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Guanzhong hua proposed by Yuwen Tai and its effect on the development of Chinese Culture

WANG Xiaofu1

(1.School of Humanities at Xihua University)

【Abstract】This paper examines and analyzes the content and nature of Chen Yinke’s Guanzhong standard policy. The early stage of the fubing system (garrison militia system, 府兵制) was not the Xianbei (鲜卑) tribal system, and the separation of soldiers and peasants changed the identity of the military household from the north, which was beneficial to the northern ethnic group as the ordinary household to integrate into the Huaxia (华夏) society. The so- called “eight pillars of generals” and “to change soldiers’ surnames to the generals’ surname” were all the deceiving means of Yuwen Tai to surpass over his colleagues and even the emperor in the process of power build-up. Li Hu fit family had indeed moved to Wuchuan as the garrison, and with the Yuwen Tai family involved in Ge Rong’s rebellion. The goal of changing the generals’ household register counties from Shandong to Guanzhong, was to make their reputation as the first-class family of Guanzhong to lead the local soldiers, instead of “cutting off their thoughts of hometown.” Thus, Yuwen Tai’s Guanzhong hua (关中化) policy was actually a sinicizing policy, which reflected the process of the migration of the northern ethnic groups. He used Zhou Guan (周官) actually to return back the basics to renew the politics. The policies which in fact undermined “the political and social Pedigree system of the Wei and Jin Dynasties” helped the development of ancient Chinese society and promotion of the Huaxia culture.

【Keywords】 north ethnic groups; inner immigration; fubing system (garrison militia system); Li family of Tang Dynasty; Zhou Guan (Ideal Official System);


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    [2]. (2) These four papers are collected in The Second Edition of Essays of Jinming Pavilion (金明馆丛稿二编). They are Study on the Li Tang and Wu Zhou Dynasty (李唐武周先世事迹杂考), The Speculation on Royal Li Family of Tang Dynasty (李唐氏族之推测), Postscript of the Speculation on Royal Li Family of Tang Dynasty (李唐氏族之推测后记) and Discussions on Issues of Royal Li Family and Tang Dyansty (三论李唐氏族问题). The first one was lastly finished and corrected the specific time when Li Hu was canonized as Duke of Tang Dynasty. Chen, Y. 唐代政治史述论稿. Shanghai: Shanghai Ancient Books Publishing House, 1–13 (1982). [^Back]

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    [5]. (5) Mr. Chen summarized in his Li Tang and Wu Zhou Dynasty: “All in all, my assumption here is not only for solving the problem of royal Li family of Tang Dynasty, any information in the history of Sui Dynasty that related to it can be grabbed as evidence.” Chen, Y. 金明馆丛稿二编, 275. [^Back]

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    [9]. (9) Chen, Y. 唐代政治史述论稿, 15. Mr. Chen here quoted his previous opinion from A Brief Commentary on the Origin of Sui and Tang Institutions (隋唐制度渊源略论稿), which is believed to be a more mature and comprehensive. [^Back]

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    [11]. (11) See Lyu, B.Journal of Chinese Historical Studies (中国史研究). (4), (2012); Liu, P. 文史, (2) (2013). [^Back]

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    [13]. (13) The garrison of Guanzhong area also contains local ethnic groups such as Di and Qiang, they are citizens and soldiers, just same with the inner immigrated people from Northern Town, so they can be put together to discuss. Tang, C., in 山居存稿, 26–27, 34–36, 45, 50; Tang, C., in 山居存稿. Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 71, 74 (2011). [^Back]

    [14]. (14) Chen Yinke truly emphasized this kind of feature of the garrison militia system in its early stage: In the system, garrison and peasants are different, but in Central Plains, they became a special group and class together. The Northern History wrote by Lu Shi said: “The garrison doesn’t register,” “And at that time, the number of soldier was too less to meet the demand of battle defense, so a soldier needed to undertake two tasks: as a soldier and a peasant at the same time;” “The Northern History said in the early stage of the system, a soldier cannot do the farm work at the same time,” “The separation of soldier and peasant in the West Wei Dynasty,” and so on. Chen, Y. 隋唐制度渊源略论稿 131, 132, 133, 139. [^Back]

    [15]. (15) Gao Huan said: Xianbei is your guest (Note from Hu: as a domestic servant), you give them food, clothes and so on, they help you defend your country, isn’t it a great exchange?” (From Comprehensive Mirror for Aid Government, volume 157. Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 4882, (1956).). We can know that the Eastern Wei and Northern Qi Dynasty practised Xianbei military system, namely tribal military system. [^Back]

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    [18]. (18) According to Biography of Li Bi and Others in Volume 60 of The Northern History, “In the third year of Wei Dynasty, Emperor Wen of Wei reinvigorated the career of Yuwen Tai, which is to establish garrison militia system. Then encourage competent persons to handle the job. Till the 16th year of Wei Dynasty, there were eight people in office.” (Zhonghua Book Company, 2153 (1974)). According to Volume 1 of Ce Fu Yuan Gui, The Emperor Part: Imperial Families, Li Hu “is labeled as Longxi Gong, then visit the supreme government official in charge of military affairs, and is promoted as the governor of Right Army, general of one of the Eight-Pillar State and the Major Master.” (Zhonghua Book Bureau, 14 (1960), lower column), that is, his responsibility for the general of one of the Eight-Pillar State is after he becoming Longxi Gong. Then, the so-called “Eight-pillar State” was obviously not established at the same time. In this way, Chen Yinke’s hypotheses about “Eight-pillar State”(Chen, Y. 隋唐制度渊源略论稿, 127) are failed to be proved. It even was not a system, just “eight officers” that recorded in the historical materials. [^Back]

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    [33]. (33) Book of Sui (隋书), Volume 2, Biography of Gaozu (高祖纪): in May of the tenth year governed by Gaozu (590), the decree said: “It was a mess at the end of Wei Dynasty, territory was separated, people all burdened with heavy services. Warrior and soldiers expedited all year long, people became homeless, all the buildings have broken down, I’m so sad to see such a broken scenery. So all the soldiers can be registered in counties with fields to do farm work, same with common people. Besides, the leaders of soldiers still follow the old rules.” (34–35) This can also be the evidence. [^Back]

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    [47]. (47) 甄琛传附子楷传, volume 68 of Book of Zhou (周书), 1517; The Northern History (北史), volume 40, 1476. [^Back]

    [48]. (48) The Northern History (北史), volume 33, Biography of Li Yuanzhong (李元忠传), 1202. [^Back]

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    [50]. (50) 帝王部·帝系门, volume 1 of 册府元龟, 13. [^Back]

    [51]. (51) See the stories of Tang Taizu, Li Hu, that recorded in 帝王部·帝系门, volume 1 of 册府元龟. In volume 169 of Comprehensive Mirror for Aid Government, it was recorded as: In September of the fifth year governed by Emperor Chen (564), Wei Gongzhi was the Minister of Northern Zhou. Canonizing him as the most supportive founder and Li Bing as Tang Gong. Bing was the son of Hu (5242–5243) See Stories Happened in 李唐武周先世事迹杂考, 金明馆丛稿二编, 277–278. [^Back]

    [52]. (52) Zhang, W. 关陇武将与周隋政权. Guangzhou: Zhongshan University Press, 122–123, (1993). [^Back]

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    [54]. (54) Chen, Y. 唐代政治史述论稿, 15–16. [^Back]

    [55]. (55) 帝王部·帝系门, volume 1 of 册府元龟, 13, 14. [^Back]

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    [63]. (63) Tang, C. 试论魏末北镇镇民暴动的性质, originally published in History Research (历史研究), (1) (1964), then was collected into 山居存稿, 26–59; 北魏末期的山胡敕勒起义, 山居存稿, 65–90. 二秦城民暴动的性质和特点—北魏末期人民大起义研究之三, 山居存稿续编, 64–93. [^Back]

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    [67]. (67) According to the research of Tang Changru, “Cao clan is the noble family of Hu Group of Xiazhou and Lingzhou.” See Tang, C., in 山居存稿, 75. [^Back]

    [68]. (68) It was recorded that there were also people including Huba mietu, who was cishi (the feudal procvincial or prefectural governor) of Xia Prefecture, all attached themselves to Heba Yue. See Biography of the Emperor Wen (文帝纪), volume 1 of Book of Zhou (周书), 4; Biography of Heba Yue (贺拔岳传), 225. [^Back]

    [69]. (69) Biography of the Emperor Wen (文帝纪), volume 1 of Book of Zhou (周书), 13. [^Back]

    [70]. (70) Comprehensive Mirror for Aid Government, volume 154, in autumn of the second year governed by the Emperor Wu of Liang: about ten thousand people were dead, and their families were separated. (pp. 4771) But in the records of Book of Zhou (周书), volume 14,Biography of Heba Yue (贺拔岳传), there are no records about family separating. (pp. 224) Of course, it is possible that prisoner also included into the noble family, and the power of Guanlong area is smaller than that in Shandong, Hebei and Gaomen. See Zhou, Y., in 魏晋南北朝史论集, 141–147. [^Back]

    [71]. (71) Tang, C., in 山居存稿, 61–62. [^Back]

    [72]. (72) Hou, X., in 近观中古史, 241, 245, 239–240. [^Back]

    [73]. (73) See 选举典, volume 17 of 通典. Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 403 (1988). Volume 1 of 大唐六典. Xi’an: Sanqin Press, 22 (1991). [^Back]

    [74]. (74) Hou, X.〈大代持节豳州刺史山公寺碑〉所见史事考. There are statistics about “governors of counties or zhou,” 近观中古史, 219–223. [^Back]

    [75]. (75) Chen, Y. 隋唐制度渊源略论稿, 17, 90–91. [^Back]

    [76]. (76) 周本纪, volume 9 of Northern History (北史), 330. [^Back]

    [77]. (77) 明帝纪, volume 4 of Book of Zhou (周书), 55. [^Back]

    [78]. (78) Ma, C. 碑铭所见前秦至隋初的关中部族, 66. [^Back]

    [79]. (79) Cited from 太平寰宇记, volume 29, Zheng County of Huazhou: “Most of the counties rules by Han people from Jingzhao are located in the south of Weinan. And because Western Qiang invaded into Guanzhong in Later Han Dynasty, people mostly moved to Zheng County in the south of Weinan, build houses and live in their generations after generations. Then we have Han County today.” [^Back]

    [80]. (80) 碑铭所见前秦至隋初的关中部族, 77. [^Back]

    [81]. (81) Zhou, Y., in 魏晋南北朝史论集, 142. [^Back]

    [82]. (82) Zhou, Y., in 魏晋南北朝史论集, 142, 146–147. [^Back]

    [83]. (83) Hou, X.in 近观中古史, 280. [^Back]

    [84]. (84) The research about this is pretty abundant. The citation from the references are mostly from following works: Book of Song: Biography of Wang Hong (宋书·王弘传), Book of SuiClassics (隋书·经籍志), Book of Zhou (周书), volume 23, Biography of Su Chuo (苏绰传). 六条诏书, 386. Liu, F. New Book of Tang (新唐书), volume 199, Biography of Liu Chong (儒学柳冲传), 5677–5679. [^Back]

    [85]. (85) Tang, C., in 魏晋南北朝史论拾遗. Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 91 (1983). [^Back]

    [86]. (86) Book of Zhou (周书), volume 23, Biography of Su Chuo (苏绰传): about the matter of picking up the officials, never mind the family status. Chen, Y. 隋唐制度渊源略论稿, 96. [^Back]

    [87]. (87) In Book of Zhou (周书), volume 23, Biography of Su Chuo (苏绰传) (393–394), it recorded that Yuwen Tai sealed Chuo in Great Announcement (大诰). It is said: “The revolution of etiquette and custom was from the period of Three Emperors and Five Sovereigns. It was not only for reform, but also for correcting the drawbacks; not only for following convention, but also for lasting long. The Wei Dynasty, inherited the corrupt public morals from the Zhou Dynasty, the disadvantages left by the Qin and Han dynasties and the superficial styles from the Wei and Jin dynasties. The frivolous customs of all these five dynasties were used up to now and were not reformed. If they were used for purifying customs and prospering social moralization, could they make it? It is necessary to inherit the martyr of the former emperors. The officers worked together with the emperor. The officers worked hard and did not get slack at their work at all. The officers could follow the grand ambitions of the predecessors. You are in different positions, but you should follow the same plan as me, that is, recommending virtuous and honest people and devoting to this arduous task, abandoning luxurious life and pusuing authenticity, departing from truth and praising highly honesty.” “The Three Emperors and Five Sovereigns mostly followed these rules and sometime abandoned the criminal laws. After them, we never herad of these for thousand years. The emperor missed the achievements of Three Emperors and Five Sovereigns and wanted to change the chaotic era. He appealed the residents living far away to have a harmonious life and put us in important positions. The emperor’s words were not difficult to be expressed, but it was difficult to execute. The problem was not the absence of a kind original aspiration, but few people could have a good ending. Book of Shang (商书) said ‘it was necessary to keep pure morality, improve morality and perseverant.’ In the begining, people were reverent and respectful and finally they were discreet, thus achieving the purpose of keeping improving morality every day. Thus, how dare not we, as officials, pay back day and night the best instructions from the emperor?” [^Back]

    [88]. (88) Book of Zhou (周书), volume 23, Biography of Su Chuo (苏绰传), 382–391. The six rules were healing mentality first, urging education, fully using topographical advantages, recruiting talents, properly executing penalties, and counterbalancing taxes and corvée. Most of them were related to governance and people’s livelihood. [^Back]

    [89]. (89) Book of Zhou (周书), volume 23, Biography of Su Chuo (苏绰传). “From the Jin Dynasty, the style of writing became extravagant, and this kind of writing style became the custom of that time. Yuwen Tai wanted to eradicate this drawback. When Emperor Wei sacrificed ancestral temple and gathered the officials, Yuwen Tai asked Su Chuo to write imperial edict and then submitted memorials to the throne to execute.” “From now on, this literary form should be the standard” (pp. 391, 394). The style of writing on the paper was the original simple and unadorned style. As the historiographer of this biography said (pp. 396): “The founder of the emperor Yuwen Tai, stood up with his sword, and various systems were established. When states were competing with each other, he carried out the legal system; when a situation of tripartite confrontation appeared, he carried out the feudal ethical code that achieved political stability. Finally the luxurious customs were eradicated, and simple and unadorned style was established. Manners and moralization were formed. The lower hierarchy was admiring the upper hierarchy, and the upper hierarchy was worth admiring. The state territory was invaded many times, but the internal forces could be united and the external small states also attached themselves to the state. These were all the achievements of Su Chuo who was very famous at that time. His achievements benefited later generations. How excellent he was!” [^Back]

    [90]. (90) Chen, Y. 唐代政治史述论稿, 15; Chen, Y. 隋唐制度渊源略论稿, 17, 43, 90–91, 126–127. [^Back]

    [91]. (91) Chen, Y. 隋唐制度渊源略论稿, 17. [^Back]

This Article


CN: 11-1217/C

Vol , No. 05, Pages 86-98+125-126

September 2018


Article Outline


  • 1 Garrison militia system and the internalization of the northerners
  • 2 Related questions about royal Li family of Tang Dynasty
  • 3 Renewal of the systems in Zhou Guan and Huaxia Culture
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