An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

tie 帖, notifications

Jan 27, 2023 © Ulrich Theobald

Tie 帖 (also written 貼) were originally small strips of silk attached to documents written on bamboo slips to give information about the content of the document. Silk strips were easier to get than wooden slips (see Juyan Bamboo documents). From the late Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) on, tie-type notes were written on paper. The Southern and Northern Dynasties 南北朝 (300~600) made these notes a type of document in its own right, serving as short info notes to subordinated institutions.

Examples for early "notifications" - some of them used in the private sphere – are Wang Xizhi's 王羲之 (303-361) Lanting tie 蘭亭帖, Yan Zhenqing's 顏真卿 (709-785) Yu Taibao qi mi tie 與太保乞米帖, Lu You's 陸游 (1125-1210) Ba Fu jishi tie 跋傅給事帖 or Xu Wei's 徐渭 (1521-1593) Shu Zhu Taipu shiqi tie 書朱太仆十七帖.

The Ministry of Rites (libu 禮部) under the Imperial Secretariat (shangshusheng 尚書省) of the Song empire 宋 (960-1279) used tie-type notes for information forwarded to the Directorate of Education (guozijian 國子監). They were similar to letters of dispatch (gongyi 公移).

Notifications to the public were also called tie. A late example from 1841 is the notification Guangdong yimin chi Yingyi shuo tie 廣東義民斥英夷說帖, which warned the British occupants of Canton during the First Opium War.

During the Ming period 明 (1368-1644), tie were used on the local level of administration, mainly when prefects instructed district magistrates. Tie-type notes were abolished in the 18th century.

Lin Fei 林非, ed. (1997). Zhongguo sanwen da cidian 中國散文大辭典 (Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe), 101.
Lü Zongli 呂宗力, ed. (1994). Zhongguo lidai guanzhi da cidian 中國歷代官制大辭典 (Beijing: Beijing chubanshe), 491.
Yan Jinghan 閻景翰, ed. (1990). Xiezuo yishu da cidian 寫作藝術大辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 1336.
Zhang Wode 張我德 (1993). "Guanfu wanglai wenshu 官府往來文書", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Tushuguanxue qingbaoxue dang'anxue 圖書館學·情報學·檔案學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 144.