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Southern integration: the Sui-Tang (581-907) reach south.

SOUTH CHINA HAD BEEN independent for roughly four centuries when it was conquered by the Sui dynasty (581-618) in 589. (1) Much of the south, moreover, had scarcely been Chinese in any meaningful sense at all prior to the initial (Qin) imperial unification in the third century BC. Yet after the Sui conquest, and under the more enduring Tang dynasty (618-907) that followed, the south was successfully and permanently incorporated into the empire, and increasingly even central to it. In hindsight, this "reunification of China" appears both natural and inevitable. But it was not simply inevitable, as the contemporary counterexample of the permanent dissolution of Roman imperial unity in the Mediterranean illustrates. The Qin and Han dynasties (221 BC-AD 220) had established an early precedent for unified empire in China, but there was no guarantee that their model would ever be duplicated again. This article will examine the intricate process by which long-independent, and far from homogenous, territories and peoples came to be integrated into the single political entity we now call "China." It needs to be appreciated from the outset that the concept of "China," as we understand it, did not yet exist in the sixth century. Not only is "China" not a Chinese language word, but the nearest Chinese language equivalents also still had somewhat different significations. The Chinese term that is today most nearly synonymous with the English word "China"--Zhongguo, or Middle Kingdom(s)--rather than being the proper name of a country, was more literally a geographic description, indicating the country or countries occupying the central portions of the known world. It referred, moreover, specifically to only part of what we now consider to be China--chiefly the so-called Central Plain area in the Northeast. Huaxia, a term that is difficult to translate into English other than as "China," nevertheless was neither the name of a country nor a nation, but an elastic cultural marker distinguishing literate agriculturally-based "civilization" from the radically different lifestyle of preliterate and, especially, nomadic peoples. The Huaxia label could, furthermore, embrace a surprising amount of internal ethnic diversity, and multiple independent countries. (2) Therefore, while there has indeed been very much continuity of Chinese civilization over time--notably of the written language and texts--we need to be careful of what we mean when we speak of an enduring "China."

The remarkable longevity of the Chinese empire (which, however, could alternately be described as a succession of different empires occupying roughly the same space) has been examined by Mark Elvin in The Pattern of the Chinese Past. Elvin's emphasis, however, was on developments in the North prior to the Sui and Tang dynasties, and, especially, on the post-Tang "economic revolution" and subsequent "high-level equilibrium trap" that sustained the late imperial order. By contrast, Prasenjit Duara sought "to decouple the ... repressive connection between history and the nation," and questioned the linear continuity of any unitarily permanent "China." Most studies of the expansion of the Chinese state and civilization into the south, meanwhile, such as Herold Wiens's China's March to the Tropics, and Laura Hostetler's recent work on the early-modern Southwest, have focused upon long-term Chinese southward migration and interaction with aboriginal peoples. Miyakawa Hisayuki sketched "The Confucianization of South China," but the spread of Confucianism did not necessarily preclude the possibility of independent Confucian states surviving in south China (as they did in Korea, Japan, and Vietnam). None of this explains why centuries of southern independence were followed by enduring reunification. (3)

Chinese scholars have long recognized that the Age of Division between the great unified Han and Sui dynasties poses a special challenge to the continuity of Chinese history, although the pivotal importance of the era remains underappreciated among English-speaking Sinologists. Even the best studies of this period typically assume an underlying cultural, ethnic, or even racial unity, and the foreknowledge of eventual reunification. (4) The sixth-century Sui formation of an ideology of imperial unification has been ably studied by Arthur Wright, while southern contributions to the resulting institutional and cultural fusion have also been duly acknowledged, notably by Chen Yinke (1890-1969). (5)

What is lacking is a study focused upon the South that takes the possibility of permanent southern independence seriously, and examines the specifically contingent sequence of events, circumstances, and policies that made long-term southern integration successful. Reunification was not mere chance--deliberate human intention was certainly a factor--but neither was it predestined. Ancient Chinese ideals of unity were theoretically universal, and were not limited to "China." The preceding Qin and Han empires had not been either culturally or ethnically homogenous. The peoples living within what became the Sui-Tang empires were not simply "all Chinese." It remains to be shown why certain pieces of real estate ultimately became Chinese while others did not (both northern Korea and northern Vietnam, for example, were part of the Chinese empire for centuries). This period was a critical juncture in "the making of China." (6)


When the first great age of imperial unification (the Qin and Han dynasties) began to unravel after 184, an independent state called Wu (222-280) arose in the southlands. Wu was short-lived; it fell to a northern dynasty in 280. Yet a distinctive "southern consciousness" survived. As one contemporary remarked, "It is a distant place with different customs, and the climate is not the same." Wu was treated as a defeated enemy, and as another contemporary explained, continued southern resistance was the consequence of occupation by northern armies and the displacement of former Wu elites. (7)

A generation later, this northern dynasty itself succumbed to internal strife. Remnants of its court retreated south beyond the protective shelter of the Yangzi River, founding a succession of so-called southern dynasties. There the first emigre prince, who established his headquarters in 307 at Nanking (Nanjing; called Jiankang during the southern dynasties), expressed chagrin at having to "sojourn in the lands of [other] people's countries." Initially, he was not especially welcome. Around 317, one native of the Nanking region still explicitly distinguished his southern homeland from the northern Zhongguo, or "Middle Kingdom"--a term which obviously still did not include the south, Emigre rulers and native southern elites soon learned to coexist, however, in the face of mutual new threats from the North. (8)

During the troubled fourth and fifth centuries, between one and two million refugees may have fled south. Subsequent southern dynasties continued to be dominated by powerful northern emigre families until the early sixth century. Only during the feeble last southern dynasty, Chen (557-589), did they lose their grip; and, even then, emigre descent was still claimed for the Chen imperial line. Yet these emigres were a minority, outnumbered by the older southern Chinese families, and, at least initially, the non-Chinese aboriginal populations may have been absolutely the most numerous of all. (9) These aboriginal peoples were sometimes dismissed by Chinese speakers as "'badgers,' because they seemed to be of a kind with foxes and badgers." As this sixth-century author continued:
   The Ba, Shu, Man, Liao, Xi, Li, Chu, and Yue [peoples] make the
   sounds of birds and the cries of fowl. Their languages are
   incomprehensible. Monkeys, snakes, fish and turtles: their tastes
   are entirely different.... [Emperor Sima] Rui [r. 317-322] kept
   them only under loose rein, and was never able to make their people
   submit to regulation. (10)

In addition to ethnic diversity, there was also significant geographic variation within the southlands. There were five major southern subregions, including the upper, middle, and lower Yangzi River basins, the far Southwest, and the far Southeast. For brevity, the upper Yangzi region (Sichuan) will be excluded from consideration here, as being more west than south. The far Southwest (Yunnan and Guizhou), moreover, can also safely be disregarded, since it remained largely external to the Chinese world throughout this period.

The far Southeast, known as Lingnan (Guangdong, Guangxi, and northern Vietnam), had also been outside the pale of Chinese civilization in antiquity, but, after its incorporation under the first imperial dynasty, two of China's most important ports were located there: one at Canton and another near modern Hanoi. These cities remained somewhat isolated enclaves, however, with much of the interior remaining remote and undeveloped to the end of the Tang. (11) Thus, a seventh-century official could still dismiss Lingnan as lying beyond the natural borders of the empire, and a contemporary Chan patriarch notoriously questioned whether people

from Lingnan even possessed a Buddha-nature. Even as late as the twelfth century, Chinese accounts still emphasized the alien customs of Lingnan outside of the cities. (12) Indeed, parts of this region are still notable today for their aboriginal populations--and Vietnam has been a separate country since the tenth century.

The core regions of the southern dynasties were the middle (roughly modern Hubei) and lower (southern Jiangsu, southern Anhui, and Zhejiang) reaches of the Yangzi, with the latter sometimes being called Jiangnan, meaning "south of the river." Initially, the middle Yangzi was the more developed area, so that when the downriver city of Nanking was selected as capital of the emerging Wu state in 211 it was an unprecedented choice. (13) Over time, however, Jiangnan flourished while the middle Yangzi was reduced (somewhat) to a marcher zone of military confrontation. Protected from attack from the north by the natural barriers of the Yangzi and Huai rivers, Jiangnan had a tradition of independence "whenever the king's law was relaxed." Thus, as north China disintegrated during the fourth century into such anarchy that, for example, in 304 even the victorious conquerors of Sichuan were forced to dig up wild roots to eat, Jiangnan became a place of refuge, with a thriving commercial economy and a richly sophisticated literary culture. (14) By the early sixth century Nanking may have been the largest city in the world, with a population estimated to have reached 1.4 million. Despite the commercial vitality of the southern dynasties, however, they were politically and militarily fragile. Furthermore, the North remained more populous until perhaps the mid-eighth century. (15) And it was from the north that eventual reunification came.

The southern dynasties were independent countries. Yet, despite certain cultural differences and a large (perhaps even majority) aboriginal population, southern dynasty elites remained acutely conscious of descent from northern ancestors (real or imagined). They shared a common classical literary heritage with the North, and envisioned their dynasties as heirs to the true line of imperial succession that had vacated the North amid the chaos of the fourth century. (16) As emigres, southern dynasty emperors might have been expected to be intent upon the recapture of their lost homeland. In fact, if, at first, the emigres "generally had an expectation of returning, ... naturally, over time, people grew content with their estate," and they seldom made more than token efforts at recovery of the North. After only a generation, while not forgetting their northern origins, many came to view Jiangnan both as home, and a new center of civilization. (17) From Nanking, the North could now be dismissed as a "wasteland; from here we say that everyone north of the Yangzi are Yi and Di [i.e., non-Chinese peoples]." Indeed, by the mid-sixth century it was claimed that commoners might not even recognize an emperor who was not based at Nanking. (18) Northern and southern courts wore different styles of clothing, had different tastes in food, and spoke with different accents. Although the emigre elite in Jiangnan tried to maintain the old northern metropolitan dialect, over time it diverged from the language actually heard in the North, and was surrounded by a babble of other southern tongues. (19)

Indeed, the claim was that it was the northern dynasties that had ceased to be fully Chinese. David Honey calculates that thirteen of the sixteen northern kingdoms during the fourth and fifth centuries "were founded by non-Chinese." The simultaneous collapse of centralized government, and appearance of stirrup and heavily-armored cavalry shortly after 300, had enabled bands of mounted warriors to impose themselves militarily across the plains of north China. Often, these were seminomadic peoples who, although having already lived within the borders of the empire for generations, retained separate tribal organizations and spoke non-Chinese languages. It has even been speculated that the rulers of one early fourth-century northeastern dynasty may have been speakers of an Indo-European language. And, as nomads, they were culturally open to the wider world of the steppe. The tomb of one garrison commander who died in northwest China in 569, for example, contains the earliest known example of a type of scabbard that would later become familiar everywhere from eastern Europe to Japan, and a silver ewer decorated with scenes from the Trojan wars. (20)

In the fourth century some of these kingdoms maintained dual--nomadic-tribal, and Chinese-bureaucratic--structures. And, although these northern dynasties gradually acquired more of the trappings of Chinese-style government and culture, in the early sixth century there was a vigorous nomadic resurgence. For a time, then, ambitious Chinese learned nomadic languages, and tribal strongmen referred disparagingly to the Chinese as "dogs," and even used them as human shields in battle. A sharp division between nomadic warriors and Chinese farmers still prevailed in the early-sixth-century north. (21)

From the perspective of Nanking, the rulers of even the greatest northern dynasty, the Northern Wei (386-534), were mere nomads, "rope headed caitiffs" who "followed the water and grass" without permanent homes. After finally building a capital city on the edge of the steppe in 398, they had to "arrange for officials ... who could understand both nomadic and Chinese languages to act as translators." (22) When a Northern Wei ambassador inquired about the southerner Zhang Rong's (444-497) father, "Rong looked distressed, and finally said, 'my late father's name has unfortunately spread among the six Yi [non-Chinese peoples].'" (23) Disdain was, unsurprisingly, mutual: "Southern histories speak of northerners as 'rope caitiffs,' and northern histories refer to southerners as 'island Yi.'" Yet, in matters of literary culture, even northerners sometimes acknowledged in the early sixth century the greater sophistication of the south. One contemporary, familiar with both regions, reported that the North had only a third as many books as the south. Furthermore, of twenty-one biographies of literary figures in the "Garden of Letters" section of the History of the Northern Dynasties, fifteen are of men who were originally from the south, while only six were native northerners. While this is also testimony to a frequency of exchange that should have tended to diminish regional differences, north and south remained separate countries. (24)


It was a "northern wind" from the still seminomadic garrisons on the edge of the steppe that finally brought reunification. The early rulers of the Sui and Tang dynasties, although usually considered Chinese, were thoroughly steeped in nomadic culture. And the northwestern region near modern Xi'an that served as the springboard for Sui-Tang reunification had been described in the fifth century as a place where peoples "live mixed together, who are not of one kind." (25) Yet the lines of difference were dissolving. In the mid-sixth century, dynasties in the Northwest began actively recruiting Chinese men into military service, blurring the division between Chinese agriculturalists and nomadic warriors. They also endeavored to legitimate their regimes by depicting themselves as heirs to the formative ancient Zhou dynasty (ca. 1045-256 BC), which had originated in the same northwestern zone a millennium and a half earlier. (26) The south, meanwhile, had been shaken by a disastrous rebellion in 548-552. The Chen dynasty, founded in the aftermath of that rebellion, never fully recovered, and held only a shaky grip upon even the core areas of Jiangnan. The population under its effective authority may have been reduced to a mere two or three million. (27) The south was newly vulnerable, and the Chen dynasty fell rather abruptly to a Sui invasion in 589. Despite assertions that the entire south submitted immediately, some local authorities retained considerable autonomy. Southernmost Lingnan (the Hanoi region), for example, remained openly independent until 602. (28) The Age of Division, however, was over.

Following the Sui conquest, Nanking was ordered "completely leveled, and returned to cultivation." An attempt was made to placate the conquered south with a ten year tax moratorium, but the dismissal of the last southern dynasties as illegitimate, the proclamation of a general disarmament, strict enforcement of Sui laws, and a demand that household registries be forwarded to the Sui capital provoked resentment and wild rumors. Before long, in the winter of 590, violent anti-Sui rebellions erupted throughout the South. These rebellions were crushed, but in 593 the Sui emperor still found it necessary to ban the private compilation of histories and other potentially subversive writings, and in 598 confiscate all large private shipping in Jiangnan. (29)

Despite those early problems, however, the Sui reunion of north and south, facilitated by a network of new canals, was a long-term success. Although his family had a pronounced northwestern orientation, the second Sui emperor, Yangdi (r. 605-616), acquired southern sympathies. He married a southern woman, and learned to speak the Wu dialect. Indeed, for some years after the conquest he served as area commander-in-chief in Jiangnan, and reportedly even flirted with the idea of rebelling against his father from there, before inheriting the throne instead. (30)

In Jiangnan, he respectfully sought out the leading southern Buddhist cleric, receiving the Bodhisattva vows (lay ordination) from him in 591. As Stanley Weinstein observes, this monk became the founding patriarch of a new empire-wide religious synthesis, Tiantai, which paralleled the political synthesis of the unified Sui dynasty. After the patriarch's death, to ensure that his disciples "hand down the rule with respect," the Sui emperor even assumed something of the patriarchal role himself, acting as benefactor for his monastery and directing ordinations. (31) The second Sui emperor returned to Jiangnan repeatedly after ascending his throne in the North, and eventually was assassinated there. By then his empire lay in ruins--but the fatal rebellions began in a different recently conquered region: the Northeast. (32)


The Sui dynasty lasted only two generations. What would become the next unified dynasty, the Tang, began in the summer of 617 with an uprising on the edge of the steppe. During the interval between dynastic consolidations, some two hundred rebel bands sprang up, and China was temporarily repartitioned. Although the framework of Tang imperial unification was completed within about a decade, the far south and west long retained much autonomy. Early Tang power was sharply concentrated in the Northwest, and even northeasterners continued to be viewed with some suspicion. (33) Tang reunification "was a military process." Yet, after surveying the carnage of an early battlefield, the Tang founder is supposed to have resolved to rely henceforth more upon cultural allure than armed force. Despite its obvious propaganda value, this story likely reflects a pragmatic recognition that imperial success would require, beyond coercion, a foundation in public confidence. (34)

The new Tang dynasty did not simply replicate earlier imperial models. Tang culture was actually notable for its originality. (35) Much as medieval Europe sprang from a mixture of Roman legacies with Christian and Germanic overlays, Sui-Tang China was a similarly novel combination of ancient tradition, Indian Buddhism, and the contributions of seminomadic conquerors. A consciousness of continuity with the classical past was vital, however. The Tang imperial family's claim to descent from the Daoist sage Laozi, for example, was simultaneously innovative--even apocalyptic--while also securely linking the dynasty to a widely revered classical textual heritage. (36)

Throughout the Age of Division, social and political elites had always continued to define themselves in terms of their mastery of classical Chinese language texts and values (including, but not exclusively, those we call Confucian). Even illiterate and identifiably still non-Chinese warrior leaders sought validation for themselves within this literary tradition. When political division, and such external influences as Buddhism, challenged the traditional world order, literati responded by compiling authoritative new religious (both Daoist and Buddhist, domesticating the alien religion by inscribing its sacred texts in Chinese), legal, literary, and linguistic canons. Amidst division, a process of cultural consolidation brought multiple ethnicities together through shared religious practices and myths of common descent rooted in the classics. (37)

After the Tang unification, conceptual order was imposed upon the chaotic history of the northern and southern dynasties, as an astonishing third of all Chinese dynastic histories were compiled within the span of only about two decades. At the same time standard new editions of the classics were also compiled (although there was no insistence upon rigid orthodoxy), based on meticulous collation of earlier texts. (38)

The Tang aspired to reduce a sprawling cosmopolitan empire to a tightly meshed whole. Although in practice administrative goals may have only been imperfectly realized, in theory all local officials were supposed to be centrally appointed, and required to attend periodic audiences at the capital. In addition, local population registries were to be regularly updated, and in order to facilitate communication, an imperial network of post stations was erected. Furthermore, all persons traveling beyond their place of registration were required to carry special travel documents, and an attempt was made to seal the borders. (39) To foster identification with the empire, the birth and death anniversaries of Tang emperors became empire-wide holidays. An effort was also made to circumscribe religion within the borders of the state. Thus on four occasions in the Tang, and once in the Sui, empire-wide Buddhist temple building projects were initiated. The summons of famous monks to the capital contributed to a blending together of regional variations of Chinese Buddhism, while the progressive domestication of Buddhism led to a fading of interest in foreign Buddhist sources. (40) In the South, the pacification commissioner of Jiangnan, Di Renjie (607-700), demolished hundreds of local non-Buddhist temples. A "watershed" in native Chinese religious history was crossed as what had previously been only a patchwork of different local beliefs was consolidated, in the period beginning in the Tang and culminating in the Song dynasty (960-1279), into a smaller number of new "national deity cults." (41) Thus, across multiple dimensions, a once diverse and multicultural empire was beginning to acquire a more uniform identity.

The growing prestige of the civil service examination system--by the seventh century, the lure of attaining the Jinshi degree was already a powerful cultural magnet--attracted ambitious men from throughout the empire to the capital, and thereby weakened once strong regional affiliations. Paradoxically, then, decentralization, in the aftermath of a great rebellion that rocked the dynasty in the mid-eighth century, may have resulted in the spread across China of "a greatly enlarged class of educated landowners" whose sense of local difference was less pronounced. Similarly, the court-centered Buddhism of the early Tang was eclipsed after this same rebellion by more broadly popular forms of Chinese religious practice. (42) Metropolitan culture became more widely diffused, and gentry (if not peasants) began to become more undifferentiatedly Chinese.

During the northern and southern dynasties literature had been the special preserve of a relatively few distinguished families, such as that of Xie Hun (d. 412) in Nanking, who boasted that he met only his own cousins at literary gatherings. (43) Reunification brought expanded educational opportunities. According to a Tang edict of 624:
   Since the degenerate age of decline, the elegant Dao has sunk into
   oblivion. For endless years the Confucian breeze has not been
   fanned.... Cherished words and books are all ashes.... The customs
   of the schools have been destroyed.... [But] now, since China has
   been clarified, and shields and weapons are gradually being put
   away, the profession of civil officials can flourish. (44)

We should beware exaggeration, but one contemporary did remark that by the mid-eighth century "young boys were ashamed not to speak of writing." The poet Bai Juyi (772-846) boasted that from the capital to Jiangnan, for a thousand miles, "in every community school, Buddhist temple, inn, and traveling vessel there is always someone who has copied my verses." Paper had already become abundant during the southern dynasties, and, from obscure origins, printing was starting to have an impact by the end of the Tang. If much of the early printed material was of an unofficial and unscholarly nature--religious images, calendars, and such texts as a certain Mrs. Cui's Literary Lessons for Ladies [Cui shi furen xun nu wen], which appears to have been commercially printed in the capital in the early ninth century--such humble fare is especially apt for the consolidation of a common culture. (45)

Amidst the babble of spoken tongues, the relatively uniform Chinese written language provided a powerful instrument of overarching cultural unity. As Han Yu (768-824) reported after his demotion to a district in Lingnan (one of the most "remote places under heaven"): "When I first arrived we could not communicate. I drew on the ground to make characters, and only then was able to announce" official business. (46) To be sure, the same written language and textual canons also spread throughout all East Asia in this age. Bai Juyi's poems were admired in Korea and Japan at least as much as they were in China. When someone objected that a Turk could not be sensitive to the subtle nuances of vocabulary choice in a Chinese language document, the Tang founder--himself at least partially of nomadic descent--supposedly replied, "Chinese propriety is the same among all the Yi [non-Chinese peoples]." (47)

The early Tang dynasty took the conceit of being a universal empire exceptionally literally. While Chinese culture had long been equated with civilization itself, early Tang rulers went further, claiming suzerainty over the "uncivilized" nomads of the steppe as well, and, especially under the usurping Empress Wu (r. 684-705; "emperor" after 690), even to be the center of world Buddhism. (48) In the deeply cosmopolitan early Tang, the line between Chinese and foreign could be remarkably fluid. As the momentum of Tang imperial expansion slowed and then reversed, however, and as Chinese dynasties began increasingly to be surrounded by comparably developed foreign states, the perception of Chinese distinctiveness may have sharpened somewhat. In the ninth century Yuan Zhen (779-831) could still complain that in the Tang capital "women are the wives of nomads, and learn nomadic adornment; performers introduce nomadic sounds, and attend to nomadic music." (49) The complaint itself, however, may be evidence of changing attitudes. By this time an accelerating loop of feedback between state, formal education, and informal mutual emulation was increasingly defining what it meant to be Chinese.


In his path-breaking study of modern nationalism, Benedict Anderson emphasized the role of what he called "print-capitalism." While Anderson admitted that the technology of printing had been invented centuries earlier in China, he ascribed the belated emergence of nationalism in China to "the absence of capitalism." Yet China, from the late Tang, actually enjoyed a flourishing private commercial economy that could certainly be described as capitalistic. One Tang merchant, for example, reportedly employed five hundred looms for the production of fine silk. Tang-Song China exhibited a precocious early form of print-capitalism that may even, as Seo Tatsuhiko suggests, have also encouraged the formation of an early kind of Chinese national identity. (50) If so, however, it was still significantly different from modern nationalism. Imperial China was unfamiliar with such concepts as the self-governing citizen republic, and national (ethnic) self-determination. The premodern Chinese language literally did not even have a word for "nation," in the sense of a people rather than a state. Even physical "racial" characteristics, while they might mark a person as exotic (such as the "red-mustached Abhidharma master" in fifth century Jiangnan), were not a barrier to becoming Chinese, and could be viewed as surprisingly inessential. One early eighth-century story, for example, tells of a Chinese man of Central Asian descent who suspected his son of being illegitimate because of his deep-set eyes and prominent nose, until he noticed from horse-breeding that such physical traits could skip a generation or two and then reappear, and realized that his son had merely inherited the Central Asian features of his own great-grandfather. (51)

This story highlights the fallacy of explaining China's unity on the deceptively persuasive, but ultimately tautological, grounds that they were all "Chinese." Premodern Chinese simply did not think in terms of primordial nationality, and that they were all equally "Chinese" was often untrue even by objective criteria. The "country" to which patriots were expected to remain loyal was the "dynasty": Tang or Song, not "China." Whatever shared cultural community existed, moreover, although far less narrowly exclusive than it had been in the Age of Division, may still have extended chiefly to relatively educated elites. Benjamin Elman notes, for example, that in late imperial times "gentry from all over the empire had more in common culturally with each other than with other social groups in their native areas." (52)

One mid-ninth-century Tang emperor required senior regional officials to report in person upon the completion of their tenure, before proceeding to a new assignment. He is said to have astonished some with his detailed knowledge, culled from a secret handbook, of local customs and products in their jurisdictions. (53) The story suggests both an expectation of considerable local diversity, and a universal, interchangeable, governing elite and integrated literary culture. This combination of overlapping universal and local identities is exemplified by the entire genre known as local gazetteers (fang zhi) that flourished in late imperial China, which celebrated local peculiarities in a common language, from a standardized perspective.

Without a concept of "nation," there could be no "nationalism." Yet Tang-Song China did achieve a high degree of political and social cohesion. In part this was due to the coherent cultural heritage rooted in the ancient texts. "Literary composition is an ancient matter," explained Du Fu (712-770); "later worthies [re-]connect old arrangements." Likewise, Han Yu, in a famous late Tang example, extolled the ancient sages, whose teachings (he said) distinguished civilized people from beasts and barbarians. These teachings were "passed to the Duke of Zhou and Confucius, they were written into books, and the people of the Middle Kingdom [Zhongguo] have kept them for generations." (54) While Du Fu cautioned against "despising recent" authors, Han Yu believed this cultural inheritance had hung by only a thread during the northern and southern dynasties. His vision of the "transmission of the Way," furthermore, was an innovation, partially inspired perhaps by the example of the Chinese Buddhist patriarchy. Han Yu remained a relatively minor figure during his own lifetime, one who was only retrospectively elevated to the status of Neo-Confucian precursor. As the modern scholar Qian Mu comments, the ardor of Han Yu's movement to "restore antiquity" had the paradoxical effect of starting something new. (55) Yet, though Buddhist scriptures may have outnumbered the classics in the Sui dynasty, the canonical authority of classical Chinese texts had never seriously been challenged. Even the Indian sutras were written in Chinese. And, even at the height of northern dynasty "barbarian conquest," the classics still provided an historical narrative that enabled the nomadic rulers of the Northern Wei to claim descent from the same (mythical) Yellow Emperor as the Han Chinese. (56)


Since the Chinese cultural tradition was universalistic and inclusive, rather than exclusive, it was conducive to the incorporation of foreign areas--areas such as Jiangnan. Indeed, Jiangnan not only became part of the Tang-Song Chinese cultural unity, it became central to it. After some initially fierce resistance to the Sui conquest, there is little further evidence of southern separatist sentiment. Indeed, Robert Somers concluded that the early Tang dynasty "faced no serious opposition from any region outside North China." The leading southern strongman to emerge during the interregnum between Sui and Tang (a scion of former southern dynasty royalty) offered little effective resistance to Tang armies. (57) Thereafter, the success that southerners enjoyed participating in the reunified empire obviated any further reason for separatism.

From the start, Tang institutions were forged out of a somewhat deliberate fusion of northern and southern traditions. The core early Tang leadership was dominated by men from the Northwest, but a coterie of southerners was present from the beginning, including such figures as Yu Shi'nan (558-638), whom the emperor once called a "walking palace library." Early Tang rulers sought a rough geographic balance of appointments. (58) The same man who had once explained residual southern discomfort after the conquest of Wu in 280 with the remark that "it is a distant place with different customs," had also gone on to insist there was no fundamental incompatibility:
   The plan for pacification is, first assess their people, causing
   [some of] them to soar among the clouds to the palace gate. Advance
   their capable and virtuous, treating them with special courtesy.
   Perspicaciously select governors, and present them with an air of
   majesty. Lighten their tax assessments, and they will submit with
   complete contentment....

The quotation, preserved in a history compiled in 644 by a leading early Tang official, may have even influenced the formulation of Tang policy. (59)

After the devastating eighth-century rebellion, gentlemen once again sought refuge in the South. The monk-poet Jiaoran wrote that "many men of letters were beyond the [Yangzi] River" in the period 766-780. During those years there was also an unprecedented flurry of government-sponsored school-construction in Jiangnan, intended to stabilize Tang rule by promoting Confucian virtues such as loyalty. It was then that the spirit of a Confucian renaissance, foreshadowing later Neo-Confucianism, was kindled--in Jiangnan, rather than in the capitals of the North. (60)

Fujian, above Lingnan on the southeast coast, had been a land of independent non-Chinese kingdoms in antiquity, and it became predominantly Chinese in population only in Tang times. The first Jinshi from Fujian was awarded circa 792, but by Song times Jinshi from Fujian were conspicuously numerous, and Fujian had become a major center of Neo-Confucian scholarship. Thus, through the mechanism of scholarship and the examination system, literati from the Southeast attained an absolutely dominant position in Chinese imperial government by the late eleventh century.(61)

After the Sui-Tang reunification, long-term Chinese historical developments followed trajectories first established in the south. These included a reinvigoration of Jiangnan's exuberant commercial economy--which may have been temporarily set back by northern military conquest--and the universal acquisition of the southern habit of drinking tea. The demographic center also shifted south, and by the tenth century 59.1 percent of China's population lay in the south. (62) In the mid-eighth century Du Fu described northern armies being supplied by sea with rice and silk from the southlands. Quan Deyu (759-818) wrote in 792 that, for its "major calculations," the empire had to "rely on the southeast." In 802 Han Yu claimed that Jiangnan generated an astonishing nine-tenths of the empire's taxes. According to Du Mu (803-852), the region held the "fate of the country." Both because of its own dynamic commercial development, and because of successful tax evasion in other regions, the Southeast had become a critical source of imperial revenue by late Tang times. (63) There was, admittedly, a residual sense of southern difference. Han Yu could still express horror at the tropical jungles of the far south, where "the customs of the Man [aboriginal peoples] are crude and fierce, and the miasma steams." (64) In an amusing (though difficult to translate) story, one late-seventh-century man from Jiangnan was called a "foolish fellow" by a northerner. Seizing upon the fact that the word "fellow," han, can also mean "Chinese," the recipient of this abuse replied, "Your servant is a fool from Wu; the Han [Chinese fellow] is you, sir." (65) It seems a stretch to read smoldering southern separatist emotion into this story, however.

Tang poets often composed sentimental verses about antiquity, not uncommonly featuring southern dynasty Nanking. Liu Yuxi (772-842), for example, wrote of Nanking's "royal aura darkly ending" after the third-century conquest of Wu" "Now as we come to a day when the four seas are all [united as] one family, the old ramparts rustle with the reeds of autumn." Du Mu recalled overhearing from a nearby tavern, one ninth-century evening in Nanking, a song from the notoriously frivolous last southern dynasty. The singing girls "know nothing of regret for lost countries," was his remark. (66) Rather than being a lament for southern dynasty Chen, however, this was a warning to the current dynasty against Chen-style obliviousness to impending peril. In general, such nostalgic poems were merely a fashionable literary genre, rather than evidence of a longing to resurrect southern independence. Even the 684 rebellion in Jiangnan, during which mention was supposedly made of Nanking being easily defensible and retaining its "royal aura," was provoked by resentment at Empress Wu's (temporary) usurpation of the Tang throne, and was at least ostensibly conducted in the name of loyalty to the Tang. It does not represent hopes for a southern dynasty revival. (67)

When the Tang dynasty finally fell, remote southern Lingnan was the last fragment of the empire to remain loyal. Jiangnan once more briefly became the site of an independent state, but the founder of this new kingdom, with its capital at Nanking, claimed to be a descendent of the Tang imperial family, and pointedly named his country Southern Tang (937-975). (68) By the last imperial dynasty (Qing, 1644-1912), the south (including Jiangnan and most of old Lingnan) had become an unquestioned part of "China proper"--the ethnic "Han Chinese" core of an expansive Manchu conquest empire. Twentieth-century Chinese nationalists, moreover, such as Sun Yat-sen, have been if anything disproportionately from the south, while Nanking was the capital of the modern Nationalist Republic. (69)

South China was no more inherently "Chinese" than Gaul was intrinsically Roman (or French). Even after a lengthy initial period of unification, once detached, the southern dynasties could still have become permanently independent countries (as Vietnam, once arguably no less "Chinese" than the rest of Lingnan, and part of the empire for a millennium, actually did after 939). (70) The Sui-Tang reconquest of the South after 589 was triumphant, ultimately, because of a critical measure of willing southern participation in the unification project, and long-term ascendance within it. The southern ascent was so successful that by the late Tang and Song dynasties the once peripheral, and long independent, south had not only been reincorporated into the empire--it had become the economic and cultural heart of China.

(1.) Since the effective end of Han imperial unity around 184, and with the exception of a brief reunification after 280, which began to disintegrate within little more than a decade.

(2.) See Edward H. Schafer, "The Yeh Chung Chi," T'oung Pao, 76.4-5 (1990): 147-49. Liu Xueyao, Wu-hu shi lun (Essays in the History of the Five [non-Chinese peoples known as] Hu) (Taibei, 2001), 1, 9-10. Wang Mingke, Huaxia bianyuan, lishi jiyi yu zuqun rentong (The Margins of China: Historical Memory and Ethnic Identity) (Taibei, 1997), 144-45, 185, 188. See also Liu Yitang, "Qian tan Zhongguo minzu de goucheng" (A Slight Discussion of the Formation of the Chinese Nation), Zhongguo xiyu yanjiu (Taibei, 1997), 296-311.

(3.) Mark Elvin, The Pattern of the Chinese Past: A Social and Economic Interpretation (Stanford, Calif., 1973). Prasenjit Duara, Rescuing History from the Nation: Questioning Narratives of Modern China (Chicago, Ill., 1995), 4. Herold J. Wiens, China's March to the Tropics: A Study of the Cultural and Historical Geography of South China (Washington, D.C., 1952). Laura Hostetler, Qing Colonial Enterprise: Ethnography and Cartography in Early Modern China (Chicago, Ill., 2001). Miyakawa Hisayuki, "The Confucianization of South China," The Confucian Persuasion, ed. by Arthur F. Wright (Stanford, Calif., 1960).

(4.) On regional differences in the Age of Division, see He Ziquan, "Nanbeichao shiqi nanbei Ruxue fengshang bu tong de yuanyuan" (The Origins of Differences between Confucian Fashions in North and South in the Northern and Southern Dynasties Period), Jinian Chen Yinke xiansheng danchen bai nian xueshu lunwenji, ed. by Beijing daxue Zhongguo zhonggushi yanjiu zhongxin (1983; Beijing, 1989). Wu Chengxue, "Lun wenxue shang de nanbeipai yu nanbeizong" (On Northern and Southern Schools and Northern and Southern Sects in Literature), Zhongshan daxue xuebao (shehui kexue ban) (1991.4). Zhong Qijie, "Nanbeichao shiqi xingcheng bei qiang nan ruo jumian zhi zaixi" (A Re-analysis of the Formation of Conditions of Northern Strength and Southern Weakness in the Northern and Southern Dynasties Period), Beifang luncong (1992.3). See also Qiu Jiurong, "Wei-Jin Nanbeichao shiqi de 'da yitong' sixiang" (Ideas of "Grand Unity" in the Wei, Jin, Northern, and Southern Dynasty Period), Zhongyang minzu xuebao (1993.4).

(5.) Arthur F. Wright, "The Formation of Sui Ideology, 581-604," in Chinese Thought and Institutions, ed. by John K. Fairbank (Chicago, Ill., 1957); The Sui Dynasty (New York, 1978); "Sui Yang-Ti: Personality and Stereotype," in The Confucian Persuasion, ed. by Arthur E Wright (Stanford, Calif., 1960). Chen Yinke, Sui-Tang zhidu yuanyuan luelun gao (A Draft Study of the Origins of Sui-Tang Institutions) (1944; Taibei, 1994).

(6.) Michael Loewe, "China's Sense of Unity as Seen in the Early Empires," T'oung Pao, 80.1-3 (1994): 14. For Korea and Vietnam, see Charles Holcombe, The Genesis of East Asia, 221 B.C.-A.D. 907 (Honolulu, Hi., 2001), chapters 6-7; and "Early Imperial China's Deep South: The Viet Regions through Tang Times," T'ang Studies, 15-16 (1997-98). Chun-shu Chang, ed., The Making of China: Main Themes in Premodern Chinese History (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1975).

(7.) David R. Knechtges, "Sweet-peel Orange or Southern Gold? Regional Identity in Western Jin Literature," in Studies in Early Medieval Chinese Literature and Cultural History, ed. Paul W. Kroll, et al. (Provo, Utah, 2003), 44-66. Nakamura Keiji, "Nancho kokka ron" (On Southern Dynasty States), Iwanami Koza: sekai rekishi 9; Chuka no bunretsu to saisei, 3-13 seiki (Tokyo, 1999), 211. Wang Jian, "Dong-Jin de jianguo" (The Establishment of the Eastern Jin State), Han-Tang shilun gao (Beijing, 1992). Contemporary observations are from Jin shu (Dynastic History of the Jin), ed. Fang Xuanling (644; Beijing, 1974), 46.1294-95, and 52.1450.

(8.) Shishuo xinyu, jiaojian (A New Account of Tales of the World, Revised Commentary), by Liu Yiqing (403-44), ed. Xu Zhen'e (Hong Kong, 1987), 49-50. Bao pu zi (Master Embracing Simplicity), by Ge Hong (ca. 317: Taibei, 1984), wai pian 26.1b-2a. Wang Jian, 226.

(9.) Thomas Jansen, Hofische Offentlichkeit im fruhmittelalterichen China: Debatten im Salon des Prinzen Xiao Ziliang (Freiburg, 2000), 19 note 1. Zhu Dawei, "Liang-mo Chen-chu haoqiang qiushuai de xingqi" (The Rise of Local Strongmen and Chieftains in Late Liang and Early Chen), Liuchao shi lun (Beijing, 1998), 209, Yao Dazhong, Nanfang de fenqi (The Rise of the South) (Taibei, 1981), 115. Chen shu (Dynastic History of the Chen), by Yao Silian (636; Beijing, 1972), 1.1. For the population balance, see Zhou Yiliang, "Nanchao jingnei zhi ge-zhong ren ji zhengfu duidai zhi zhengce" (The Various Kinds of People within the Borders of the Southern Dynasties, and the Government's Policies for the Treatment of Them), Wei-Jin Nanbeichao shi lunji (1938; Beijing, 1963), 30, 39; Zhu Dawei, "Nanchao shaoshu minzu gaikuang ji qi yu Hanzu de ronghe" (The General Situation of Minority Peoples in the Southern Dynasties, and their Blending with the Han People), Zhongguo shi yanjiu (1980.1): 59.

(10.) Wei shu (Dynastic History of the [Northern] Wei), by Wei Shou (554; Beijing, 1974), 96.2093. Chen Yinke, "Wei shu Sima Rui zhuan Jiangdong minzu tiao shizheng ji tuilun" (An Explanation of, and Inference Concerning, the Section on Ethnicities East of the River in the Biography of Sima Rui in the Wei shu), Jinming guan conggao chubian (1944; Beijing, 2001).

(11.) Tong dian (Comprehensive Canons), by Du You (801; Beijing, 1984), 184.977; 188.1005. Shui ring zhu (Annotated Classic of Rivers), by Li Daoyuan (ca. 520; Shanghai, 1990), 37.693. Sui shu (Dynastic History of the Sui), by Wei Zheng (580-643) (Beijing, 1973), 31.887-88. Zeng Huaman, Tang-dai Lingnan fazhan de hexinxing (The Core-like Quality of Development in Tang Dynasty Lingnan) (Hong Kong, 1973), 55.

(12.) Xin Tang shu (New Dynastic History of the Tang), by Ouyang Xiu, et al. (1060; Beijing, 1975), 115.4210. Nanzong dunjiao, zuishang dasheng, mohe-banruoboluomijing; Liuzu Huineng da-shi yu Shaozhou Dafan-si shifa tanjing (Sudden Doctrine of the Southern School, Supreme Mahayana, Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra; Platform Sutra Preached by the Great Teacher, the Sixth Patriarch, Huineng, at Dafan Monastery in Shaozhou [Guangdong]), by Fahai (9th century), T 48.337b. Ling-wai dai da, jiaozhu (Answers on Behalf of [the Region] Beyond the Ridges, Revised and Annotated), by Zhou Qufei (ca. 1135-1189) (Beijing, 1999), 4.155, 159-60.

(13.) Yao Dazhong, 188, 194. Liu Shufen, "Jiankang yu Liuchao lishi de fazhan" (Jiankang and the Development of Six Dynasties History), Liuchao de chengshi yu shehui (Taibei, 1992), 8.

(14.) Tong dian, 182.969. Huayang guo zhi, jiaobu tuzhu (Chronicles of the States South of Mount Hua [Sichuan], Revised and Supplemented with Notes and Maps), by Chang Qu (291-361) (Shanghai, 1987), 9.483, 486 note 5. Gao Min, ed., Wei-Jin Nanbeichao jingji shi (An Economic History of the Wei, Jin, Northern and Southern Dynasties) (Shanghai, 1996), 26, 50-52, 64.

(15.) Liu Shufen, "Jiankang and the Commercial Empire of the Southern Dynasties: Change and Continuity in Medieval Chinese Economic History," in Culture and Power in the Reconstitution of the Chinese Realm, 200-600, ed. Scott Pearce, et al. (Cambridge, Mass., 2001), 35, 254 n.2. Taiping huanyu ji (A Record of the World in the Taiping Era [976-84]), by Yue Shi (ca. 980; Taibei, 1963), 90.675. For population distribution, see Tang Changru, Wei-fin Nanbeichao Sui-Tang shi san lun- Zhongguo fengjian shehui de xingcheng he qianqi de bianhua (Three Essays on Wei-Jin, Northern and Southern Dynasty, and Sui-Tang History: The Formation of Chinese Feudal Society and the Transformation of the Early Period) (Wuhan, 1993), 249, 252-58, 350.

(16.) For a common culture, see Sui shu 75.1705-06. On southern legitimacy, see Bei-Qi shu (Dynastic History of Northern Qi), by Li Baiyao (565-648) (Beijing, 1972), 24.347; Shi tong, tongshi (Survey of History, a Thorough Interpretation), by Liu Zhiji, revised by Pu Qilong (710; Taibei, 1965), 4.12a.

(17.) Liuchao shiji bianlei (Vestiges of the Six Dynasties, Arranged by Category), by Zhang Dunyi (1160; Taibei, 1976), 1.72-76. Quotation from Jin shu, 75.1986. Yano Chikara, "To-Shin ni okeru nanbokunin tairitsu mondai: sono shakai-teki kosatsu" (The Question of Confrontation between Northern and Southern People in Eastern Jin: Its Social Considerations), Shigaku zasshi 77.10 (1968).

(18.) Luoyang qielan ji (A Record of Buddhist Temples in Luoyang), by Yang Xuanzhi (ca. 550; Taibei, 1965), 2.11a. Chert shu, 24.309.

(19.) Da-Tang xinyu (A New Account of Great Tang), by Liu Su (807; Beijing, 1984), 10.148-49. Luoyang qielan fi, 3.4a. Xu Hui, et al., ed., Liuchao wenhua (Six Dynasties Culture) (Nanjing, 2001), 642-44. He Da'an, "Liuchao Wu-yu de cengci" (Strata of the Six Dynasties Wu Language), Zhongyang yanjiuyuan, Lishi yuyan yanjiusuo jikan 64.4 (1993): 872.

(20.) David B. Honey, "Sinification as Statecraft in Conquest Dynasties of China: Two Early Medieval Case Studies," Journal of Asian History, 30.2 (1996): 115 n.1. Albert E. Dien, "The Stirrup and Its Effect on Chinese Military History," Ars Orientalis: The Arts of Islam and the East, 16 (1986). Wang Qing, "Shi-Zhao zhengquan yu xiyu wenhua" (The Regime of the Shi [Family] Zhao [Dynasty] and the Culture of the Western Regions), Xiyu yanjiu (2002.3): 91 and n.1. Annette L. Juliano, et al., eds., Monks and Merchants: Silk Road Treasures from Northwest China, Gansu and Ningxia, 4th-7th Century (New York, 2001), 98-100, 102-03.

(21.) Gao Min, Wei-Jin Nanbeichao bingzhi yanjiu (Studies of the Military Systems of the Wei, Jin, Northern and Southern Dynasties) (Zhengzhou, 1998), 176, 326. Lu Chunsheng, Bei-Qi zhengzhi shi yanjiu: Bei-Qi shuaiwang yuanyin zhi kaocha (Studies in Northern Qi Political History: An Examination of the Reasons for the Decline and Fall of the Northern Qi) (Taibei, 1987), 229. Bei-Qi shu, 21.295, 50.693. Tong dian, 200.1085. Zizhi tongjian, jinzhu (Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Governance, a New Commentary), by Sima Guang (1084; Taibei, 1966), 157.701. Xia Nai (1933), "Du shi zhaji: lun Bei-Wei bingshi, chu liu-Yi ji Hu-hua zhi Hanren wai, si yi you Zhongyuan Hanren zai nei" (History Notebook: On the Northern Wei Army, Aside from the Six Yi and Nomad-ized Chinese, Seemingly also having Chinese from the Central Plain in it), Qinghua daxue xuebao: zhe-she-ban (2002.6): 6.

(22.) "Rope headed" refers to the queue, a nomadic hairstyle. Jiankang shilu (Veritable Records of Jiankang), by Xu Song (756; Taibei, 1976), 16.28a-b.

(23.) Jiankang shilu, 16.11b.

(24.) Bei shi (History of the Northern Dynasties), by Li Yanshou (ca. 629; Beijing, 1974), 100.3343, and juan 83. For books, see Yan Zhitui (ca. 531-591), "Guan wo sheng fu" (Rhapsody in Review of My Life), Quan Sui wen, 13.4089, in Quan shanggu, Sandai, Qin, Han, Sanguo Liuchao wen, ed. Yan Kejun (19th century; Kyoto, 1981). See also Feng shi wenjian ji, jiaozhu (A Record of what Mr. Feng Heard and Saw, Revised and Annotated), by Feng Yah (ca. 800; Beijing, 1958), 2.9.

(25.) Yoshikawa Tadao, K-Skei no ran shimatsuki. Nancho kizoku shakai no meiun (An Account of the Circumstances of Hou Jing's Rebellion: the Fate of Southern Dynasty Aristocratic Society) (Tokyo, 1974), 85. Sanping Chen, "A-gan Revisited--the Tuoba's Cultural and Political Heritage," Journal of Asian History, 30.1 (1996): 52-55. Quotation from Song shu (Dynastic History of the [Liu-]Song), by Shen Yue (441-513) (Beijing, 1974), 67.1774.

(26.) Sui shu, 24.680. Dien, 42. Xia Nai, 6. Gao Min, Bingzhi yanjiu, 338. Fu Lecheng, Sui-Tang Wu-dai shi (A History of the Sui, Tang, and Five Dynasties) (Taibei, 1957), 2, 14. Scott Pearce, "Form and Matter: Archaizing Reform in Sixth-Century China," Culture and Power in the Reconstitution of the Chinese Realm, 200-600, ed. Scott Pearce, et al. (Cambridge, Mass., 2001).

(27.) Nanchao Chen huiyao (Institutes of Southern Dynasty Chen), by Zhu Mingpan (1852-1893) (Shanghai, 1986), 257-58. Nian'er shi zhaji (Notes to Twenty-Two Histories), by Zhao Yi (1795; Taibei, 1977), 12.259-61. Sui shu, 29.807. Bei shi, 11.414.

(28.) Bei shi, 11.416, 11.425. Sui shu, 53.1357-58. Lii Shipeng, Bei shu shiqi de Yuenan: Zhong-Yue guanxi shi zhi yi (Vietnam in the Period of Subordination to the North: A History of Sino-Vietnamese Relations) (Hong Kong, 1964), 117.

(29.) Sui shu, 2.43, 24.682, 31.876. Fozu tongji (Complete Record of the Buddha and Patriarchs), by Zhipan (1269), 39; T 49.361a-b. Bei shi, 11.415, 11.417-8, 11.422, 63.2245. Zizhi tongjian, 177.41.

(30.) Sui shu, 1.1, 61.1470. Zhang Yupu, "Sui Yangdi yu nan-bei wenhua jiaorong" (Emperor Yang of Sui and the Blending of Northern and Southern Culture), Beifang luncong 173 (2002.3): 23. Arthur F. Wright, The Sui Dynasty (New York, 1978), 158-59. See also Etienne Balazs, "Le nouvel empire: l'epoque des Souei et des T'ang," in Histoire et institutions de la Chine ancienne, ed. Henri Maspero, et al. (Paris, 1967), 165.

(31.) Stanley Weinstein, "Imperial Patronage in the Formation of T'ang Buddhism," in Perspectives on the T'ang, ed. Arthur F. Wright, et al. (New Haven, Conn., 1973), 274-91. Guoqing bai lu (A Hundred Records of Guoqing [Monastery]), by Guanding (561-632), 2, items 24 and 26, T 46.803a-804a; 3, items 87-88, T 46.815c-816a; 4, item 89, T 46.816a-b.

(32.) See Huang Huixian, "Sui-mo nongmin qiyi wuzhuang qianxi" (A Superficial Interpretation of the Armed Peasant Uprisings of the Late Sui), Tang shi yanjiuhui lunwenji, ed. by Zhongguo Tang shi yanjiuhui (Xi'an, 1983), 195.

(33.) Nunome Chofu, Zui-To shi kenkyu: Tocho seiken no keisei (Studies in Sui-Tang History: The Formation of Tang Dynasty Political Power) (Kyoto, 1968), 196. Cen Zhongmian, SuiTang shi (Sui-Tang History) (1957; Beijing, 1982), 285-86. Wang Chengwen, "Tang-dai 'nan xuan' yu Lingnan xidong haozu" (Tang Dynasty "Southern Selection" and the Powerful Families of the Streams and Grottoes in Lingnan), Zhongguo shi yanjiu (1998.1): 97. On NW orientation, see Zizhi tonglian, 192.849; David A. Graft, Medieval Chinese Warfare, 300-900 (London, 2002), 190-91.

(34.) Graft, 160. Da-Tang chuangye qiju zhu (Diary of the Founding of Great Tang), by Wen Daya (ca. 626; Shanghai, 1983), 2.28-29.

(35.) Luo Xianglin, "Tang-dai wenhua de xin renshi" (A New Recognition of Tang Dynasty Culture), Tang-dai wenhua shi yanjiu (1943: Taibei, 1967), 13.

(36.) Lidai qong-Dao ji (Record of Revering the Dao throughout the Ages), by Du Guangting, Dao zang, vol 11 (884; Beijing, 1988), 2. See Stephen R. Bokenkamp, "Time After Time: Taoist Apocalyptic History and the Founding of the T'ang Dynasty," Asia Major, 3rd series, 7.1 (1994).

(37.) Watanabe Yoshihiro, "Sangoku jidai ni okeru 'bungaku' no seijiteki senyo: Rikucho kizokusei keiseishi no shiten kara" (The Political Promotion of "Literature" in the Three Kingdoms Period: From the Point of View of the History of the Formation of the Six Dynasties Aristocratic System), Toyoshi-kenkyu 54.3 (1995). See the example of the non-Chinese ruler Shi Le in Jin shu 105.2735-36; Shishuo xinyu, 216. Stephen Bokenkamp, "Lu Xiujing, Buddhism, and the First Daoist Canon," in Culture and Power in the Reconstitution of the Chinese Realm, 200-600, ed. Scott Pearce, et al. (Cambridge, Mass., 2001), 184-85. Tian Zhaoyuan, "Lun Beichao shiqi minzu ronghe guocheng zhong de shenhua rentong" (On Mythological Agreement in the Process of Ethnic Blending in the Northern Dynasties Period), Shanghai daxue xuebao: she-ke-ban (2000.3): 106-07.

(38.) Fukushima Masashi, "Ryu Chiki: seishi no tame ni" (Liu Zhiji: For the Sake of Dynastic History), Chugoku shisoshi, ed. by Hihara Toshikuni (Tokyo, 1987), 372. Jack L. Dull, "Determining Orthodoxy: Imperial Roles," Imperial Rulership and Cultural Change in Traditional China, ed. Frederick P. Brandauer, et al. (Seattle, Wash., 1994), 11-14. Ding Xiang Warner, A Wild Deer amid Soaring Phoenixes: the Opposition Poetics of Wang Ji (Honolulu, Hi., 2003), 25.

(39.) Da Tang liudian (Six Canons of Great Tang) (738; Taibei, 1962), 3.65, 3.71. Da-Tang kaiyuan li (Rituals of the Kaiyuan Reign Period [713-42] of Great Tang) (732; Beijing, 2000), 3.32. Tang lu shuyi (Annotated Tang Penal Code) (653; Taibei, 1990), 12.163. Xin Tang shu, 51.1343. Tonami Mamoru, et al., Zui-To teikoku to kodai Chosen (The Sui-Tang Empire and Ancient Korea), Sekai no rekishi, 6 (Tokyo, 1997), 233-37. Yuki Reimon, "ShoTo Bukkyo no shisoshiteki mujun to kokka kenryoku to no kosaku" (Historical Contradictions in the Buddhist Thought of Early Tang, and its Interrelation with State Power), To yo bunka kenkyujo kiyo 25 (1961): 20.

(40.) Rong Xinjiang, Dunhuang-xue shiba jiang (Eighteen Talks on Dunhuang Studies) (Beijing, 2001), 221. Michihata Ryoshu, "Chugoku Bukkyo no Chugokuteki tenkai" (The Chinese Evolution of Chinese Buddhism), Chugoku Bukkyo shakai-keizai shi no kenkyu (Kyoto, 1983), 254. Lan Jifu, Sui-dai Fojiao shi shulun (An Account of Buddhist History in the Sui Dynasty) (1974; Taibei, 1993), 149-54. Tansen Sen, Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of Sino-Indian Relations, 600-1400 (Honolulu, Hi., 2003), 13-14, 102-03.

(41.) Sui-Tang jia hua (Fine Sayings of the Sui and Tang), by Liu Su (early 8th century; Beijing, 1979), 3.40. Xin Tang shu, 115.4208. Terry F. Kleeman, "The Expansion of the Wen-Ch'ang Cult," in Religion and Society in T'ang and Sung China, ed. Patricia Buckley Ebrey, et al. (Honolulu, Hi., 1993), 45, 60-61.

(42.) For Jinshi, see Tang zhi yah (Collected Tang Sayings), by Wang Dingbao (ca. 955; Taibei, 1965), 1.3a; Tang guo shi hu (Supplemental History of the Tang State), by Li Zhao (ca. 825; Taibei, 1962), 3.55. For centralization, see Tong dian, 17.96c; Mao Hanguang, "Cong shizu jiguan qianyi kan Tang-dai shizu zhi zhongyanghua" (The Centralization of Tang Dynasty Elite Families as Seen from the Movement of Elite Families' Registered Native Places), Zhongguo zhonggu shehui shi lun (Taibei, 1988). For decentralization, see Denis Twitchett, The Birth of the Chinese Meritocracy: Bureaucrats and Examinations in T'ang China (London, 1976), 31-32; Guo Feng, Tang-dai shizu ge'an: yi Wujun, Qinghe, Fanyang, Dunhuang Zhang shi wei zhongxin (Case Studies of Tang Dynasty Elite Families: Taking the Zhang Family of Wujun, Qinghe, Fanyang and Dunhuang as Central) (Xiamen, 1999), 179-201; Stanley Weinstein, Buddhism under the T'ang (Cambridge, 1987), 61-63.

(43.) Song shu, 58.1590-91. Cheng Zhangcan, Shizu yu Liuchao wenxue (Elite Families and Six Dynasties Literature) (Harbin, 1998), 25-28.

(44.) Tang da zhaoling ji (Collected Grand Edicts of Tang), ed. by Song Minqiu (1019-79), Siku quanshu zhenben shi'er ji, vol. 35 (Taibei, 1982), 105.6a-7a. For Tang local and private education, see Liu Baiji, Tang dai zhengjiao shi (A History of Governmental Teachings in the Tang Dynasty) (Taibei, 1974), 121-25.

(45.) Tong dian, 15.84, note. Jiu Tang shu (Old Dynastic History of the Tang), by Liu Xu (945; Beijing, 1975), 166.4349. For paper, see Xu Hui, et al., 143-45. For printing, see Weng Tongwen, "Shijie shi shang zuizao de zhong-wan-Tang-jian Chang'an chuban shang" (The World's Earliest Commercial Publishers in Mid-Late Tang Chang'an), Tang-dai yanjiu lunji, vol. 4 (1988; Taibei, 1992), 58, 63-68; Paul Pelliot, Les debuts de l'imprimerie en Chine (Paris, 1953), 50.

(46.) Han Changli quanji (Collected Works of Han Yu), by Han Yu (768-824) (Beijing, 1991), 21.293.

(47.) Aritaka Iwao, Todai no shakai to bungei (Tang Dynasty Society and Literary Arts) (Tokyo, 1948), 283. David Pollack, The Fracture of Meaning: Japan's Synthesis of China from the Eighth through the Eighteenth Centuries (Princeton, N.J., 1986), 4. Da-Tang chuangye qiju zhu, 1.9.

(48.) James L. Watson, "Rites or Beliefs? The Construction of a Unified Culture in Late Imperial China," in China's Quest for National Identity, ed. Lowell Dittmer, et al. (Ithaca, N.Y., 1993), 86. Yihong Pan, Son of Heaven and Heavenly Qaghan: Sui-Tang China and its Neighbors (Bellingham, 1997), 140, 179-83. Tang huiyao (Institutes of Tang), by Wang Pu (961; Taibei, 1989), 100.1796. Antonino Forte, "Hui-chih (ft. 676-703 A.D.), a Brahmin Born in China," Annali (Istituto universitario orientale), 45 (1985): 123-28; and Political Propaganda and Ideology in China at the end of the Seventh Century (Napoli, 1976), 136-45. Daoxuan (596-667) had argued earlier that the true Middle Kingdom was India, in Shijia fangzhi (Sakya[muni] Gazetteer), 1; T. 51.948c-950c.

(49.) Yuan shi changqing ji (The Works of Mr. Yuan [Zhen], Collected in the Changqing Era [821-25]), by Yuan Zhen (ca. 821; Taibei, 1965), 24.5a. For "Turkic Culture and its Influence on the Tang Dynasty," see Lin Enxian, "Tujue wenhua ji qi dui Tang-chao zhi yingxiang," Tang-dai yanjiu lunji, vol. 1 (1972; Taibei, 1992).

(50.) Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (1983; London, 1991), 44, n.21. Etienne Balazs, "The Birth of Capitalism in China," in Chinese Civilization and Bureaucracy: Variations on a Theme, trans. H. M. Wright (1960; New Haven, Conn., 1964), 53-54. Taiping guangji (Extensive Records [Assembled during] the Taiping Era) (978; Beijing, 1981), 243.1875; Chao ye qian zai (The Whole Record of Court and Country), by Zhang Zhuo (early 8th century; Beijing, 1979), 3.75. Qiu Tiansheng, Tang-Song biangeqi de zheng-jing yu shehui (Political-Economy and Society of the Tang-Song Transitional Era) (Taibei, 1999), chapter 4. Seo Tatsuhiko, "Chuka no bunretsu to saisei" (The Breakup and Regeneration of China), Iwanami Koza: sekai rekishi 9; Chu ka no bunretsu to saisei, 3-13 seiki (Tokyo, 1999), 18, 66-75.

(51.) Holcombe, Genesis of East Asia, 49-51. John Fitzgerald, "The Nationless State: The Search for a Nation in Modern Chinese Nationalism," in Chinese Nationalism, ed. Jonathan Unger (Armonk, 1996), 66-67. David Yen-ho Wu, "The Construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese Identities," in The Living Tree: The Changing Meaning of Being Chinese Today, ed. Tu Wei-ming (Stanford, Calif., 1994), 150. Fozu tongji, 36; T.49.342c. Chao ye qian zai, 5.121.

(52.) Benjamin A. Elman, "Political, Social, and Cultural Reproduction via Civil Service Examinations in Late Imperial China," Journal of Asian Studies 50.1 (1991): 22. For the earlier period, compare Charles Holcombe, "Re-Imagining China: The Chinese Identity Crisis at the Start of the Southern Dynasties Period," Journal of the American Oriental Society 115.1 (1995): 12-14.

(53.) Tang yu lin (Tang Forest of Conversations), by Wang Dang (fl. 1086-1110) (Shanghai, 1978), 2.35, 2.40.

(54.) Du gongbu ji (Collected Works of Du [Fu] of the Ministry of Works), by Du Fu (712-770) (Taibei, 1965), 15.1a. Han Changli quanfi, 20.286.

(55.) Du gongbu ji, 12.3b. Han Changli quanji, 18.268. Fang Jie, "Han, Liu, dui Ru, Shi, Dao de qushe" (Han [Yu] and Liu [Zongyuan's] Selections from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism), Han, Liu, xinlun (Taibei, 1999), 345. Fung Yu-lan, A Short History of Chinese Philosophy, ed. by Derk Bodde (New York, 1948), 268. Anthony DeBlasi, "Striving for Completeness: Quan Deyu and the Evolution of the Tang Intellectual Mainstream," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 61.1 (2001): 6. Qian Mu, "Za lun Tang-dai guwen yundong" (Miscellaneous Comments on the Tang Dynasty Ancient Prose Movement), Xin-Ya xuebao 3.1 (1957): 123, 132.

(56.) Fozu tongji, 39; T 49.359b. Wei shu, 1.1.

(57.) Robert M. Somers, "Time, Space, and Structure in the Consolidation of the T'ang Dynasty (AD 617-700)," in State and Society in Early Medieval China, ed. Albert E. Dien (1986; Stanford, Calif., 1990), 380-81. Xin Tang shu, 87.3721-3724.

(58.) Zizhi tongjian, 192.867. Tang Changru, 377-79, 469, 499. Miyazaki Ichisada, Dai-To teikoku: Chugoku no chisei (The Great Tang Empire: China's Middle Ages), Miyazaki Ichisada zenshu, vol. 8 (1968; Tokyo, 1993), 196. Shang Ding, Zou xiang sheng Tang (Towards High Tang) (Beijing, 1994), 23-24, 60. Li Hao, Tang-dai Guanzhong shizu yu wenxue (Tang Dynasty Shaanxi Elite Families and Literature) (Taibei, 1999), 133. Da-Tang xinyu, 8.117. Howard J. Wechsler, Mirror to the Son of Heaven: Wei Cheng at the Court of T'ang T'ai-tsung (New Haven, Conn., 1974), 93.

(59.) Jin shu, 52.1450. The principal compiler of the Jin shu was "one of the three most eminent ministers" of his day (Warner, A Wild Deer, 68). For a comparable policy-making application, see Michael C. Rogers, "The Myth of the Battle of the Fei River (A.D. 383)," T'oung Pao, 54.1-3 (1968).

(60.) Shi shi (Poetic Styles), by Jiaoran (8th century; Beijing, 1985), 4.37. Gu Xiangming, "Tangdai Taihu diqu guan-xue kaoxi" (An Analysis of Official Schools in the Lake Tai Region during the Tang Dynasty), Linyi shifan xueyuan xuebao (2003.1): 53-54. Nishiwaki Tsuneki, T-d-dai no shiso to bunka (Tang Dynasty Thought and Culture) (Tokyo, 2000), 160.

(61.) It is instructive to compare these developments in China with the permanent exclusion of colonial American "creole" elites from the heights of European metropolitan office-holding, which helped spark the New World wars of independence (1776-1838) that Benedict Anderson regards as the first wave of modern nationalism. Anderson, 55-65. Hubert Seiwert, "Religion und kulturelle Integration in China. Die Sinisierung Fujians und die Integration der chinesischen Nationalkultur," Saeculum, 38 (1987). Hans Bielenstein, "The Chinese Colonization of Fukien until the End of T'ang," in Studia Serica Berhard Karlgren Dedicata, ed. Soren Egerod, et al. (Copenhagen, 1959), 110-11. Han changli quanji, 22.309. Xin Tang shu, 203.5786-87. Tang zhi yan, 15.4b-5a. Seo Tatsuhiko, 68-69. John W. Chaffee, The Thorny Gates of Learning in Sung China: A Social History of Examinations (1985; Albany, N.Y., 1995), 119, 130-35, 148-53.

(62.) Kawakatsu Yoshio, "La decadence de l'aristocratie chinoise sous les Dynasties du Sud," Acta Asiatica, 21 (1971): 37-38. Qiu Tiansheng, 115. Feng shi wenjian ji, 6.46. Tang Changru, 260, 358, 495-501.

(63.) Du gongbu ji, 3.7b-8a, 7.9b. Xin Tang shu 165.5076. Han Changli quanji, 19.275. Fanchuan wenji (Collected Writings from Fan River [Shaanxi]), by Du Mu (803-853) (Shanghai, 1978), 16.249. See also Tang guo shi bu, 3.62.

(64.) Han Changli quanji, 3.54.

(65.) Chao ye qian zai, 4.89.

(66.) Liu Binke wenji (Collected Writings of Liu Yuxi), by Liu Yuxi (772-842) (Taibei, 1968), 24.189. Fanchuan wenji, 4.70.

(67.) Xin Tang shu, 93.3822-24.

(68.) Wu-dai shi (-ji) ([New] Historical [Records] of the Five Dynasties), by Ouyang Xiu (1053; Hubei, 1872), 65. lb-2a, 62.2b. Wei Liangtao, "Nan-Tang xianzhu Li Bian pingshuo" (Commentary on the First Ruler of Southern Tang, Li Bian [889-943]), Nanjing daxue xuebao: zhexue renwen sheke ban (2002.1).

(69.) For a map of "China proper," see Evelyn S. Rawski, The Last Emperors: A Social History of Qing Imperial Institutions (Berkeley, Calif., 1998), xiii. Edward Friedman, "Reconstructing China's National Identity: A Southern Alternative to Mao-Era Anti-Imperialist Nationalism," The Journal of Asian Studies, 53.1 (1994): 86-87; and "A Failed Chinese Modernity," in National Identity and Democratic Prospects in Socialist China (1993; Armonk, 1995), especially 67-68. Henrietta Harrison, China: Inventing the Nation (London and New York, 2001), 29-31, 138-39, 193-94.

(70.) Holcombe, Genesis of East Asia, 145-64; and "Early Imperial China's Deep South."

Charles W. Holcombe is a professor of history at the University of Northern Iowa. This project was supported by a Professional Development Assignment from the University of Northern Iowa, and benefited from generous advice by Chun-shu Chang, Robert Dise, and Reinier Hesselink.
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Date:Jan 1, 2004
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