SONG-ERA SOCIETY, NOBLES AND NEO-CONFUCIANISM

NOBLES IN 10TH CENTURY CHINA

Wolfram Eberhard wrote in “A History of China”: “The wars which followed Huang Chao's rebellion greatly affected the ruling gentry. A number of families were so strongly affected that they lost their importance and disappeared. Commoners from the followers of Huang Chao or other armies succeeded to get into power, to acquire property and to enter the ranks of the gentry. At about A.D. 1000 almost half of the gentry families were new families of low origin. The state, often ruled by men who had just moved up, was no more interested in the aristocratic manners of the old gentry families, especially no more interested in their genealogies. [Source: “A History of China” by Wolfram Eberhard, 1951, University of California, Berkeley]

When conditions began to improve after A.D. 1000, and when the new families felt themselves as real gentry families, they tried to set up a mechanism to protect the status of their families. In the eleventh century private genealogies began to be kept, so that any claim against the clan could be checked. Clans set up rules of behaviour and procedure to regulate all affairs of the clan without the necessity of asking the state to interfere in case of conflict. Many such "clan rules" exist in China and also in Japan which took over this innovation. Clans set apart special pieces of land as clan land; the income of this land was to be used to secure a minimum of support for every clan member and his own family, so that no member ever could fall into utter poverty. Clan schools which were run by income from special pieces of clan land were established to guarantee an education for the members of the clan, again in order to make sure that the clan would remain a part of the élite. Many clans set up special marriage rules for clan members, and after some time cross-cousin marriages between two or three families were legally allowed; such marriages tended to fasten bonds between clans and to prevent the loss of property by marriage. While on the one hand, a new "clan consciousness" grew up among the gentry families in order to secure their power, tax and corvée legislation especially in the eleventh century induced many families to split up into small families.

“It can be shown that over the next centuries, the power of the family head increased. He was now regarded as owner of the property, not only mere administrator of family property. He got power over life and death of his children. This increase of power went together with a change of the position of the ruler. The period transition (until c. A.D. 1000) was followed by a period of "moderate absolutism" (until 1278) in which emperors as persons played a greater role than before, and some emperors, such as Shen Tsung (in 1071), even declared that they regarded the welfare of the masses as more important than the profit of the gentry. After 1278, however, the personal influence of the emperors grew further towards absolutism and in times became pure despotism.

Tombs of the Song-Era Upper Class

In 2019, Archaeology magazine reported: A 900-year-old tomb of a Chinese woman near Tieguai Village, Anhui Province, contained a fabric banner identifying her as the “Grand Lady.” Judging from her luxurious burial, she certainly merited the moniker. Her well-preserved body still bore gold and silver hairpins, silver bracelets, gold earrings, fancy robes, and embroidered shoes, and her grave was filled with more than 200 other objects. These include bundles of clothing, cosmetic tools, wooden figurines, bronze coins, porcelain bowls, and even a model courtyard house, complete with tiny furniture. [Source: Archaeology magazine, January-February 2019]

One of the most astonishing discoveries in China in 2011, according to Archaeology magazine was “ a well-preserved tomb uncovered in the city of Dengfeng in central China's Henan Province. Every inch of the tomb, which dates to the Song Dynasty (960-1279), is covered in brightly colored frescoes that depict the daily life of the tomb's occupant. (Neither the identity nor sex of the tomb's owner or owners has been reported, although the elaborate decoration suffests that he or she was well-off and of high status. The frescoes were clearly executed by an artist with extensive experience decorating the hexagonal-shaped tombs of the period. [Source: Jarrett A. Lobell, Archaeology magazine, Volume 64 Number 4, July-August 2011]

“The tomb's pictorial program, which includes scenes of serving women, a husband and wife seated at a table being served a meal, and a woman ushering the deceased's soul into the netherworld, is typical of Song Dynasty tombs, says Roberta Bickford of Brown University. Every detail of each person's clothing and hairstyle is carefully depicted to communicate their status, and the utensils and pottery replicate what would have been in common use at the time. According to Nancy Berliner, Curator of Chinese Art at the Peabody Essex Museum, the imitated architectural details especially the dougong bracketing, are faithful to the period. Dougong, the structural element of interlocking wooden brackets is one of the most typical elements of traditional Chinese architecture, she says.

On a Song-era tomb discovered in the northern Chinese province of Shanxi Archaeology located reported in 2018: Archaeologists found that the burial chamber had been decorated with tile carvings depicting horses and flying deer, as well as an elaborate fresco of a lavish family feast. “It’s a glimpse of real life during the Song Dynasty,” says Zhong Longgang of the Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, who supervised the dig. “We think the party fresco depicts the people who were actually buried in the tomb, and it gives us a look at the clothing, diet, and etiquette of the period.” Many of the tiles recovered from the tomb have impressions of palm prints, which may have served as the signatures of the artisans who made them. [Source: Eric A. Powell, Archaeology magazine, January-February 2018]

Su Shi (Su Dongpo) — the Quintessential Scholar-Official-Poet

Perhaps the best example of a scholar-official with strong interests in the arts is Su Shi (Su Dongpo, 1036-1101). Su Shi had a long career as a government official in the Northern Song. After performing exceptionally well in the examinations, Su Shi became something of a celebrity. Throughout his life he was a superb and prolific writer of both prose and poetry. Because he took strong stands on many controversial political issues of his day, he got into political trouble several times and was repeatedly banished from the capital. Twice he was exiled for his sharp criticisms of imperial policy. [Source: Asia for Educators, Columbia University, Consultants Patricia Ebrey and Conrad Schirokauer afe.easia.columbia.edu/song ]

Su was one of the most noted poets of the Northern Song period. According to Columbia University’s Asia for Educators: “Best known as a poet, Su was also an esteemed painter and calligrapher and theorist of the arts. He wrote glowingly of paintings done by scholars, who could imbue their paintings with ideas, making them much better than paintings that merely conveyed outward appearance, the sorts of paintings that professional painters made.”

According to the National Palace Museum, Taipei: Su Shih is probably perhaps best known to Western audiences by his pen name, Su Tung-p'o. Born in 1036, five emperors came to the throne during his lifetime. Eleventh-century China, however, was a period of great political instability. The bitter rivalry between revisionist and conservative factions at court made a political career precarious. For Su Shih, known for his sharp wit and stubborn personality, it was even more difficult. However, the ups and downs of his life and career provided constant inspiration in his art and writing, for which he is so highly regarded by later generations.” It has now been almost 900 years since Su Shih passed away in 1101. Although his writings were once blacklisted, even destroyed, his genius could not be repressed. His poetry and writing have been reprinted, studied, and enjoyed by generations since. [Source: National Palace Museum, Taipei \=/]

Neo-Confucianism

According to Columbia University’s Asia for Educators: “Neo-Confucianism” is a general term used to refer to the renaissance of Confucianism during the Song dynasty (A.D. 960-1127) following a long period in which Buddhism and Daoism had dominated the philosophical world of the Chinese and also to the various philosophical schools of thought that developed as a result of that renaissance. Neo-Confucianism had its roots in the late Tang, came to maturity in the Northern and Southern Song periods, and continued to develop in the Yuan, Ming, and Qing periods. As a whole, Neo-Confucianism can best be understood as an intellectual reaction to the challenges of Buddhist and Daoist philosophy in which avowedly Confucian scholars incorporated Buddhist and Daoist concepts in order to produce a more sophisticated new Confucian metaphysics. [Source: Asia for Educators, Columbia University, Primary Sources with DBQs, afe.easia.columbia.edu]

“With roots in the late Tang dynasty, the Confucian revival flourished in the Northern and Southern Song periods and continued in the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties that followed. The revived Confucianism of the Song period (often called Neo-Confucianism) emphasized self-cultivation as a path not only to self-fulfillment but to the formation of a virtuous and harmonious society and state. The revival of Confucianism in Song times was accomplished by teachers and scholar-officials who gave Confucian teachings new relevance. Scholar-officials of the Song such as Fan Zhongyan (989-1052) and Sima Guang (1019-1086) provided compelling examples of the man who put service to the state above his personal interest...The revival of Confucianism during the Chinese Renaissance of the Song dynasty is partly attributed to the printing of Confucian texts which helped spread the word of the philosophy to a greater number of people.

“As Neo-Confucianism developed, two trends of thought emerged out of the Southern Song philosopher and official Zhu Xi’s synthesis of the “learning of Principle” and the “Learning of the Mind and Heart.” Both trends agreed that all the myriad things of the universe are manifestations of a single “Principle” (li) and that this Principle is the essence of morality. By understanding the Principle that underlies the universe (just as Buddhists understood all things in the universe as manifestations of the single Buddha spirit), then, men may understand the moral principles that they must put into practice in order to achieve an ordered family, good government, and peace under heaven. The two trends of thought differed, however, on the way in which human beings are to understand Principle.

Neo-Confucianists

Main Neo-Confucianist Figures: Song Dynasty (960-1279) Figures: The “Five Masters” of the Northern Song (960-1127): A) Zhou Dunyi (1017-1073), B) Shao Yong (1011-1077), C) Zhang Zai (1020-1077), D) Cheng Hao (1032-1085) and E) Cheng Yi (1033-1107); The “Great Synthesizer” of the Southern Song (1127-1279): Zhu Xi (1130-1200). Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) Figure: The founder of the “School of the Mind”: Wang Yangming (1472-1529).

Wolfram Eberhard wrote in “A History of China”: “Culturally the eleventh century was the most active period China had so far experienced, apart from the fourth century B.C. As a consequence of the immensely increased number of educated people resulting from the invention of printing, circles of scholars and private schools set up by scholars were scattered all over the country. The various philosophical schools differed in their political attitude and in the choice of literary models with which they were politically in sympathy. Thus Wang Anshi and his followers preferred the rigid classic style of Han Yu (768-825) who lived in the Tang period and had also been an opponent of the monopolistic tendencies of pre-capitalism. For the Wang Anshi group formed itself into a school with a philosophy of its own and with its own commentaries on the classics. As the representative of the small merchants and the small landholders, this school advocated policies of state control and specialized in the study and annotation of classical books which seemed to favour their ideas. [Source: “A History of China” by Wolfram Eberhard, 1951, University of California, Berkeley]

“But the Wang Anshi school was unable to hold its own against the school that stood for monopolist trade capitalism, the new philosophy described as Neo-Confucianism or the Song school. Here Confucianism and Buddhism were for the first time united. In the last centuries, Buddhistic ideas had penetrated all of Chinese culture: the slaughtering of animals and the executions of criminals were allowed only on certain days, in accordance with Buddhist rules. Formerly, monks and nuns had to greet the emperor as all citizens had to do; now they were exempt from this rule. On the other hand, the first Song emperor was willing to throw himself to the earth in front of the Buddha statues, but he was told he did not have to do it because he was the "Buddha of the present time" and thus equal to the God. Buddhist priests participated in the celebrations on the emperor's birthday, and emperors from time to time gave free meals to large crowds of monks. Buddhist thought entered the field of justice: in Song time we hear complaints that judges did not apply the laws and showed laxity, because they hoped to gain religious merit by sparing the lives of criminals. We had seen how the main current of Buddhism had changed from a revolutionary to a reactionary doctrine. The new greater gentry of the eleventh century adopted a number of elements of this reactionary Buddhism and incorporated them in the Confucianist system. This brought into Confucianism a metaphysic which it had lacked in the past, greatly extending its influence on the people and at the same time taking the wind out of the sails of Buddhism. The greater gentry never again placed themselves on the side of the Buddhist Church as they had done in the Tang period. When they got tired of Confucianism, they interested themselves in Taoism of the politically innocent, escapist, meditative Buddhism.

“Men like Zhou Dunyi (1017-1073) and Zhang Zai (1020-1077) developed a cosmological theory which could measure up with Buddhistic cosmology and metaphysics. But perhaps more important was the attempt of the Neo-Confucianists to explain the problem of evil. Confucius and his followers had believed that every person could perfect himself by overcoming the evil in him. As the good persons should be the élite and rule the others, theoretically everybody who was a member of human society, could move up and become a leader. It was commonly assumed that human nature is good or indifferent, and that human feelings are evil and have to be tamed and educated. When in Han time with the establishment of the gentry society and its social classes, the idea that any person could move up to become a leader if he only perfected himself, appeared to be too unrealistic, the theory of different grades of men was formed which found its clearest formulation by Han Yu: some people have a good, others a neutral, and still others a bad nature; therefore, not everybody can become a leader. The Neo-Confucianists, especially Cheng Hao (1032-1085) and Cheng Yi (1033-1107), tried to find the reasons for this inequality. According to them, nature is neutral; but physical form originates with the combination of nature with Material Force (ch'i). This combination produces individuals in which there is a lack of balance or harmony. Man should try to transform physical form and recover original nature. The creative force by which such a transformation is possible is jen, love, the creative, life-giving quality of nature itself.

“It should be remarked that Neo-Confucianism accepts an inequality of men, as early Confucianism did; and that jen, love, in its practical application has to be channelled by li, the system of rules of behaviour. The li, however, always started from the idea of a stratified class society. Zhu Xi (1130-1200), the famous scholar and systematizer of Neo-Confucian thoughts, brought out rules of behaviour for those burghers who did not belong to the gentry and could not, therefore, be expected to perform all li; his "simplified li" exercised a great influence not only upon contemporary China, but also upon Korea and Annam and there strengthened a hitherto looser patriarchal, patrilinear family system.

“The Neo-Confucianists also compiled great analytical works of history and encyclopaedias whose authority continued for many centuries. They interpreted in these works all history in accordance with their outlook; they issued new commentaries on all the classics in order to spread interpretations that served their purposes. In the field of commentary this school of thought was given perfect expression by Zhu Xi, who also wrote one of the chief historical works. Zhu Xi's commentaries became standard works for centuries, until the beginning of the twentieth century. Yet, although Zhu became the symbol of conservatism, he was quite interested in science, and in this field he had an open eye for changes.

Societal Changes During the Song Dynasty

Wolfram Eberhard wrote in “A History of China”: “With the social structure of medieval Europe, similar financial and fiscal developments which gave new chances to merchants, eventually led to industrial capitalism and industrial society. In China, however, the gentry in their capacity of officials hindered the growth of independent trade, and permitted its existence only in association with themselves. As they also represented landed property, it was in land that the newly-formed capital was invested. Thus we see in the Song period, and especially in the eleventh century, the greatest accumulation of estates that there had ever been up to then in China. [Source: “A History of China” by Wolfram Eberhard, 1951, University of California, Berkeley]

“Many of these estates came into origin as gifts of the emperor to individuals or to temples, others were created on hillsides on land which belonged to the villages. From this time on, the rest of the village commons in China proper disappeared. Villagers could no longer use the top-soil of the hills as fertilizer, or the trees as firewood and building material. In addition, the hillside estates diverted the water of springs and creeks, thus damaging severely the irrigation works of the villagers in the plains. The estates (chuang) were controlled by appointed managers who often became hereditary managers. The tenants on the estates were quite often non-registered migrants, of whom we spoke previously as "vagrants", and as such they depended upon the managers who could always denounce them to the authorities which would lead to punishment because nobody was allowed to leave his home without officially changing his registration. Many estates operated mills and even textile factories with non-registered weavers. Others seem to have specialized in sheep breeding. Present-day village names ending with -chuang indicate such former estates.

Zhu Xi: the Voice of Neo-Confucianism

Zhu Xi (Chu Hsi, 1130-1200) was the most influential Neo-Confucian philosopher. He was a scholar during China’s Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279). His honorific title is Zhu Zi (Master Zhu).

According to Columbia University’s Asia for Educators: Zhu Xi “ is known for his synthesis of Neo-Confucian philosophy. However, his concerns went far beyond the abstractions of philosophy; his purpose was to change (and improve, from his point of view) family life, society, and government. To this end, Zhu Xi was active in the theory and practice of education and in the compiling of a practical manual of family ritual. [Source: Asia for Educators, Columbia University, Primary Sources with DBQs, afe.easia.columbia.edu]

Zhu Xi’s philosophical doctrine explained the world systematically using the concepts of “qi” (vital force) and “li” (principle), and is thus commonly referred to as “the study of li” in China. Dr. Eno wrote: “Zhu Xi was a brilliant metaphysician..his theories of the cosmos and its relation to man’s ethical tendencies represent a wonderful example of philosophical imagination – but when successful candidates sought to apply Zhu’s cosmic theories of Heavenly Principle, material force, and the moral intuitions of the sage heart to the problems of tax collection, flood control, and militia organization, they sometimes found that he was a little sketchy on the details.” [Source: Robert Eno, Indiana University indiana.edu /+/ ]

Clan Estates and Their Impact on Landowners

Wolfram Eberhard wrote in “A History of China”: “A new development in this period were the "clan estates" (i-chuang), created by Fan Chung-yen (989-1052) in 1048. The income of these clan estates were used for the benefit of the whole clan, were controlled by clan-appointed managers and had tax-free status, guaranteed by the government which regarded them as welfare institutions. Technically, they might better be called corporations because they were similar in structure to some of our industrial corporations. Under the Chinese economic system, large-scale landowning always proved socially and politically injurious. Up to very recent times the peasant who rented his land paid 40-50 per cent of the produce to the landowner, who was responsible for payment of the normal land tax. The landlord, however, had always found means of evading payment. As each district had to yield a definite amount of taxation, the more the big landowners succeeded in evading payment the more had to be paid by the independent small farmers. These independent peasants could then either "give" their land to the big landowner and pay rent to him, thus escaping from the attentions of the tax-officer, or simply leave the district and secretly enter another one where they were not registered. In either case the government lost taxes. [Source: “A History of China” by Wolfram Eberhard, 1951, University of California, Berkeley]

“Large-scale landowning proved especially injurious in the Song period, for two reasons. To begin with, the official salaries, which had always been small in China, were now totally inadequate, and so the officials were given a fixed quantity of land, the yield of which was regarded as an addition to salary. This land was free from part of the taxes. Before long the officials had secured the liberation of the whole of their land from the chief taxes. In the second place, the taxation system was simplified by making the amount of tax proportional to the amount of land owned. The lowest bracket, however, in this new system of taxation comprised more land than a poor peasant would actually own, and this was a heavy blow to the small peasant-owners, who in the past had paid a proportion of their produce. Most of them had so little land that they could barely live on its yield. Their liability to taxation was at all times a very heavy burden to them while the big landowners got off lightly. Thus this measure, though administratively a saving of expense, proved unsocial.

“All this made itself felt especially in the south with its great estates of tax-evading landowners. Here the remaining small peasant-owners had to pay the new taxes or to become tenants of the landowners and lose their property. The north was still suffering from the war-devastation of the tenth century. As the landlords were always the first sufferers from popular uprisings as well as from war, they had disappeared, leaving their former tenants as free peasants. From this period on, we have enough data to observe a social "law ": as the capital was the largest consumer, especially of high-priced products such as vegetables which could not be transported over long distances, the gentry always tried to control the land around the capital. Here, we find the highest concentration of landlords and tenants. Production in this circle shifted from rice and wheat to mulberry trees for silk, and vegetables grown under the trees. These urban demands resulted in the growth of an "industrial" quarter on the outskirts of the capital, in which especially silk for the upper classes was produced. The next circle also contained many landlords, but production was more in staple foods such as wheat and rice which could be transported. Exploitation in this second circle was not much less than in the first circle, because of less close supervision by the authorities. In the third circle we find independent subsistence farmers. Some provincial capitals, especially in Sichuan, exhibited a similar pattern of circles. With the shift of the capital, a complete reorganization appeared: landlords and officials gave up their properties, cultivation changed, and a new system of circles began to form around the new capital. We find, therefore, the grotesque result that the thinly populated province of Shaanxi in the north-west yielded about a quarter of the total revenues of the state: it had no large landowners, no wealthy gentry, with their evasion of taxation, only a mass of newly-settled small peasants' holdings. For this reason the government was particularly interested in that province, and closely watched the political changes in its neighborhood. In 990 a man belonging to a sinified Toba family, living on the border of Shaanxi, had made himself king with the support of remnants of Toba tribes. In 1034 came severe fighting, and in 1038 the king proclaimed himself emperor, in the Xia dynasty, and threatened the whole of north-western China. Tribute was now also paid to this state (250,000 strings), but the fight against it continued, to save that important province.

“These were the main events in internal and external affairs during the Song period until 1068. It will be seen that foreign affairs were of much less importance than developments in the country.

Reforms and Welfare Schemes During the Song Dynasty

Wolfram Eberhard wrote in “A History of China”: “The situation just described was bound to produce a reaction. In spite of the inflationary measures the revenue fell, partly in consequence of the tax evasions of the great landowners. It fell from 150,000,000 in 1021 to 116,000,000 in 1065. Expenditure did not fall, and there was a constant succession of budget deficits. The young emperor Shen Tsung (1068-1085) became convinced that the policy followed by the ruling clique of officials and gentry was bad, and he gave his adhesion to a small group led by Wang Anshi (1021-1086). The ruling gentry clique represented especially the interests of the large tea producers and merchants in Sichuan and Jiangxi. It advocated a policy of laisser-faire in trade: it held that everything would adjust itself. Wang Anshi himself came from Jiangxi and was therefore supported at first by the government clique, within which the Jiangxi group was trying to gain predominance over the Sichuan group. But Wang Anshi came from a poor family, as did his supporters, for whom he quickly secured posts. They represented the interests of the small landholders and the small dealers. This group succeeded in gaining power, and in carrying out a number of reforms, all directed against the monopolist merchants. Credits for small peasants were introduced, and officials were given bigger salaries, in order to make them independent and to recruit officials who were not big landowners. The army was greatly reduced, and in addition to the paid soldiery a national militia was created. Special attention was paid to the province of Shaanxi, whose conditions were taken more or less as a model. [Source: “A History of China” by Wolfram Eberhard, 1951, University of California, Berkeley]

“It seems that one consequence of Wang's reforms was a strong fall in the prices, i.e. a deflation; therefore, as soon as the first decrees were issued, the large plantation owners and the merchants who were allied to them, offered furious opposition. A group of officials and landlords who still had large properties in the vicinity of Loyang—at that time a quiet cultural centre—also joined them. Even some of Wang Anshi's former adherents came out against him. After a few years the emperor was no longer able to retain Wang Anshi and had to abandon the new policy. How really economic interests were here at issue may be seen from the fact that for many of the new decrees which were not directly concerned with economic affairs, such, for instance, as the reform of the examination system, Wang Anshi was strongly attacked though his opponents had themselves advocated them in the past and had no practical objection to offer to them. The contest, however, between the two groups was not over. The monopolistic landowners and their merchants had the upper hand from 1086 to 1102, but then the advocates of the policy represented by Wang again came into power for a short time. They had but little success to show, as they did not remain in power long enough and, owing to the strong opposition, they were never able to make their control really effective.

“Basically, both groups were against allowing the developing middle class and especially the merchants to gain too much freedom, and whatever freedom they in fact gained, came through extra-legal or illegal practices. A proverb of the time said "People hate their ruler as animals hate the net (of the hunter)". The basic laws of medieval times which had attempted to create stable social classes remained: down to the nineteenth century there were slaves, different classes of serfs or "commoners", and free burghers. Craftsmen remained under work obligation. Merchants were second-class people. Each class had to wear dresses of special colour and material, so that the social status of a person, even if he was not an official and thus recognizable by his insignia, was immediately clear when one saw him. The houses of different classes differed from one another by the type of tiles, the decorations of the doors and gates; the size of the main reception room of the house was prescribed and was kept small for all non-officials; and even size and form of the tombs was prescribed in detail for each class. Once a person had a certain privilege, he and his descendants even if they had lost their position in the bureaucracy, retained these privileges over generations. All burghers were admitted to the examinations and, thus, there was a certain social mobility allowed within the leading class of the society, and a new "small gentry" developed by this system.

“Yet, the wars of the transition period had created a feeling of insecurity within the gentry. The eleventh and twelfth centuries were periods of extensive social legislation in order to give the lower classes some degree of security and thus prevent them from attempting to upset the status quo. In addition to the "ever-normal granaries" of the state, "social granaries" were revived, into which all farmers of a village had to deliver grain for periods of need. In 1098 a bureau for housing and care was created which created homes for the old and destitute; 1102 a bureau for medical care sent state doctors to homes and hospitals as well as to private homes to care for poor patients; from 1104 a bureau of burials took charge of the costs of burials of poor persons. Doctors as craftsmen were under corvée obligation and could easily be ordered by the state. Often, however, Buddhist priests took charge of medical care, burial costs and hospitalization. The state gave them premiums if they did good work. The Ministry of Civil Affairs made the surveys of cases and costs, while the Ministry of Finances paid the costs. We hear of state orphanages in 1247, a free pharmacy in 1248, state hospitals were reorganized in 1143. In 1167 the government gave low-interest loans to poor persons and (from 1159 on) sold cheap grain from state granaries. Fire protection services in large cities were organized. Finally, from 1141 on, the government opened up to twenty-three geisha houses for the entertainment of soldiers who were far from home in the capital and had no possibility for other amusements. Public baths had existed already some centuries ago; now Buddhist temples opened public baths as social service.

“Social services for the officials were also extended. Already from the eighth century on, offices were closed every tenth day and during holidays, a total of almost eighty days per year. Even criminals got some leave and exiles had the right of a home leave once every three years. The pensions for retired officials after the age of seventy which amounted to 50 per cent of the salary from the eighth century on, were again raised, though widows did not receive benefits.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Robert Eno, Indiana University /+/ ; Asia for Educators, Columbia University afe.easia.columbia.edu ; University of Washington’s Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, depts.washington.edu/chinaciv /=\; National Palace Museum, Taipei ; Library of Congress; New York Times; Washington Post; Los Angeles Times; China National Tourist Office (CNTO); Xinhua; China.org; China Daily; Japan News; Times of London; National Geographic; The New Yorker; Time; Newsweek; Reuters; Associated Press; Lonely Planet Guides; Compton’s Encyclopedia; Smithsonian magazine; The Guardian; Yomiuri Shimbun; AFP; Wikipedia; BBC. Many sources are cited at the end of the facts for which they are used.

Last updated August 2021


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