretariat (平尚書事). Expostulate 規諫 The heads of the Chancellery guided an suported (對扶) the emperor when he was mounting the steps of the great halls. The selection of personnel for these posts was an important matter during the Jin period, and the post of shizhong was filled by excellently educated persons like Shan Tao 山濤, Pei Kai 裴楷, Guo Yi 郭奕 or Wang Ji 王濟. Zhang Hua 張華 as Huangmen shilang was likewise deemed as an expert OHNEGLEICHEN. Hua Jiao, sanji shilang Liu Shao 劉劭. Jishizhong originated in the Qin period, but the Wei and Jin did not fix a number of these functionaries. Famous persons were Yuan Xiaoju 袁孝居 and Chen Shao 陳劭, Zhang Jian 張建. Western Jin Chancellery cooperates with the Palace Secretariat in drafting documents. Responsible for ceremonial music, astronomy and divination, documents from the Nantai Terrace.Overshadowed the Imperial Secretariat and had the right to remonstrate jianzheng 諫諍. From the Eastern Jin period on, edicts and proclamations (制詔) passed the Chancellery before they were promulgated, and the sanji sheng controlled the 表詔. In the 320s, the right of drafing proclamatoins was taken out of the hands of the Palace Secretariat and given into the hans of the Chancellery, but was soon given back.Zhongshusheng included in the menxiasheng. Or unified in the xisheng. During the Southern Dynasties period, the personal influence of shizhong on the emperor grew. The Chancellery was responsible not just for documentary issues, but also for the sovereign’s protection, coaches and horses, medicine and food. The reason was that the members of the Palace Secretariat often had a low social background, and thus seemed less trustworthy than members of the social elite serving in the Chancellery like Wang Hua 王華, Wang Tanshou 王曇首, Liu Zhen 劉湛 or Yin Jingren 殷景仁. Emperor Xiaowu of the Song and the rulers of the Qi dynasty are said to have selected couples of shizhong accordig to their outer appearance. Some of them like He Yan 何偃 wielded great influence on the emperor and the filling of vacancies. Under the Liang and Chen dynasties, the exchange of competent personnel between the Zhongshu and the Menxia was reintroduced. The Northern Wei introduced the Chancellery in 491. Shizhong and huamgmen like Yu Zhong 于忠 and Yuan Zhao 元昭 could influence the passing on of memorials to the throne. Yuan Yong 元雍 concurrently held the positions of shizhong, taiwei and taibao, and exerted great influence on political decisions of Emperor Xiaoming. Shizhong were therefore called the “junior counsellors” (xiao zaixiang), or the “three wise men” Wang Zunye 王遵業, Yuan Fan 袁翻 and Wang Song 王誦. The Chancellery of the Northern Qi was divided into six departments, 左右局, 尚食局, 尚藥局, 主衣局, 齋帥局, 殿中局. The Chancellery had even the right to renounce edicts. The analogon of the Chancellery shizhong under the Northern Zhou were 御伯中大夫 (納言中大夫).

Policy Making

Even if the emperor was am absolute monarch, the sovereign relied on the advice and support of functionaries either from the officialdom or in the shape of regents or the Empress Dowager. The Han-period office of Counsellor-in-chief was not abolished during the period of division, but rarely occupied. His function was taken over by leading personnel of the Imperial Secretariat, but much more from the Palace Secretariat and the Chancellery. Advice might also come from the side of the Censor-in-chief, who controlled the discipline of the whole officialdom, or the Defender-in-chief, the most influential one of the Eight Dukes. Decision over policy matters thus came not necessarily from high dignitaries, but from mid-rank officials.

Cao Cao established the Palace Secretariat in his own residence in Xu. Imperial edicts were drafted in Xu before being sent to the Imperial Secretariat in Ye, where the edicts were pronounced. Yet even in the central ducal/royal seat in Ye, documents were checked once more by the Imperial Library which stood under the influence of Cao. The legislation thus was controlled by Cao Cao in person, and not the imperial bureaucracy.

During the Cao-Wei period, the Palace Secretariat and the Chancellery mutually supported each other in the legislation process, while the Imperial Secretariat was just part of the executive process (122).In some instances, the Imperial Secretariat was even bypassed and ordinances directly forwarded from the throne to the provinces and commanderies. During the reign of Emperor Ming, the heads of the Palace Secretariat were factual regents, while the nominal regents were powerless. Even the appointment of regents like Sima Yi was influenced by the Secretariat. Liu Fang 劉放 (d. 250) "feigned" proclamations (jiao zhao 矯詔) and compiled edicts in the name of the sovereign. The same was done by Empress Jia Nanfeng of the Jin period.

During the Eastern Jin period, political decisions were formulated by the Chancellery. This institution was able to reject proposals and suggestions of the Imperial Secretariat and the Palace Secretariat as well. The real power of policy making was in the hands of xxx zhongshu sheren Liu Chao 劉超, or with sanji changshi Liu Wei 劉隗 (273-333). The Southern Dynasties strengthened the Chancellery in order to check the Palace Secretariat. Early Song sanjisheng becomed jishusheng, cut out of the menxiasheng. 456 Emperor Xiaowei tries to strengthen the jishusheng by appointing competent sansji changshi. Liang Wudi cuts down the number of officials and rearranges it. Power comes thus back to the zhongshusheng.

Early Northern Wie power with the shizhong as factual regents, later with the menxiasheng. Eastern Wie power in the hands of zhongshujian Gao Cheng. Sui integreates the jishucheng into the manxiasheng and strips the three sheng of their power, reducing them to executive agencies instead of legislative ones.

The Imperial Secretariat

The Imperial Secretariat (shangshu sheng 尚書省, also called shangshu tai 尚書臺 or houtai 後臺), hailing from the Qin period, was headed by a Director (shangshu ling 尚書令) and his deputies, two Vice Directors (shangshu puye 尚書僕射, a special reading). Apart from these persons, high dignitaries were sometimes conferred the title of Overseer of the Imperial Secretariat (lu shangshu shi 錄尚書事) or Chief Overseer (zonglu 總錄), allowing them to concurrently act in their proper field, and as (factual) head of the Secretariat. In the empires of Shu and Wu, the function was also called Arbiter of the Affairs (ping shangshu shi 平尚書事), and in Wu, Director of Affairs (ling shangshu shi 令尚書事), Supervisor of Affairs (sheng shangshu shi 省尚書事), or *Dispenser of Affairs of the Imperial Secretariat (fen shangshu shi 分尚書事). The transfer of dual power also worked in the other way, for instance, a Director could be entrusted with military command during a campaign. During the early Western Jin period, many Grand Mentors (taifu) were concurrently Directors of the Imperial Secretariat. Yet the princes Sima Yong 司馬顒 and Sima Yue 司馬越 concurrently held the post of director of all three departments, and the palace library as well, and were thus able to dominate the central government in near absolute power. During the Eastern Jin period, Sima Daozi 司馬道子 and Sima Yuanxian 司馬元顯 shared the power of the Secretariats, as "Eastern Overseer" (donglu 東錄), and "Western Overseer" (xilu 西錄), respectively, and were thus called the "Two Overseers" (erlu 二錄) or the "Couple of Overseers" (duilu 對錄). In other constellations, factions controlled three or four departments as "Three" or "Four Overseers" (sanlu 三錄, silu 四錄). The designations lu liutiao 錄六條 and lu qitiao 錄七條 quite probably referred to six or seven groups of duties inside and beyond the secretariat (130-131).

The designation Overseer of the Imperial Secretariat (lu shangshu shi) was not known in the early Northern Wei empire. Instead, the Northern Wei used the term *Communicator of the Offices of the 36 Sections (tong shu sanshilu cao 通署三十六曹) or Overseer of the Affairs of the 36 Sections (zong sanshiliu cao shi 總三十六曹事, lu sanshilu cao 錄三十六曹), in case a high dignitary was concurrently entrusted with the chair of the Imperial Secretariat. During the reign of Emperor Xiaowen, the designation of the Southern Dynasties was adopted.

The Northern Zhou did not use the term, and with the foundation of the Sui dynasty, it was abolished.

The Director of the Imperial Secretariat organized the complete paperwork and the ceremonies of the court. Together with the Metropolitan Commandant (sili xiaowei 司隸校尉) and the Palace Aide to the Censor-in-chief (yushi zhongcheng 御史中丞), he presided each court audience. He was thus as powerful as the Counsellors-in-chief during the Former Han period, and was practically the head of all court officials. During the Southern Dynasties period, the position of the Vice Directors (shangshu puye) increased, and the three persons shared power. Moreover, all of them dependent on the cooperation with the distinguished families. During the Southern Dynasties period, the positions of Vice Directors were exclusively filled with persons from northern "exile" families (qiao 僑).

There were six sections (liu caocao shangshu 曹尚書). These six, along with the Director and Vice Director, were called the "eight seats" (ba zuo 八座). The Wei dynasty only used five Imperial Secretaries, but introduced the second Vice Directors. The term "eight seats” thereafter fell into oblivion. When the position of Director was vacant, the higher, left Vice Director took over the respective duties. In case one of the Vice Director positions was vacant, the Imperial Secretary of the Section for Sacrifices (cibu shangshu 祠部尚書) took over concurrently. The Vice Directors were responsible for proofreading of documents, and under the Southern Dynasties, also took over the selection of personnel, and thus controlled the Section for Personnel (libu cao 吏部曹). The left Vice Director was factual head of the Section for Palace Affais (dianzhong cao 殿中曹) and the Section for Receptions (kecao 客曹), and the right one of the Section for Personnel and the Section for Rituals (yicao 儀曹).

The function of Aide to the Imperial Secretaries (shangshu cheng 尚書丞) originated in the Han period, but was transformed to the function of left and right Assistant Director of the Imperial Secretariat. The Left Assistant Director was responsible for the palace guard (neijin ling 內禁令), the ancestral temples, divination, court ceremonies, regulations and decrees (ge zhi 格制), and some questions of personnel (like investigation and impeachment of officials, tan'an 彈案). The Right Assistant Director observed the coaches, tools and implements, part of the tax revenue in kind, penal tools, and documents from the provinces concerning arsenals, census and household registers, as well as issues of land ownership.

The chief clerks (du lingshi 都令史) transferred the draft documents of the Palace Secretariat into fine calligraphy. The number was 8 during the Jin period, assisted by no less than 120 clerks (zheng lingshi 正令史) and 130 secretarial clerks (shu lingshi 書令史). The Liang dynasty reduced the number of chief clerks to five. The Northern Wei staff differed from this. For each of the 36 sections of the Imperial Secretariat, one clerk (lingshi 令史) was appointed, as well as 1 translator (yi lingshi 譯令史) and one secretarial clerk.

xxx Das Imperial Secretariat ersetzt nach und nach die alten jiuqing-Minister und wird somit die zentrale Verwaltungsinstitution des Kaiserreichs.

The Imperial Secretariat was originally subordinated to the Chamberlain for the Palace Revenues (shaofu 少府), who was responsible for the administration of the imperial household. He received and transferred documents and archived them. In the mid-Eastern Han period, the six sections took shape. The Imperial Secretariat during that time received imperial edicts and managed the paperwork with the respective administrative agencies throughout the empire. It thus replaced more or less the Counsellors-in-chief and the Censors-in-chief, in both civilian and military matters. Yet the powers of decision making were soon shifted to the newly founded Palace Secretariat (zhongshu sheng), and in the course of time also to the Chancellery (menxia sheng). The officials of both institutions had a much closer relationship to the sovereign than the heads of the Imperial Secretariat. The latter was thus degraded to an executive institution, while the two former can be called actors of legislation. On the other hand, the range of duties of the Imperial Secretariat expanded widely and it was not just responsible for the organization of the daily business of the emperor and the court, but also questions concerning the administration of the whole empire, mainly through the six sections. This included also military matters as well as state revenue.

Over time, the number of imperial secretaries changed from between 5 and 7 persons, whose designations were also altered sometimes.(144) hierarchy Cao-Wei 吏部, 左民,客曹,五兵,度支 Early Western Jin 吏部,三公,客曹,駕部,屯田,度支 Late Western Jin 吏部,殿中,五兵,田曹,度支,民部 Eastern Jin 吏部,祠部,五兵,左民,度支 Nanchao 吏部,祠部,度支,左民,都官,五兵,起部 Early Beiwei 殿中,南部,北部,吏部,儀曹,都官,庫部, and other terms Beiwei 吏部,殿中,祠部(儀曹), 七兵,都官,度支 Beiqi 吏部,殿中,祠部,五兵,都官,度支 The traditional designations (but not their rank or order) were introduced by the Sui dynasty. 吏部,禮部,兵部,刑部,民部,工部.

The system of the early Northern Wei was quite complex and included more than 20 imperial secretaries. The 殿中shangshu was usually occupied by a prince of blood. It was responsible for the administration of the metropolitan region. The Nanbu of the Northern Wei was entrusted with questions of personnel, and of the southern regions, while the Beibu administered affairs of the north. The rest of the sections was entrusted with specialized duties. Through the ages, the section of personnel was the most important one, and the revenue section (duzhi) the lowest in rank – barring the Southern Dynasties period. The system of the Northern Zhou differed. Sections were guided by shangshu lang and shangshuo zuo-you cheng. Shangshu shilang, shangshu langzhong The Wei dynasty had 23 sections, from 234 on even 25, namely dianzhong, libu, jiabu, jinbu, yubu, bibu, nan zhuke, cibu, duzhi, kubu, nongbu, shuibu, yicao, sangong, cangbu, minbu, erqianshi 二千石, zhongbing, waibing, dubing, biebing, kaogong 考功, dingke 定課(or 科), duguan, jiabing. Each of them directed by a Secretarial Court Gentleman. The Jin abolished the nongbu, dingke and kaogong and introduced the 直事 and the yuncao 運曹, and retained the dianyhong, cibu, yicao, libu, sangong, bibu, jinbu, cangbu, duzhi, duguan, erqianshi, zuomin, youmin, yucao, tuntian, qibu, shuicao, zuo zhuke, you zhuke, jiabu, chebu, kubu, zuo zhongbing, you zhongbing, zuo waibing, you waibing, biebing, dubing, qibing, zuoshi 左士, youshi 右士, bei zhuke, nan zhuke, making out 35 sections, supervised by just 23 Secretarial Court Gentlemen. The Eastern Jin abolished 15 of them (zhishi, youmin, tuntian, chebu, biebing, qibing, dubing, zuoshi, youshi, yuncao, yucao, erqianshi, zhuke, qibu, shuibu) and merged the four receptions sections (later abolished) and the mirrored military sections, resulting in just 15 sections, namely duanzhong, cibu, libu, yicao, sangong, bibu, jinbu, cangbu, duzhi, duguan, zuomin, jiabu, kubu, zhongbing, waibing, each headed by a Secretarial Court Gentleman. The Liu-Song added again the qibing, zhuke, qinbu, shuibu, and the shanding and gonglun 功論 sections. They later abolished the qibing, resulting in 20 sections. There seems to have been a hierarchy between the sections. The Southern Dynasties knew the following arrangement: Zuo puye: dianzhong, zhuke You puye: cibu, yicao Libu shangshu: libu, shanding, sangong, bibu Duzhi shangshu. Duzhi, jinbu, cangbu, qibu Zuomin shangshu: zuomin, jiabu Duguan shangshu. Duguan, shuibu, kubu, gonglun Wubing shangshu. Zhongbing, waibing The Liang reintroduced the qibing, yucao and tuntian, with 23 sections. Apart from that, the rank of each sectoin was expressed in different ranks of the Secretarial Court Gentleman, namely lang, langzhong, shilang. The Northern Wei had 26 sections, the Northern Qi 28 cao with 30 langzhong, with the libu cao and the sangong cao having two langzhong. The Western Wei reduced this number to 12 sections. Shangshu langs wurden immer bedeutsamer.

The post of Imperial Secretary for Personnel (libu shangshu 吏部尚書) originated in the Eastern Han-period institution of the Selections Section (xuancao 選曹). Cao Cao’s administrative staff included a clerk of the eastern section (dongcao yuan 東曹掾), who was responsible for the selection of personnel. The warlord’s son, Cao Pi (Emperor Wen) transformed this post into that of the Imperial Secretary for Personnel. Secretary Chen Qun 陳群 introduced the nine-rank system (jiupin zhongzheng zhi) for the gradation of offices and the selection of appropriate personnel according to the family rank. In the Shu-Han empire, the position was split into left and right Secretaries. The Imperial Secretary for Personnel was a person of heavy weight in the administration of the Wei, Jin and Southern Dynasties empires. Wang Rong 王戎 suggested to introduce a system of probation (shiyong zhi 試用制) for this post before officials were properly appointed. Li Yin 李胤 initiated the promulgation of rules for official selection, the code Xuanli 選例. In practice, the influence of distinguished families overshadowed the selection of personnel according to professional qualities. Proficient Imperial Secretaries therefore had to study the ranked-family registers (baijia pu 百姓譜). In order to check the influence of the powerful families, Emperor Wu of the Liu-Song dynasty therefore specifically appointed loyal persons from lower social ranks (hanmen) to the post of Imperial Secretary and thus secured the independence of the ruling house. The influence of the Imperial Secretary for Personnel was so great that Overseer of the Imperial Secretariat (lu shangshu shi 錄尚書事) Xu Xian 徐羨 developed the rule that the selection of candidates for high offices was to be made conjointly by the lmperial Secretary and the Overseer. During the Liu-Song period, the Imperial Secretary was in control of the Section for Personnel (libu cao 吏部曹), the Discipline Section (shanding cao 刪定曹), the Section for the Three Dukes (sangong cao 三公曹), and the Review Section (bibu cao 比部曹). Emperor Xiaowu therefore divided the Selections Section into a northern one (beixuancao 北選曹) and a southern one (nanxuancao 南選曹) to curtail its power. Under the Northern Wei dynasty, the Section for Personnel was not a very strong institution, and the selection of candidates was rarely following codified criteria (152). The Northern Zhou dynasty created the office of Ordinary Grand Master of the Section for Personnel (libu zhong dafu 吏部中大夫) who corresponded to the Imperial Secretary. The Sui dynasty eventually transformed this section to the Ministry of Personnel (libu 吏部). The Eastern Han founded the position of Imperial Secretary for the Populace (mincao shangshu 民曹尚書) who was responsible for administration of imperial assets and property like palace work, salt ponds, parks and hunting grounds, but also the punishment of crimes in this field. The Wei called this institution the *Left Section of the Populace (zuo mincao 左民曹), and the Jin at first Section for Communications and Horse-breeding (jiabu cao 駕部曹), but from the 280s on, Left Section of the Populace, too. Emperor Hui introduced the *Right Section of the Populace (you mincao 右民曹). During the Southern Dynasties period, the two sections were liaised. The *Right Section of Households (zuo hucao 左戶曹) of the Liang dynasty was responsible for the household registers as well as for government-conducted work (gongguan 工官). The latter had been under the responsibilty of the Section for Public Construction (qibu cao 起部曹), a temporary institution founded for the construction of imperial temples and palace buildings and dissolved when the work was finished. The Northern Wei founded a *Right Section of the Populace (you mincao, later called mincao 民曹). The institution was responsible for construction work, but not for household registers or tax collection. The Northern Qi created the position of Secretarial Court Gentleman of the Left and Right Households Section (zuo-you hucao lang 左右戶曹郎), subordinated to the Imperial Secretary of Revenue (duzhi shangshu 度支尚書). The left officer reported statistics and household registers, and the right one was entrusted with public and private estates (tianzhai 田宅) and tax collection (zudiao 租調). The Imperial Secretary for Public Construction (qibu shangshu 起部尚書) originated in the Qin period and supervised construction work. In the Eastern Han, this office was transformed to tje Imperial Secretary for the Populace (mincao shangshu, zuomin shangshu during the Cao-Wei), responsible for assets. The post of Imperial Secretary for Public Construction was revived and temporarily used through the Jin and Southern Dynasties periods, and also by the Northern Wei and Northern Qi. The Northern Zhou called it Grand Minister of Works (da sikong qing 大司空卿), with the assistant Ordinary Grand Master of the Section for Works (gongbu zhong dafu 工部中大夫). The Sui dynasty adopted the term gongbu 工部 to create the Ministry of Work. The office of Imperial Secretary for Revenue (duzhi shangshu 度支尚書, lit. “measuring expenditure”) was founded by Emperor Wen of the Cao-Wei dynasty, and retained through the period of division by all dynasties. In the beginning, it was responsible for military expenditure, but was gradually entrusted with other duties like transport and expenditure in other fields, like construction of temples. During the Southern Dynasties period, the Imperial Secretary for Revenue controlled the Revenue Section (duzhi cao 度支曹), the Treasury Section (jinbu cao 金部曹), the Granaries Section (cangbu cao 倉部曹) and the Construction Section (qibu cao 起部曹). The sections under the Northern Qi were called Revenue Section, Granaries Section, Left Households Section (zuo hucao 左戶曹, census), Right Households Section (you hucao 右戶曹, land tax), Treasury Section, and Storehouse Section (kubu cao 庫部曹). The Northern Zhou named it Terrestrial Minister of Revenue (diguan situ cao 地官司徒卿). The Sui first used the term zhidu shangshu for the Imperial Secretary for Revenue, but in 583 renamed the post Minister of the Populace (minbu shangshu 民部尚書), thus introducing the Ministry of Revenue (minbu 民部). The Han-period Imperial Secretary for Receptions (kecao shangshu 客曹尚書) was liable for escorting the sovereign (hujia 護駕) and the mission from barbarian tribes (heshi 賀事). The office was often concurrently filled by the Imperial Secretary for Personnel (libu shangshu) in the function of sacrifices (cisi 祠祀). The Wei and Western Jin sustained a Receptions Section (kecao 客曹) as well as the Section for Sacrifices (cibu 祠部) and the Section for Rituals (yicao 儀曹). The Eastern Jin properly created the post of Imperial Secretary for Sacrifices (sibu shangshu 祠部尚書), responsible for sacrifices at the ancestral altars, and abolished the Imperial Secretary for Receptions. The Liu-Song and Southern Qi dynasties subordinated the Sacrifices and Rituals sections under the Imperial Secretary for Sacrifices. The early Northern Wei knew both posts of Imperial Secretary for Rites (yicao shangshu 儀曹尚書) and Imperial Secretary for Sacrifices (cibu shangshu, also called shenbu shangshu 神部尚書). The Imperial Secretary for Sacrifices of the Northern Qi supervised the Sacrifices Section, the Section for Foreign Relations (zhuke cao 主客曹), the Section for Forestry and Crafts (yucao 虞曹), the Agro-Colonies Farms Section (tuntian cao 屯田曹), and the Section for Construction (qibu cao). The Section for Rituals was subordinated to the Imperial Secretary for Palace Affairs (dianzhong shangshu 殿中尚書). The Northern Zhou had a 禮部 or Grand Minister of Rites of the Spring Offices (chunguan dazongbo qing 春官大宗伯卿), supported by Ordinary Grand Master of the Section of Rites (libu zhong dafu 禮部中大夫). All these functions were by the Sui brought together in the Ministry of Rites (libu 禮部). The Imperial Secretary for the Five Armies (wubing shangshu 五兵尚書) of the Cao-Wei controlled the five types of armies, namely the inner troops (zhongbing 中兵), the outer troops (waibing 外兵), the cavalry (qibing 騎兵), the allied troops (biebing 別兵) and the capital troops (dubing 都兵), each arranged in one section (cao). The Western Jin divided the inner and outer sections into two, resulting in seven military sections. The Eastern Jin in turn abolished the allied troops, cavalry, and capital troops sections and reunited the inner and outer troops sections, resulting in the Inner Troops Section (zhongbing cao 中兵曹) and the Outer Troops Section (waibing cao 外兵曹), but the designation wubing “five armies” was retained. The Liang reintroduced the Cavalry Section (qibing cao 騎兵曹). The designation wubing was also used in the north, but the Northern Wei used seven, and the Northern Qi five sections. The Northern Zhou called it Grand Minister of War of the Summer Offices (xiaguan dasima qing 夏官大司馬卿) with the Ordinary Grand Master of the Section of War (bingbu zhong dafu 兵部中大夫) as an assistant. The Sui accordingly used the term bingbu for the Ministry of War. The Imperial Secretary for the Three Dukes (sangong shangshu 三公尚書) of the Western Han period was responsible for penal and judicial matters. During the Eastern Han the Section for the Three Dukes (sangong cao 三公曹) was created which evaluated state officials and dispensed justice on state officials and concerning critical cases. In 234, the office of Secretarial Court Gentleman for the Capital Officials (duguan lang 都官郎) was created to supervise military matters. The Imperial Secretary for the Three Dukes was reintroduced by the Western Jin, but it was soon abolished and the duties shifted to the Section of Personnel. The Eastern Jin knew the positions of Secretarial Court Gentleman for the Section of the Three Dukes (sangong cao lang 三公曹郎), the Review Section (bibu cao lang 比部曹郎), and the Section for the Capital Officials (duguan cao lang 都官曹郎, in 403 renamed Police Section, zeicao 賊曹) for matters of justice. The Liu-Song dynasty reintroduced the Imperial Secretary for Capital Officials (duguan shangshu) for military affairs who supervised the Section for Capital officials (duguan cao), the Section for Waterways and Irrigation (shuibu cao 水部曹), the Storehouse Section (kubu cao) and the Personnel Evaluations Section (gongcao 功曹). The Imperial Secretary for Personnel was responsible for the Section for the Three Dukes (cangong cao) and the Review Section (bibu cao), dispensing civilian justice. Under the Southern Qi dynasty the construction of temples and palaces could also be managed by the Imperial Secretary for Capital Offices or that of the Left Households (zuohu shangshu). In the early Northern Wei, the Imperial Secretary for Capital Offices was concurrently Imperial Secretary for Palace Affairs, and later took also over the management of rivers and canals, under the Northern Qi also the Catering Section (shanbu cao 膳部曹). The Northern Zhou called the office Grand Minister of Justice of the Autumnal Offices (qiuguan dasikou qing 秋官大司寇卿), who was assisted by the Ordinary Grand Master of the Section of Justice (xingbu zhong fafu 刑部中大夫). The Sui called the section accordingly Ministry of Justice (xingbu 刑部). The Cao-Wei introduced the post of Secretarial Court Gentleman for Palace Affairs (dianzhong cao lang 殿中曹郎), which the Western Jin promoted to Imperial Secretary for Palace Affairs (dianzhong shanshu 殿中尚書). This functionary was supported by the Secretarial Court Gentleman for the Seasons Section (shicao lang 時曹郎) and that for Palace Affairs (dianzhong cao lang). The Eastern Jin only knew the latter. The Southern Dynasties knew the Sections for Palace Affairs (dianzhong cao 殿中曹) and Section for Receptions (zhuke cao 主客曹). During the Liang dynasty, the Section for Palace Affairs seems to have been subordinated to the Imperial Secretary for Revenue (duzhi shangshu). The importance of the Imperial Secretary for Palace Affairs was particularly great in the early Northern Wei, and the title was concurrently awarded to the Imperial Secretary for the Capital Officials (duguan shangshu). For some time, there were even several Imperial Secretaries for Palace Affairs at once, but Emperor Xiaowen reduced them to one single person. Under the Northern Qi, the Imperial Secretary for Palace Affairs supervised the Section for Palace Affairs (dianzhong cao), that for rituals (yicao), for the Three Dukes (sangong cao) and for Communications and Horse-breeding (jiabu cao). The Sui dynasty abolished the office and merged the sections with various ministries. The Wei Imperial Secretariat had a Secretarial Court Gentleman of the Section of Agriculture (nongbu cao lang 農部曹郎), and the Western Jin even an Imperial Secretary for Agro-Colonies (tuntian shangshu 屯田尚書), later called Imperial Secretary for Cultivated Fields (tiancao shangshu 田曹尚書), but it was abolished under the Eastern Jin which shows that central government control over land declined. The Secretarial Court Gentleman for Agro-Colonies (tuntian lang 屯田郎) was temporarily reintroduced by the Liang. The Northern Qi subordinated the Secretarial Court Gentleman for Agro-Colonies to the Imperial Secretary for Sacrifices (cibu shangshu). The Sui merged the jurisdiction into the Ministry of Works (gongbu). The institution of the itinerant or mobile secretariat (xingtai shangshu, xing shangshutai) was occasionally used during the 230s and the early 4th century when an important representative of the Secretariat and his staff were serving in the field without giving up his civilian duties. Another meaning of the term – which emerged during the Eastern Jin period – was a so-called *secretarial commissioner (taishi 臺使) dispatched by the central goverment for special purposes. In 395, the Northern Wei created their first mobile secretariat which accompanied Emperor Daowu on his tours. In the late Northern Wei period, dudu were given extraordinary powers by giving them not just civilian jurisdiction as regional inspectors (cishi), but also rights of central-government issues as xingtai. After 528, the empire was practically divided into 8 zones of mobile secretariats unifying all civilian and military jurisdiction. This unified rights were only abrogated in 553 by the Western Wei, yet the dudu system was retained. The Northern Zhou decided in 559 to transform the dudus in their empire to zongguan 總管. In the Eastern Wei and Northern Qi empires, the 8 mobile secretariats even replaced the dudu and took over their military functions. The heads of mobile secretariats were zuoyou puye or shangshu ling.

The various chamberlains

The Twelve Chamberlains (shi'er qing 十二卿) Apart from the “Dukes”, the heads of the three departments, and the sections under the Imperial Secretariat, there was a dozen of “various chamberlains” (lieqing 列卿) responsible for various duties. The Eastern Han had introduced the positions of the nine chamberlains (jiuqing 九卿) which were subordinated - in groups of three - to the Defender-in-chief (taiwei 太尉), the Minister of the Masses (situ 司徒), and the Minister of Works (sikong 司空). The nine chamberlains were taichang 太常, guangluxun 光祿勳, weiwei 衛尉; taipu 太僕, tingwei 廷尉, dahonglu 大鴻臚; zongzheng 宗正, dasinong 大司農, and shaofu 少府. The regime of Cao Cao made use of a fengchang 奉常 (soon renamed taichang), zongzheng, and weiwei, and in 220 imitated the full range of the nine chamberlains as used by the Han dynasty. The tingwei was at first called dali 大理, and the dasinong at first danong 大農 . The Western Jin added the (temporary) post of jiangzuo dajiang which replaced the zongzheng, and created a regular structure of vice chamberlains (shaoqing 少卿), aides (cheng 丞) posts, recorders (zhubu 主簿), general-purposes clerks (wuguan 五官), and personnel evaluation sections (gongcao 功曹). The Liu-Song made the weiwei a military office (wuguan 武官 or 武冠). Apart from the taichang and tingwei, the other chamberlain positions were not regularly occupied or concurrently filled by of office holders of other positions. The influence of the nine “chamberlains” shrank during the Jin and Liu-Song periods while the Imperial Secretariat gained more influence. Yet the latter was not yet strong enough to replace the traditional chamberlains thoroughly, and Emperor Wu of the Liang rather re-strengthened the chamberlains by a systematic kind of reform. Each of the chamberlains obtained the title qing 卿, and their departments were transformed into courts (si 寺). The courts and chamberlains under the Liang dynasty (shi’er qing) Xxx 班 ban auch bei den chamberlains in der Liang-dynastie 太常卿 14, 宗正卿13, 太府卿13, 衛尉卿12, 司農卿11, 少府卿11, 廷尉卿11, 光祿卿 11, 太僕卿10, 大匠卿10, 鴻臚卿9, 大舟卿 9 (Tongdian 37) Spring: 春卿 Taichang si taichang qing 太常卿 Zongzheng si zongzheng qing 宗正卿 Sinong si sinong qing (former da sinong) 司農卿 Summer: 夏卿 Taifu qing new 太府卿 Shaofu qing 少府卿 Taipu qing 太僕卿 Autumn: 秋卿 Weiwei qing 衛尉卿 Tingwei qing 廷尉卿 Jiangzuo qing 將作卿/大匠卿 (former jiangzuo dajiang 將作大匠) Winter: 冬卿 Guangluqing 光祿卿 (former guangluxun) Honglu qu 鴻臚卿 (former da honglu) Dazhou qing 大舟卿 (new) Hierarchy under the Northern Wei: Taichang, guangluxun, Weiwei (shang san qing 上三卿, sanqing三卿), taipu, tingwei, dahonglu, yongzheng, da sinong, shaofu/taifu (liuqing 六卿) About the Northern Zhou system of chamberlains, not much is known. The Chamberlain for Ceremonials (taichang 太常, by the Liang dynasty renamed taichang qing 太常卿 or 春卿, during the Northern Zhou called taizongbo qing 太宗伯卿) was in charge of the sacrificial ceremonies, ceremonial music, astronomy, astrology, and court robes and implements, as successor of the Han-period office of fengchang 奉常. He was nominally the head of all ministers, but the title was in the Southern Dynasties era mainly honorific, while the duties were taken over by the responsible section of the Imperial Secretariat. His bureau was since the Northern Qi period called taichangsi. 太常少卿, 太常丞, 太常主簿, erudites 太常博士, Director of the Imperial Ancestral Temple (太廟令), Great Supplicator (太祝令), Grand Astrologer 太史署, Chief Musician 協律郎, Grand Director of Music 太樂令, Director of the Hall of Enlightend Rule 明堂令, Director of Drums and Fifes 鼓吹令, 清商令, Imperial Mausolea諸陵令. The Chamberlain for Attandants (guanglu xun 光祿勳) was in charge of all court gentlemen and the emperor’s personal advisors and bodyguards, and was thus the successor of the Han-period langzhongling 郎中令. The post declined in importance during the Western Jin period. The Liang dynasty renamed the post 光祿卿 or 冬卿. The Northern Qi introduced the guanglusi , with 光祿少卿, 光祿卿丞, 太官署令, 守官署令, Palace Isolation Building 暴室令, Palace Wardrobe 御府令 and Carpenter of the Eastern Park 東園匠. The Chamberlain for the Palace Garrison (weiwei 衛尉) was abolished by the Eastern Jin, but reintroduced by the Liu-Song. The Northern Qi called the office 秋卿. 衛尉少卿, 衛尉丞, 衛尉主簿, Director of the Armoury 武庫令, Grievance Office 公車令, Guardsmen 衛士令, 城門校尉. The taipu was responsible for horses and vehicles. Shaoqing, cheng, Imperial Coachmen 乘黃署, Director of the Livery Office 車府令, Director of the Imperial Stables 典廄令, Office of Herds 典牧署. Tingwei (between 213 and 220 by the Cao regime called dali 大理, by the Northern Qi called dalisi qing, by the Northern Zhou xingbu zhong dafu),shaoqing, cheng, zhubu, then Supervisor of Law Enforcement正, Inspector of Law Enforcement監, Arbiter on the staff of the Chamberlain for Law Enforcement平, Rectifier for the Chamberlain for Law Enforcement司直, prison aide 獄丞, Legal Erudite for the Chamberlain for Law Enforcement律博士. Honglu 鴻臚 responsible for diplomatic relations with barbarians, under the Northern Zhou called fanbu zhong dafu 蕃部中大夫. Shaoqing, cheng, zhubu, Manager of Receptions典客令, Ceremonials Office 司儀署, 華林園令, 園池令, Director of Monasteries 典寺令. The office of 宗正 (Northern Qi term da zongzhengsi qing, Northern Zhou term 宗師中大夫) regulated affairs of the imperial family. The office was often, but not always, carried out by a member of the imperial house. Da sinong responsible for revenue in money and kind (grain, cloth) as delivered to the capital city. Abolished and revived several times. Under Northern Zhou called dasitu. Director of the Imperial Granaries 太倉令, Director of Grain Supplies 導官令, Director of Standards 平準令, Director of Sacrificial Fields 藉田令, Director of Imperial Parks Products 鉤盾令. Shaofu 少府 charged with robes, vehicles, jewellery and objects needed by the palace. With a huge staff whose duties were interlocked with those of other state agencies like the three departments or the Censorate. The Northern Wei renamed the Shaofu in Taifu, which was to become the Imperial Treasury. Shaoqing, cheng, zhubu, Director of Construction材官校尉, *tools and implements factories 三尚方 (左中右尚方令), Director of Coinage 諸冶令, Storehouse Offices 左右藏署, Pottery Office 甄官署. Dajiangzuo in charge of construction work for public buildings, for earthwork and timber work, and also the city wall and fortifications of the capital. Temporary office, dissolved if project ended. Liaised with qibu shangshu. Under Northern Zhou jiangshi zhong dafu 匠師中大夫 and 司木中大夫. The Wei dynasty created the Office of Waterways 都水臺, led by the Commissioner of Waterways 都水使者 who was responsible for construction work at the Grand Canal and of boats. The office was in 508 replaced by that of the Chamberlain for Waterways 太舟卿 or dazouqing , but the traditional title was continued by the Northern Wei. By the Norhtern Zhou called 司水中大夫. Commandant of Waterways, 水衡都尉 (an official who under the Han had been responsible for imperial parks), supervising troops protecting grain transports, and many 河堤謁者 Taifu created in 508, as chief officer over the palace treasury. The Northern Wei abolished the shaofu and gave its duties into the hand of the taifu. Its offices therefore largely corresponded with that of the shaofu, except for the separate office of the Capital Market Directors (shiling 市令). The Tribunal of Receptions (yezhetai 謁者臺), also called Outer Terrace (waitai 外臺), was seen as a counterpart of the Imperial Secretariat (shangshutai 尚書臺) as Inner Terrace (zhongtai 中臺) and the Censorate (yushitai) as Terrace of Fundamental Law (xiantai 憲臺). It closely cooperated with the Honglusi and was headed by a puye.

Local administration

The highest administrative layer for local administration was the province (zhou 州). The unit originated in the mid-Western Han period. Provinces were controlled by regional inspectors (cishi 刺史), from 188 on called regional governors (mu 牧 or zhoumu 州牧). Regional governors had civilian and military duties. While regional inspectors had no administrative seat of their own, but were dispatched from the imperial capital to control the regional and local officialdom, the regional governors had a fix seat in the provinces. The Eastern Han empire encompassed thirteen provinces (see geography of the Han empire).

During the Three Empires period, the empire of Shu constituted just one province (Yizhou 益州), while some Han-period provinces were divided among Wu and Wei. The Jin empire divided some of the provinces, resulting in a number of 16. In the empires of the Southern Dynasties, there were native southern provinces as well as exile provinces (qiaozhou 僑州) emulating provinces from the north. The number of these provisional provinces was blown up to no less than 107 during the Liang period (234). In north China, the original number of 10 was likewise gradually enlarged to 38 under the Northern Wei, and to 97 under the Northern Qi (235). The total number of provinces in the late 6th century was 285 (246).

The regional governors of the Eastern Han had been responsible for civilian administration, the selection of candidates for state offices (chaju baiguan 察舉百官), and jurisdiction. The head of the metropolitan province Sizhou 司州 was called Metropolitan Commandant (sili xiaowei 司隸校尉). The Eastern Jin changed this term to regional inspector of Yangzhou (Yangzhou cishi 揚州刺史), the Northern Dynasties to regional governor of Sizhou (Sizhou mu 司州牧), and the Northern Zhou to Junior Grand Master of the metropolitan province (sili xia dafu 司隸下大夫). The military significance of the regional governors grew during the 3rd century. Regional governors of important provinces were commissioned with a special warrant (shichijie 使持節) as commanders-in-chief (dudu 都督), those of lesser important ones with a warrant (jiajie 假節) as commanders (du 都). From the Taikang reign-period on, provinces were administered by civilian cishi, and military dudu. During the Southern Dynasties period, the length of service of the regional inspectors was extended to ten years, and all office holders were bearing a warrant (chijie 持節). The Northern Wei appointed three regional inspectors for each province one of which was to be a member of the imperial house. Provinces were classified into three grades, depending on the economic and military importance. Only the metropolitan province Sizhou was headed by a regional governor. The same was true for the metropolitan province of the Northern Zhou, Yongzhou 雍州.

In the late Eastern Han period, the post or title of commander-in-chief (dudu) had been just temporary or even honorific. It was standardized under the early Cao-Wei regime with between 6 and 10 for the empire. Commanders-in-chief wielded military as well as civilian power. The post of area commander-in-chief (da dudu 大都督, full title dudu zhongwai jujun 都督中外諸軍 “commander-in-chief of all armies inside and outside”) was likewise a temporary function in the beginnings, and only created during military campaigns. Under the Western Jin, the number of commanders-in-chief increased drastically, with one in each province, practically serving as provincial military governor. Under the turbulent rule of Emperor Hui, the posts of commander-in-chief and regional inspector were liaised. The highest one was commander-in-chief of all armies (dudu zhujun 都督諸軍, commissioned with a special warrant), the next one *supervisor of all armies (jian zhujun 監諸軍, holding a warrant), and the lowest rank of a general commander of all armies (du zhujun 都諸軍, commissioned with a warrant). From the Eastern Jin period on the dual civilian-miliatry administration was further standardized, even if there were changed from time to time, for instance, with regard to the territory of jurisdiction, or the unification of civilian and military duties. In the early Northern Wei empire, military affairs in the provinces were taken over by *generals of defence (zhenjiang 鎮將) and generals commander-in-chief for defence (zhen du dajiang dudu 鎮都大將都督). The system of double administration as used in the south was only introduced after the transfer of the capital to Luoyang. The Northern Wei empire was divided into ten military zones. The next administrative level below provinces were commanderies (jun 郡). The Han empire had made use of 103 commanderies and princedoms (jun guo 郡國), a number which increased to 173 when the Jin regime reunified China. Yet this figure was blown up by continuous partition of commanderies, mainly to administer northern refugees differently than the southern population. The consequence was that the size of commanderies, particulary in the lower Yangtze region, shrank drastically, and southern designations were lying side by side with emulated “northern” commanderies. The situation was particularly complex in the Eastern Jin and Southern empires, but to some extent also in the north. In the late 6th century, there was a total number of 674 commanderies in the whole of China (246). The creation of refugee commanderies (qiaojun 僑郡), districts (qiaoxian 僑縣), and even provinces (qiaozhou) originated in the Three Empires period, when “remote-administered provinces” (yaolingzhou 遙領州) were created. Yet the apogee of these was in the Eastern Jin and the Liu-Song period. The Eastern Jin founded 10 refugee provinces and 62 refugee commanderies (248). Persons in these administrative units were first registered in provisional “white registers” (baiji 白籍), but when the reconquest of north China proved to be wishful thinking, their data were transcribed to permament “yellow registers” (huangji 黃籍). In north China, refugee units were created by some of the Barbarian States, and after the disintegration of the Northern Wei empire. Commanderies were ruled by governors (taishou 太守). The governor of the metropolitan commandery was called yin 尹. The names of metropolitan commanderies changed over time, from Henan during the Cao-Wei and Western Jin period, Danyang 丹陽 during the Eastern Jin and the Southern Dynasties, Dai 代 or Wannian 萬年 (and later Henan) during the Northern Wei, Wei 魏 (Yecheng) under the Eastern Wei, Qingdu 清都 under the Northern Qi, and Jingzhao 京兆 (Chang’an) under the Western Wei and Northern Zhou. Under the Cao-Wei regime, some governors had also military jurisdiction. There were three grades of governors (ju 劇, zhong 中, ping 平), depending on the importance of the commandery (significant, average, peaceful). The term of service was six years. In the Northern Wei empire, commandery governors were practically not given civilian jurisdiction – these duties were taken over by regional inspectors and district magistrates (xianling 縣令, ling 令). Instead, governors had military duties. The Northern Qi ended this custom and “re-civilized” the post of commandery governor – except those in critical border regions. In 556, the number of administrative units in the local government was reduced, and commanderies were classified into three grades and nine sub-grades, depending on various factors. The local military for defence and police purposes was carried out under the command of a commandant (duwei 都尉), in larger commanderies of two. The Cao-Wei empire had three specialized commandants of lower rank, responsible for the southern parts of the commandery of Jiangxia 江夏, the post of Huaihaijin 淮海津 in the province of Xuzhou 徐州 (northern Jiangsu), and the post of Yihe 宜禾 (Yiwu 伊吾) in the commandery of Dunhuang 敦煌. The empire of Shu comprised five commandants. The Jin and Southern and Northern Dynasties did not specially appoint commandants in commanderies. Members of the imperial house were invested as princes (wang 王) reigning over princedoms (wangguo 王國, guo 國). These were governed by princedom administrators (xiang 相, guoxiang 國相, neishi 內史, zhangshi 長史). Their duties corresponded to governors of commanderies (taishou). Depending on the size of their territory, princes during the Western Jin period had an army of differing size. The Northern Wei empire discerned between four sizes of princedoms. The princely household and the administration depended on the income from certain amounts of peasant households, yet half of it was to be delivered to the central government. The number of districts (xian 縣), strategic districts (dao 道) and marquisates 侯國 shrank from 1,585 during the Former Han period to 1,232 in the Western Jin (254). This tendency continued during the Southern and Northern Dynasties period. In 404, for instance, the Northern Wei abolished all districts smaller than 100 taxable households. More populous districts were governed by magistrates (ling) and two military commanders (wei 尉), and lesser ones by *second-class magistrates (zhang 長) and one military commander. The metropolitan district (the capital city) had a garrison with five commands, and from the Jin period on of six. Marquisates (houguo 侯國) were governed by administrators (xiang), and protected by military units depending on the number of households. Commanderies, princedoms, districts, and marquisates were administered by bodies of institutions similar to the central government of the empire, with secretariates and sections responsible for various duties. Public administration ended at the level of the district. Villages (xiang 鄉) and hamlets were self-administered, but the district authorities confirmed the appointment of petty officials with rank (youzhi 有秩, in smaller communities called sefu 嗇夫 “collectors”), the “three elders” (sanlao 三老), and patrollers (youjiao 游徼). Petty officials did know all families and could therefore assert reliability for public services and financial strength for taxation. The three elders were responsible for ritual and eductional purposes, while the patrollers managed local defence and criminal matters. The taxes were collected and public labour organized by assistants (zuo 佐). In hamlets (li 里), local defence was organized by village heads (likui 里魁). Theoretically, the organisation of the rural population followed an ancient pattern of systematic grouping into five households or families (wu 伍), ten households (shi 什), 100 households as a hamlet (li 里),1,000 households as a village (xiang 鄉),and 5,000 as a large village (daxiang 大鄉). Ten hamlets constituted a neighbourhood (ting 亭) administered by a neighbourhood head (tingzhang 亭長). Every 5 hamlets were connected by a postal relay station (you 郵). The term li did not just designate the settlement, but also the distance to the next, making li a very flexible length measure. During the Western Jin, the size of villages was redefined from the perspective of districts, with one single district for 500 households, two for 3,000 households, 3 for 5,000 households, and 4 for 10,000 households. Large villages were organized by a zhishushi 治書史 and 2 zuo, middle ones by a 史 and one zuo, and small ones by a zhishushi only. 100 households were administered by one lili 里吏. With the downbreak of the central control of the Western Jin over the regions after the rebellion of the Eight Princes, local leaders – mostly clan heads - took over the duties of the village heads. The Sixteen States and the early Northern Wei therefore had a local administration by clan heads (zongzhu duhu zhi) wubao diannong. Emperor Xiaowen replaced this autonomous control by the “three-heads system” (sanzhang zhi 三長制), namely neighbourhood heads (linzhang 鄰長) over five families, hamlet heads (lizhang 里長) of 25 households, and township heads (dangzhang 黨長) over 125 households. In the late Northern Wei period, the system was redefined with five households constituting a 比鄰, twenty a 閭, and 100 households a 黨族, the three levels of heads called the three rectifiers 三正. People in the border regions belong to other ethnic groups were usually indirectly administered through military commanders like central commandant (zhonglangjiang 中郎將), commandant (xiaowei 校尉) or protector (hujun 護軍). This custom had been introduced by the Later Han in order to control regions inhabited by Xiongnu 匈奴, Wuhuan 烏桓 or Qiang 羌. The Three Empires followed this procedure. The Cao-Wei appointed a commandant protecting the Xiongnu (hu Xiongnu zhonglangjiang 護匈奴中郎將) who held a warrant and was concurrently regional inspector of the province of Bingzhou 並州 (approx. Modern Shanxi). The Wu empire took control over the Yue 越 tribes by appointing a commandant charging the Yue (tao Yue zhonglangjiang 討越中郎將). His duty was to check attempts of the Yue tribes to fight against the colonisation of their lands by Chinese settlers. The Western Jin appointed five commandants to control the Xiongnu, Qiangrong 羌戎, Manyi 蠻夷, Yue, and Nanyue 南越. The Northern Wei first continued the office of commandant protecting the Xiongnu, but abolished the office in 401. The Southern Dynasties appointed a commandant pacifying the Yue (ping Yue zhonglangjiang 平越中郎將.) The Han-period posts of commandant protecting the Qiang and the Wuhuan were increased during the Cao-Wei period by a commander protecting the Xianbei (hu Xianbei xiaowei 護鮮卑校尉), and a commandant for the Western Regions (Xiyu xiaowei 西域校尉 or wuji xiaowei 戊己校尉). The later Wei dynasty also created the posts of commander protecting the Dongqiang 東羌 and the Xirong 西戎. The Jin dynasty knew the functions of Nanman xiaowei 南蠻校尉, Nanyi xiaowei 南夷校尉, zhen Man xiaowei 鎮蠻校尉, and ning Man xiaowei 寧蠻校尉. The office of protector-general (duhu 都護) had been created by the Han for ther Western Region, and was occasionally also used during the period of division. During the Sixteen States period, important areas were controlled by 軍鎮 and 戍所. The later Qin, for instance, created the four garrisons north of the mountains 嶺北四郡, and the Xia divided their whole domain into garrisons instead of in commanderies. The Northern Wei followed this principle and had not just 17 military garrisons in areas without civilian administration, but also 12 garrisons inside the regular civilian territory of provinces and commanderies (and being part of the civilian administration), and 22 garrisons indepentently organised within regular territory (267). The garrisons in the border regions served for the defence against the Rouran, Chile or Qiang, but also took over the civilian administration of the populace living in the area. The northern frontier was guarded by six garrisons (Woye 沃野, Huaishuo 懷朔, Wuchuan 武川, Fuming 撫冥, Rouxuan 柔玄, and Huaihuang 懷荒) which stood under the command of two zhendu dajiang 鎮都大將. Inside common territory, the posts of zhendu dajiang or zhen dajiang 鎮大將 were filled by princes of blood and thus higher than that of provincial governors. Emperor Xiaowen abolished many of the internal garrisons. Yet the status of those remaining was still higher than that of commanderies after the division of the Northern Wei empire.

State finance

There were two agencies for state finance during the Eastern Han, namely the office of the Chamberlain of Palace Revenues (shaofu 少府) responsible for objects and necessities of the imperial palace, and the da sinong who was responsible for the revenue from taxes in kind, i.e. grain and cloth, or in monetary form, from all provinces of the empire. All commanderies delivered quarterly reports on their revenue on the base of which a certain proportion was delivered to the central treasury. Grain was stored in the capital granary (taicang). The Da sinong was also responsible for the adjustment of prices of staple commodities (pingzhun) to avoid inflationary tendencies or speculative hoarding of grain.

Cao Cao founded the mintun 民屯 section with the diannong zhonglangjiang 典農中郎將 and the diannong xiaowei 典農校尉 who observed the delivering of revenues from the commanderies to the political centre. Their tasks were gradually taken over by the respective sections under the shangshusheng, concretely, the tuntian shangshu (or tiancao shangshu). The office of dasinong was first abolished in 365 and his duties merged with the dushuitai 都水臺, but was then several times revived during the Eastern Jin and Southern Dynasties periods. During the Liang period, the dasinong (sinong qing) just controlled grain, and not any more revenue in cloth or in money. Under the Northern Qi, the Dasinong was in charge of the capital granaries, markets, salaries for metropolitan officials, and the revenue of imperial parks, ponds and gardens. At the end of the period of division, the Dasinong had just lost all decision-making power and was reduced to an executive official following the decisions of the Shangshusheng.

The office of the duzhi zhonglangjiang was founded in 220 as a means to control military expenditure and logistics on the base of agro-colonies. In 223, Cao pi introduced the duzhi xiaowei, and shortly later, the superior office of duzhi shangshu. The office became more important under the Jin dynasty, and the selection of personnel for this institution was carried out very carefully. At the time, the section took over more and more civilian duties like irrigatoin, granaries, grain price adjustment, salt transport and control of its monopoly, tax registers, as well as disaster relief. The Liu-Song dynasty ranked the section as the foremost of all 20 sections of the shangshusheng/. The duzhi shangshu controlled the sections duzhi, jinbu, cangbu, and qibu. The duzhi shangshu thus took over responsibilities formerly belonging to the “gongbu” section and the zuohu shangshu (zuomin shangshu).

The duzhi shangshu of the Northern Wei was likewise first an overseer of military expenditure, but then gradually took over the responsibility over the complete state revenue and expenditure. The financial arrangement of the Northern Qi was sixfold, with the duzhi section being responsible for military expenditure and logistics (grain), the cangbu cao controlling the granaries, zuohu cao in charge of census and household registers, youhu cao for agro-colonies and taxation, jinbu for weights and measures and documentation of granaries and storehouses, and the kubu cao for tools and implements. The duzhi shangshu was active in determining quota of taxation, collection methods and of quota of submitting revenues from the commanderies to the central treasury. He was the head of an accouting agency responsible for balancing revenue against expenditure. He was also liable for the distribution of salt and of supplying border garrisons with grain. The transformation from the dasinong to the duzhi shangshu was that from a passive administrator to an active politician, from an agent for the imperial capital and the palace to the bookkeeper of the whole empire. Standardization, professoinalization.