3.5 The Administrative System of the Two Chin and the Southern and Northern Dynasties

Table of Contents
General Introduction
3.5.1 System of Officials
3.5.1.1 Civil Officials of the Central Government
3.5.1.1.1 The San Kung (Three Worthies) and Other Court Officials
3.5.1.1.1.1 Ch'eng Hsiang (Chancellor)
3.5.1.1.1.2 San Kung (Three Worthies)
3.5.1.1.1.3 Chiu Ch'ing
3.5.1.1.1.4 Kuang-lu Tai-fu
3.5.1.1.1.5 T'ai-ch'ang Po-shih
3.5.1.1.2 Generals
3.5.1.1.3 Yü-shih T'ai and the San T'ai
3.5.1.1.4 San Sheng and Wu Sheng
3.5.1.1.5 The Northern Chou Establishment of the Nine Rank System of the Offices of Chou
3.5.1.2 The Feudatories
3.5.1.2.1 Two Chin
3.5.1.2.2 Southern Dynasties
3.5.1.2.3 Northern Dynasties
3.5.1.3 The System of Local Officials
3.5.1.3.1 The Three-tiered Chou-chün-hsien System
3.5.1.3.2 The System of the Capital Region
3.5.1.3.3 The Concurrent Tu-tu and Tzu-shih System
3.5.1.3.4 Village Officials
3.5.1.3.4.1 Chin
3.5.1.3.4.2 Southern Dynasties
3.5.1.3.4.3 Northern Dynasties
3.5.1.4 The Official Ranks and Salaries
3.5.1.4.1 The Two Chin
3.5.1.4.2 Southern Dynasties
3.5.1.4.3 Northern Dynasties

General Introduction

The political institutions of China saw two important periods of institution building during the medieval epoch and these are the two important ages of the Ch'in-Han and the Sui-T'ang. Just as the Three Kingdoms was the final stage of the Ch'in-Han so the Five Dynasties was the final stage of the Sui-T'ang period. In this way the period of the Two Chin and the Southern and Northern Dynasties can be viewed as a transitional period between these two major periods of institution building. If we want to understand how the institutions of the Ch'in-Han evolved into those of the Sui-T'ang then we must of necessity first understand the political institutions of the Two Chin and the Southern and Northern Dynasties period. Moreover, the Two Chin and Southern and Northern Dynasties was a time of great division and confusion, ethnic and political boundaries did not coincide, so their political systems and organizations were also naturally divergent and disordered, and their political boundaries were also similarly unsettled so that here we are only able to simplify by deleting complexities and gather together an account that is an approximation. However, since with regard to the political systems of the period it can be said that those of the Western Chin were inherited from the Wei Dynasty of the House of Ts'ao, that those of the Eastern Chin were inherited from the Western Chin, while those of the Southern Dynasties of of Sung, Ch'i, Liang and Ch'en were all inherited from the Eastern Chin, we can then say that it was a system that all inherited from a single source. The Sixteen Kingdoms of the Five Barbarians in the north were of relatively short duration and unsettled circumstance so that when the Wei were in the beginning of their ascendancy they still for the most part maintained the tribal customs of their ancestors who had lived beyond the frontiers, initially establishing an office for the leading men of the eight tribal segments called the "Eight Dukes" with subordinate officers beneath them and only later did they gradually expand the organization. It was this way up until the time of the Emperor Hsiao-wen-ti when Wang Su fled to Wei and there brought about the introduction of the system of official grades completely patterned after that of the Southern Dynasties that would continue down to the Northern Ch'i. In addition, the Northern Chou also patterned some of their institutions on the Chou Li (周禮). Now with the main focus on the political institutions of the Southern Dynasties and supplemental discussions on the Northern Dynasties, we will then proceed to omit any discussion of those political institutions concerned with the Sixteen Kingdoms of the Five Barbarians.

3.5.1 The System of Civil Officials

3.5.1.1 Civil Officials of the Central Government

3.5.1.1.1 The San Kung ( 三公 Three Worthies) and other Court Officials

3.5.1.1.1.1 Ch'eng Hsiang (丞相 Chancellor)

During the Ch'in-Han the Chancellor was the highest top administrative official but by the time of the Two Chin and Northern and Southern Dynasties although the office continued to exist it did so in name only lacking any real substance. During this period the Chancellor was also called the Hsiang-kuo (相國 Minister of State) and was a sinecure that was not often filled. At this time there was also a custom that in most cases when powerful courtiers and generals wanted to usurp the throne they must first advance to the post of Chancellor then to Minister of State and only then they could "accept the abdication." As a result the office of Chancellor became a kind of special honorary post, it was only extraordinary men that were able to fill the post so it was even more the case that this was no longer the actual post of the top administrative official. The actual administrative power was held by the Chung-shu ( 中書 Palace Secretariat) and the Men-hsia (門下 Ministry at the Gate) and the men of the time called them the "true prime minister."

3.5.1.1.1.2 San Kung (三公)

The period of the Two Chin and Northern and Southern Dynasties also had the institution of the Three Worthies that just like the post of Chancellor were a sort of honorary post and in addition to this the ministries to which they referred were always changing. The Two Chin, Sung, Ch'i, Liang, Ch'en, Latter Wei and Northern Ch'i all considered the Three Worthies to be the T'ai-wei (太尉 Grand Commandant), the Ssu-t'u (司徒 Minister over the Masses) and the Ssu-k'ung (司空 Minister of Works). The Latter Chou used the T'ai-shih (太師 Grand Master), the T'ai-fu (太傅 Grand Tutor) and the T'ai-pao (太保 Grand Guardian) as their Three Worthies. During the Western Chin there was also a period with the establishment of the Eight Worthies and these so-called Eight Worthies were the Grand Commandant, Minister over the Masses, Minister of Works, T'ai-tsai (太宰 Grand Minister) (NOTE: During the Chin the title T'ai-shih 太師 was changed to T'ai-tsai in order to avoid the use of the character "shih" found in the name of Ssu-ma Shih 司馬師, an ancestor of the Royal House), the Grand Tutor, Grand Guardian, Ta Ssu-ma (大司馬 Commander-in-Chief), and Ta Chiang-chün (大將軍 General-in-Chief). Whether or not it was the Three Worthies or the Eight Worthies, none of them possessed any real authority and it was only occasionally when those with the titles of the Three Worthies were the Lu shang-shu Shih (Recorder of the Affairs of the Master of Writing) and concurrent Chung-shu Chien Ling (中書 Prefect and Supervisor of the Palace Scribes) they could then also be called the true prime minister.

3.5.1.1.1.3 Chiu Ch'ing (九卿)

During the Ch'in-Han period the Nine Ministers were the most important officials of the central government concerned with administration but with the coming of the Two Chin-Northern and Southern Dynasties period they too became titles without authority. The titles of the Nine Ministers of the Two Chin, Sung and Ch'i were still those of the Eastern Han. When Liang Wu-ti enlarged the administrative structure he made the three ministries of the T'ai-ch'ang (Grand Minister of Ceremonies), Tsung-cheng (Director of the Imperial Clan) and the Ssu-nung (Minister of Agriculture) into the Ch'ün-ch'ing (Spring Ministry); the Shao-fu (Privy Treasurer), T'ai-p'u (Grand Coachman) and Chia Tai-fu (Supplementary Grand Treasurer) into the Hsia-ch'ing (Summer Ministry); the Wei-wei (Commandant of the Guard), T'ing-wei (Commandant of Justice) and the Chia Chiang-tso Ta-chiang (Supplementary Court Architect) were the Ch'iu-ch'ing (Autumn Ministry); the Kuang-lu (Imperial Household), Hung-lu (Grand Herald) and Chia Ta-tsou (Supplementary Grand Boat - responsible for navigation in the capital) formed the Tung-ch'ing (Winter Ministry): twelve ministries in total. In addition the Northern Wei arranged the Grand Master of Ceremonies, Imperial Household and Commandant of the Guard into the Three Ministries; the Grand Coachmen, Commandant of Justice, Grand Herald, Director of the Imperial Clan, Grand Ministr of Agriculture and Grand Privy Treasurer as the Six Ministries. During the Northern Ch'i the Nine Ministers were renamed the Nine Courts (Ssu). During the Latter Chou the state was modelled after the office of the Chou Dynasty so they established the Three Worthies and the Three Alone (San Ku) as officials to discuss government. The Three Worthies we have seen before but the Three Alone refer to the Shao-shih (Junior Master), the Shao-fu (Junior Tutor) and the Shao-pao (Junior Guardian). Below the Three Worthies and the Three Alone were the Six Ministries and these were the T'ien-kuan (Heavenly Office) of the Ta Chung-tsai (Grand Minister of State) the Ti-kuan (Earthly Office) of the Ta Shih-t'u (Great Leader of the Masses), the Ch'ün-kuan (Autumn Office) of the Ta Tsung-po (Great Clan Leader), the Hsia-kuan (Summer Office) of the Ta Ssu-ma (Commander-in-Chief), the Ch'iu-kuan (Autumn Office) of the Ta Ssu-kuan (Great Director Against Brigands), the Tung-kuan (Winter Office) of the Ta Ssu-k'ung (Great Minister of Works) dividing among themselves the direction of general affairs. This organization continued up to the Sui when it was disbanded and the period from that point on up to the T'ang forms the foundation of the institution of the Liu Pu (Six Boards). The Nine Ministers of the Two Chin, Sung, Ch'i, Liang, Ch'en, Northern Wei and Northern Ch'i were all hollow posts and the actual and original functions of the Nine Ministers had all been taken over by the various bureaus (ts'ao) of the Shang-shu (Master of Writing).

3.5.1.1.1.4 Kuang-lu Tai-fu ( 光祿大夫)

During the Chin there was both and Imperial Household Grandee and Left and Right Imperial Household Grandees. Their rank was the same at that of the Nine Ministers and in the past the post had been a sinecure, therefore, important officials of the emperor and great officials of the court who retired were often given this post. Those so honored were entitled to use a gold seal with purple tassels and for this reason the office was also called the "gold and purple Imperial Household Grandee." This practice was followed by the Northern and Southern Dynasties.

3.5.1.1.1.5 T'ai-ch'ang Po-shih ( 太常博士)

The T'ai-ch'ang Po-shih originally was subordinate to the Ministry of the Grand Master of Ceremonies and during the Western Chin the number of Scholars had already been set at nineteen. For a time at the beginning this was changed to nine and then later on during the Northern and Southern Dynasties the number fluctuated up and down. Their education was controlled by the T'ai-hsüeh (Imperial Academy) and therefore they were also called Kuo-tse Po-shih ( 博士 Scholars of the Sons of the State) establishing one as the Po-shih Chi-chiu ( 博士 Libationer of the Scholars). (See also the article on Education in the section that follows .)

3.5.1.1.2 Generals ( 將軍 )

Originally generals were military officers but from the Han establishment of a Commander-in-Chief (Ta Ssu-ma) and General-in-Chief (Ta Chiang-chün) when they took their commission they were equal in rank to the Three Worthies becoming important men in the central administration and those who assisted in government had authority equal to that of the sovereign. During the Chin besides the Commander-in-Chief and General-in-Chief listed among the Eight Worthies there were also various other generals and by the time of the Northern and Southern Dynasties the titles of the generals were even more numerous. (There were Prancing Cavalry General (P'iao-ch'i Chiang-chün 驃騎將軍), Chariots and Cavalry General (Ch'e-ch'i Chiang-chün 車騎將軍), Guard General (Wei Chiang-chün 衛將軍), Hidden Wave General (Fu-po Chiang-chün 伏波將軍 ), Support the Army General (Fu-chün Chiang-chün 撫軍將軍), Capital Protector General (Tu-hu Chiang-chün 都護將軍), Suppress an Army General (Chen-chün Chiang-chün 鎭軍將軍), as well as Vanguard Ch'ien Chiang-chün Rear Hou Chiang-chün Left Tso Chiang-chün Right Yu Chiang-chün the "Four Conquers" Cheng, Cheng-tung Chiang-chün Cheng-nan Chiang-chün Cheng-hsi Chiang-chün Cheng-pei Chiang-chün the "Four Suppress" Chen Chen-tung Chiang-chün Chen-nan Chiang-chün Chen-hsi Chiang-chün Chen-pei Chiang-chün the "Four Quiets" An An-tung Chiang-chün An-nan Chiang-chün An-hsi Chiang-chün An-pei Chiang-chün the "Four Pacifies" P'ing, P'ing-tung Chiang-chün P'ing-nan Chiang-chün P'ing-hsi Chiang-chün P'ing-pei Chiang-chün and various other generals including the
Lung-hsiang-chün Chiang-chün 龍驤將軍 Tien-chün Chiang-chün 典軍將軍 Fu-kuo Chiang-chün 輔國將軍 Cheng-lu Chiang-chün 征虜將軍 Chien-wei Chiang-chün 建威將軍 Chen-wei Chiang-chün 振威將軍 Fen-wei Chiang-chün 奮威將軍 Yang-wei Chiang-chün 揚威將軍 Kuang-wei Chiang-chün 廣威將軍 Chien-wu Chiang-chün 建武將軍 Chen-wu Chiang-chün 振武將軍 Yang-wu Chiang-chün 揚武將軍 Kuang-wu Chiang-chün 廣武將軍 Ying-yang Chiang-chün 鷹揚將軍

... etc. until by the time of the Northern Wei there were over forty titles with the Pillar of the State Grand General (Chu-kuo Ta Chiang-chün 柱國大將軍) being the most respected.) These generals were not necessarily all military officers who controlled armies but instead they all wanted to become influential figures within the court and the officials installed as their staff were ranked below the Worthies.

3.5.1.1.3 Yü-shih T'ai and San T'ai ( 御史臺 三臺)

The Yü-shih ( 御史 Secretary) was an inspecting official (auditor) and beginning with the Eastern Han the Grandee Secretary ( 御史大夫 Yü-shih Tai-fu) was replaced by the Minister of Works so the Yü-shih Chung-ch'eng (御史中丞) became the senior official; the Wei and Chin both followed this precedent. At the Chin court there was the Shih-yü-shih (侍御史), the Ch'ih-shu Yü-shih (治書御史 Secretary Preparer of Documents) and the Tien-chung Shih-yü-shih ( 殿中侍御史 Attending Secretary within the Palace). The office of the Shih-yü-shih was divided into thirteen ts'ao ( 曹 bureau) which were named as follows:

There were minor changes during the Eastern Chin period. The office of the Secretary Preparer of Documents was charged with maintaining the law and also with announcing law suits. The office of the Attending Secretary Within the Palace was located inside the palace grounds investigating breaches of the law. Later on the Southern and Northern Dynasties for the most part modelled their institutions after those of the Chin. The office of the Secretary became an independent organization and therefore came to have the new name Yu-shih T'ai with the Palace Assistant Secretary as its head.

Besides the Office of the Secretary the Chin also set up the Tu-shui T'ai (Office of the Direction of Waters) that was responsible for the management of shipping and water embankments with one person serving as the Tu-shui Shih with various officials serving under him. During the Southern Dynasties there were periods when the office existed and others when it did not. The Northern Wei and Northern Ch'i also organized an Office of the Direction of Waters but with two men directing it.

From the Ch'in-Han to the Wei-Chin there was a Yeh-che (Internuncio) or a Yeh-che P'u-yeh (Supervisor of the Internuncios) installed to take charge of guests and act as the Master of Ceremonies, and was usually under the jurisdiction of the Kuang-lu Hsun (Superindendant of the Imperial Household). (It resembles the Protocol Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.) By the time of the Southern Liu-Sung Dynasty it had transformed into an independent organization by the name of Yeh-che T'ai with one man serving as the Supervisor to head it.

Taken together the above three were called the San T'ai and of the three the Yu-shih T'ai was the most important.

3.5.1.1.4 San Sheng and Wu Sheng (The Three Departments and the Five Departments)

(The Shang-shu, "Master of Writing", Chung-shu "Palace Secretariat", and the Men-hsia "At the Gate" were called the Three Departments and later the Mi-shu "Archives" and Chi-shu "Compilation" were added to create the Five Departments.)

During the Two Chin Southern and Northern Dynasties the actual executive office for the government and the state was the Shang-shu Sheng, while the authority of the Prime Minister to act as an advisor on confidential and important matters concerning the central administration resided in the Chung-shu and the Men-hsia. During the closing years of the Han-Wei, the political power of the Shang-shu T'ai had already been increasing little by little as we have already explained in a prior section. During the Ts'ao-Wei Dynasty outside of the Shang-shu a supplemental Mi-shu Sheng was established and later changed to become the Chung-shu Sheng, thus the Chung-shu became intimate with the Emperor while the Shang-shu became estranged from him. After the Wei and the Chin the Chung-shu Chien (Inspector of the Palace Scribes) and the Chung-shu Ling (Prefect of the Palace Scribes) supervised the transmission of imperial edicts, recorded government orders and regulations at the time, wrote compositions and were often in the company of the emperor being most intimate and esteemed that men called their position that of a "pond of phoenixes" (feng-huang chih). At the beginning of the Chin a certain Kou Hsu was promoted from Inspector of the Palace Scribes to Prefect of the Masters of Writing and while other men offered him their congratulations he angrily told them: "They have grasped that which is our pond of phoenixes, how can the gentlemen congratulte me?" The Shih-chung (Palace Attendant) was another kind of official that waited on the emperor in the palace. At the beginning of the Han for the most part well-known Confucians were employed as such and after them it was mostly the children of the nobility or favorites of the emperor who filled the posts. During the Southern and Norther Dynasties the Palace Attendants controlled confidential information and along with the Prefect and Inspector of the Palace Scribes together received favored posts. During the reign of Wen-ti of the Liu-Sung, the King of Chiang-chan, Seng Ch'uo, used the post of Palace Attendant to assume dictatorial power. During the Southern Ch'i the King of Ching-ling, Ts'e-liang, assumed full contro over the government as a Palace Attendant and concurrent Minister over the Masses, while during the Northern Wei Chancellors of the Left and Right who had held the reins of government were both serving concurrently as Palace Attendants. Thus the Masters of Writing, the Palace Scribes and the Palace Attendants (called the Men-hsia Sheng) were paramount organs of central administration during the Two Chin and Southern and Northern Dynasties. Later during the Sung, Ch'i, Liang, and Northern Wei period of the Southern and Northern Dynasties they once again increased the number of departments by two with the Mi-shu and Chi-shu. The Mi-shu Sheng (Department of Confidential Records) and one man appointed as the Chien (Inspector) with a Ch'eng (Assistant) and they were in charge of charts, books and secret records. Prior to this the Cavlier Attendant in Regular Attendance (San-ch'i Ch'ang-shih) and the Chief Commandant of the Attendant Cavalry (Fu-ma T'u-wei) had been subordinate to the Men-hsi but now they all returned to the Chi-shu Sheng. During the Southern Ch'i Dynasty the Chi-shu Sheng was also called the Chih-shu Sheng and consequently when put together with the Three Departments they became known as the Five Departments. Only the Mi-shu Sheng and Chi-shu Sheng existed as separate organizations for the Three Departments still were a single unit. What follows is an outline of the organization of the Three Departments.

3.5.1.1.5 The Northern Chou's Once Only Establishment of the Nine Rank System of the Offices of Chou

Initially the Northern Chou occupied Kuan-chung and still followed the Wei administrative organization but later under the direction of Su Ch'o and Lu Pien the system was changed to accord with the Chou Kuan Li to establish the so-called system of "Nine Ranks and Six Offices" which was unique during the entire span of years of the Two Chin and Southern and Northern Dynasties. However, it was still true that whoever filled the post of Chu-kuo Ta Chiang-chün K'ai-fu was in complete control of the army and the government as the actual prime minister. Moreover, the system of Nine Ranks in acutality For generations there were increases and decreases... when Hsüan-ti inherited the throne affairs were not patterned after the past and officials were classed in p'in degrees, so according to his wishes the system was changed... at this time although the Rites of Chou were put into practice the bulk of its inner and outer positons made use of the Ch'in-Han (system)...in those that were not recorded and also omitted in the historical text. (From the Biography of Lu Pien in the Chou Shu, folio 24.)
Moreover it was only a short time before the Northern Chou Dynasty fell and the ruler Sui Wen-ti continued the series of usurpations and he recommended that the Liang and Ch'i organizations be used which when realized and expanded was the Three Departments system of the Sui-T'ang. Therefore this system of Nine Ranks and Six Offices was also one that existed in name only sharing this characteristic with the earlier mentioned systems of the Three Worthies and Nine Ministers.

3.5.1.2 The Feudatories

3.5.1.2.1 The Two Chin Dynasties

As we have already seen in section one of chapter one, at its beginning the Chin reestablished the practice of enfeoffment as the male offspring of the Ssu-ma family became Kings with kingdoms whose lands were approximately equal in extant with those of a commandery (chün) as it is said that commanderies were the same as kingdoms. Beneath the rank of king there were the five noble ranks of duke, marquis, count, viscount and baron (kung, hou, ...) but in reality it was normal for only the two ranks of duke and marquis to be enfeoffed and no matter whether it was a kingdom, dukedom or marquisate they were all divided into three classes of major, secondary and minor kingdoms. The feudal estates all had military formations but their personnel levels were not very large with major kingdoms maintaining three armies that did not exceed 5,000 men with these levels decreasing with rank until the smallest of the dukedoms and marquisates had only one army that did not exceed 1,000 men. Below the duke and marquis the enfeoffed nobility did establish military formations. In addition to military units there were also subordinate civil offices with the kingdoms having the greatest number which decreased in relation to rank. The most important privilege of the enfeoffed nobility was that they received income from the taxes and fees levied on the population that lived in their lands, the so-called shih-i ( a fief given to award merit) or i-tsu shih-shui (to obtain food and clothing from taxes). However, they were not granted the complete tax assessment for during the Western Chin they were given one-third and during the Eastern Chin, one-ninth. With regard to the number of households on the fiefs, among the major kingdoms it was 20,000 households while the smallest was the district of a minor marquisate which did not quite reach 5,000 households. The major kingdoms covered a commandery-sized area and were called chün-wang while the minor ones covered only a prefecture and were known as hsien-wang. Among the major dukes and marquis there were also those whose lands covered a commandery and were called either chün-kung or chü'n-hou; and the minor ones with prefecture-sized lands were called either hsien-kung or hsien-hou. In principle the kings and other feudal lords were all supposed to reside in their fiefs but in reality there were numerous kings and others who still resided in the capital while their fiefs were managed by the local officials and shou-t'ou (local authorities), and while each of the nobility lived in their capital residences their food and clothing was supplied by the court (the Imperial Treasury). This is only a general outline of the feudal institutions as they were practiced during the Two Chin period. For the most part they still honored the tradition of the Han-Wei nobility of drawing from the government treasuries but not participating in administration, however, their privileges were gradually expanded with the aim of creating a protective screen for the Imperial family. As far as the calamity of later outbreaks of revolt among the feudal lords, the principle reason for this is to be found in the annexation of the posts of Tu-tu (Inpsector General) and Ts'u-shih (Prefect) by the various kings and this is an entirely different problem.

3.5.1.2.2 The Southern Dynasties

For the most part the feudal situation that existed among the Southern Dynasties continued the institutions of the Eastern Chin. Because of the almost daily contraction of territory the major feudal kingdoms did not exceed 2,000 households, while the minor kingdoms did not exceed 1,000.

3.5.1.2.3 The Northern Dynasties

Because of the vast expanse covered by the lands of the Northern Wei there were many given noble rank after the example of the Chin Dynasty, for from the time of T'o-pa Kuei, Tao-wu-ti, rose up in the northern Tai area all of the influential men of the tribes were those of nearby tribes who gave their allegiance were all either given noble rank or granted the title of "king" on an hereditary basis. In 404 the five noble ranks were reduced to four with the elimination of both count and baron leaving king, duke, marquis and viscount; all the sons of the Imperial House and those with outstanding accomplishments were given the rank of king. It was the custom of the time that a king received a major commandery, a duke a minor commandery, a marquis a major prefecture and a viscount a minor prefecture. As for the income they could take from taxes, a king received one-half (this was greater than the one-third allowed kings during the Western Chin), a duke received one-third, a marquis received one-fourth and a viscount received one-fifth, nevertheless, later on this was greatly increased but it is here difficult to explain in detail. To sum it up in words, there were actually two important phenomena: first, only those with the surname of the Royal Family could be made kings, two, there was an excessive number of meritorious subjects given noble rank but the majority of these had a title but no land (and so no income from taxes) passing on the title that denoted honor and high position but that was all.

The Northern Ch'i for the most part followed the precedents of the Northern Wei while the Northern Chou, besides enfeoffing the sons of the Royal Family as kings also restored the five noble ranks, and to all who were given noble rank they were also granted palatine honors (K'ai-fu: the prerogative of holding court) and the title of Pillar of the State Grand General.

3.5.1.3 The System of Local Officials

3.5.1.3.1 The Three-tiered System of Chou, Chün and Hsien

The local administrative systems of the states of the Two Chin and Southern and Northern Dynasties period all evolved from the common heritage of the Ts'ao-Wei Dynastic state and they all put into practice the three-tiered system of chou, chün and hsien (province, commandery and prefecture). The province was headed by a Prefect, the commandery by a Grand Administrator (T'a-shou) and a major prefecture by a Subprefect (ling) and a minor prefecture by an Elder (chang) and these are all the same designations as were used in the past. There was a difference, and that was the the Prefect (ts'u-shih) was originally an Inspection Official but after the Wei-Chin period it was suddenly transformed into the highest local administrative official also changing the local administrative structure froma two-tiered to a three-tiered system. Then following the move south across the (Yangtze) River and the loss of the lands of the north, the names and offices of several important captured districts were still maintained and transplanted on to southern soil where they were called ch'iao-chou, ch'iao-chün and ch'iao-hsien (temporary provinces, commanderies and prefectures). Using a "temporary province" as an example, some were only the size of a commandery while others were only the size of a prefecture. Some would be set up in a territory one day and then the next day they would be moved to another area. In addition, their number fluctuated with time as they were established and then disestablished. Those who served as the administrators of these temporary administrative units often possessed only a title with no real power. Corresponding with these temporary provinces and commanderies were the actual, functioning administrative districts of the south and these were called shih-chou and shih-chün (actual or real provinces and commanderies). At the same time the dynasties in the north followed the example of the south and established numerous provinces and commanderies using souther place-names, for example the Northern Wei had a Hsiang-chou (Hsiang refers to Hunan), Yang-chou (the lower Yangtze region), Pa-chou (the Chunking area), I-chou (the Chengtu area) and others, and they were all empty names. Moreover, their intentions wer not the same in doing this for the Southern Dynasties did so out of nostalgia for the good old days while the Northern Dynasties did so to demonstrate their power. Such being the case, it has made the local adminstrative divisions and institutions extremely confused. In addition to all of this there is another peculiar phonomenon and that is that during the later years of the Southern and Northern Dyansties period each side increased the number of provincial seats (chou-chih) with the number of provinces increasing to the point where it became difficult to distinguish the boundaries of the province from the commanderies. For example, at the beginning of the Western Chin when the entire country was united there were only twenty-one provinces, however, by the time of the Southern and Northern Dynasties during the later years of the Liang Dynasty there were over one-hundred provinces. After the Northern Chou had eliminated Ch'i, it has over two-hundred provinces. The trend went so far that several provinces had names but it is difficult to discover what lands they controlled.

3.5.1.3.2 The Capital and Its Environs

During the Ch'in-Han period the seat of the central government was managed by the Clerk of the Capital (Nei-shih) and the Governor of Ho-nan (河南尹 Ho-nan Yin). The Ts'ao-Wei and Western Chin both still maintained the title of Governor of Ho-nan. When the Eastern Chin established their kingdom on the left bank of the Yangtze, the capital district was managed by the Governor of Tan-yang (尹 Tan-yang Yin). After this the Sung, Ch'i, Liang and Ch'en states all continued the usage. When the Latter Wei first founded a capital at P'ing-ch'eng a Governor of Tai (代尹 Tai Yin) was established, it was later changed to the Governor of 10,000 Years (尹 Wan-nien Yin), and when the capital was transferred to Lo-yang it became the Governor of Ho-nan. The Eastern Wei had its capital set up in Yeh, establishing a Governor of Wei (尹 Wei Yin) and while the Northern Ch'i capital was still in Yeh the title was changed to Governor of the Virtuous Capital (尹 Ch'ing-tu Yin). The Western Wei and the Northern Chou capitals were in Ch'ang-an and both used the title of Governor of the Capital (尹 Ching-chao Yin).

When the Han Dynassty was in the process of dividing the empire into inspection districts, in the lands around the capital (san-fu, the three adjuncts: Ching-chao Yin, Yu-fu-feng and Tso-p'ing-yi and the san-ho: Ho-tung, Ho-nei and Ho-nan) the office of the Colonel Director of the Retainers (Ssu-li Hsiao-wei) was established whose duties were similar to those of the provincial inspectors (ts'u-shih) but who had relatively more authority. Both the Ts'ao-Wei and Western Chin Dynasties also set up the post of Colonel Director of the Retainers and the area under his control was called Ssu-chou (province of the director) thus putting Ssu-chou and all of the other provinces on an equal footing. After the Eastern Chin had crossed the (Yangtze) River the central capital area was called Yang Province (Yang-chou) and the post of Colonel Director of the Retainers was abolished and replaced by that of the Prefect (tz'u-shih) of Yang-chou. The Sung, Ch'i, Liang and Ch'en dynasties all followed this system. The post of Prefect of Yang-chou was an important assignment in the capital and it was customary in the Southern Dynasties to staff it with a king, and when in collusion with the Governor of Tan-yang his power and influence were enormous. All of those who became Prefect of Yang-chou or Governor of Tan-yang had to manage central political authority. The Latter Wei also discontinued the office of Colonel Director and changed the title to Ssu-chou Mu (Pastor of Ssu Province), a title that both the Eastern Wei and Northern Ch'i used. The Western Wei and the Northern Chou both had their capital in Ch'ang-an and the seat of their central administration was called Yung-chou which was headed by the Pastor of Yung Province (Yung-chou Mu). The Governor of Ho-nan and the Governor of Tan-yang administered a commandery-sized district in the capital area; the Prefect of Ssu-chou and the Prefect of Yang-chou administered a province-sized area.

The System of Concurrent Prefect (Tz'u-shih) and Inspector-General (都 Tu-tu)

In the lands of the Two Chin Dynasties and the Southern and Northern Dynasties the administrative system had one special characteristic whose origin was in the Ts'ao-Wei state of the Three Kingdoms period and that was the post of Inspector-General who also served as Prefects, controlling military authority. A provincial prefect who only managed the civil administration and did not direct military formations was known as a "single cart prefects" (tan ch'e tz'u-shih), while all of the prefects who commanded military formations usually had the additional title of "Inspector-General of the Military Affairs of X province" or "Inspector-General of the Military Affairs of X and Y provinces." This sort of prefect had in his grasp both local political and military authority, which easily resulted in the creation of a feudal power and, therefore, was an important reason for the ease with which various locales took up arms and revolted during the period of the Two Chins and the Southern and Northern Dynasties. Prefects with concurrent titles of military authority were divided into many grades of which it was normally the case that Tu-tu Chu-chün (Inspector-General of All Units) was the highest, chien chu-chün (Overseer of All Units) was next, and Tu Chu-chün (Inspector of All Units) was lowest. At the same time Inspector-Generals and Overseers of the army were also divided into three types, shih-ch'ih-chieh (commisioner bearing credentials), ch'ih-chieh (Credential bearer) and chia-chieh (credential holder). The commissioner bearing credentials had the highest position with enormous power and prestige, under the Chin system the holders of this rank could order the death of officials from the rank of 2,000 shih on down while a credential bearer could only order the death of those without official rank. Among the various inspector-generals the post of Tu-tu Chung-wai Chu-chün-shih (Inspector-General of Inner and Outer Military Affairs of All Armies) was the most highly honored. This distinctive system was maintained by the Sung, Ch'i, Liang, Ch'en and all of the Northern Dynasties, and it was only in the Northern Chou that the title Inspector-General of Inner and Outer Military Affairs was changed to Tsung-kuan ( Regional Commander) and then the Sui and T'ang modelled their institutions after this pattern.

Village Officials
The Chin Dynasty

On the basis of the density of the local population, of every 50 to 100 li one man was established as Li-li (Hamlet Official). If they reached 500 households a hsiang (district) was then established, 3,000 or more households were organized into two districts, 5,000 or more into three districts, and 10,000 or more into four districts. In every district there was one man appointed as Se-fu (Bailiff), in districts under 1,000 households one man was appointed chih-chu-shih (Preparer of Documents), those with over 1,000 households had one li, one tso (assistant), one hsiang-cheng (District Director) and for those with more than 5,000 households there was one li and two Assistant Clerks.

The Southern Dynasties

During the span of the Liu-Sung Dynasty the system was set down: every 5 families formed a wu (quintet) and had a wu-chang (quintet chief), two wu formed a shih with a shih-chang (chief of ten), ten shih formed a li (hamlet) with a li-l'uei (headman of a hamlet), ten li formed a t'ing (commune) with a t'ing-chang, ten t'ing formed a hsiang (district) with a san-lao, a hsiang-tso (district accessory clerk), a yu-chih (petty official with rank), a se-fu (bailiff), and a yu-chiao (patrol leader). The Thrice Venerable was responsible for the mora guidance of the public, the Dictrict Accessory Clerk and the Petty Official with Rank were responsible for agricultural and excise taxes, the bailiff was responsible for controlling illegal activities. For all intents and purposes that was a revival of the Han institutions. In reality, after the move to the lower Yangtze the peasantry became homeless vagrants, there was frequent chaos and upheaval brought on by warfare, and there were many on the move so that the household registers were continually in error and disarray so that this type of organizational framework and its staffing was likewise found to usually exist in name only.

The Northern Dynasties

At its beginning the Northern Wei had no system of local communities for it was also a victim of the tumults brought about by war, frequently 35 families came together to form one household which was supervised and protected by a clan chief. A local community organization was first begun in 485, and it was patterned after the classical institutions of China, 5 families forming a lin (neighborhood) with one person serving as lin-chang (neighborhood cheif), 5 lin constituted a li (hamlet) with one person serving as li-chang (hamlet chief), 5 li formed a tang (association) with a tang-chang (association chief) who chose among the strong and prudent among the men of the countryside for these posts. A neighborhood chief was granted one exemption from taxes, the hamlet chief had two and the association chief had three.

According to Northern Ch'i organization, 10 families formed a lin-pi (neighborhood), 50 families form a lü (village), 100 families formed a tsu-tang (clan group), and within every single clan group one man was set up as the tang-tsu (clan chief), one man as fu tang-tsu (assistant clan chief), ten men as neighborhood chiefs and two as village leader and together they managed the affairs of one-hundred families.

4). The Officials Ranks and Salaries
The Two Chin Dynasties

The following is taken from the Chin-chih (Annals of Chin) and meant to suggest through a few examples what the pay structure was like.

First Rank, to receive five hu of grain per day: all dukes, Ta Chiang-chun, and all others of palatine rank.
Second Rank, to receive four hu of grain per day: all Ta Chiang-chün (Valiant Cavalry, Chariots and Cavalry, and Guard) without palatine rank.
Third Rank, to receive three hu of grain per day: the Nine Ministers, third-rank generals, and the Imperial Household Grandees.
Fourth Rank, to receive fifty hu of grain per month: the Prefect of the Masters of Writing.


The Southern Dynasties

There are gaps in the historical record of the official pay of the Southern Dynasties, but in general they were a continuation of Chin institutions. It was only in 502 during the reign of Liang Wu-ti that a system of Nine Grades was instituted: the salary of officials of the first grade was 10,000 shih, the second and third grades had a median of 2,000 shih while those of the fourth and fifth grade were 2,000 shih. With regards as to how this salary was actually distributed there are no details.

The Northern Dynasties

The officialdom of the Northern Wei was patterned after the Southern Dynasties division into nine grades, however, these nine grades were further divided into cheng and tsung (primary and secondary) and each of these two classifications was further divided into shang, chung and hsia (high, middle and low) for a total of six steps to each grade. Later on the grades from four on down were changed to four steps each by dropping the middle level (e.g. primary and secondary were subdivided into only high and low). The Northern Ch'i for the most part inherited the Noethern Wei system.

In addition, the official salaries of the officials of the Two Chin Dynasties and the Southern and Northern Dyansties still had two other unusual cases and they were bestowals and reductions. Bestowals were in addition to the normal salary (cloth, grain and cash) for the imperial court also bestowed on bureaucrats government lands (kuan-t'ien) and in addition to this there were also frequent distributions of raw silk, cotton and other commodities. Reductions wer made in years when natural disasters struck then official salaries were reduced in what was a very unusual government policy.