China & Inner Asia: Table of Contents
Organizer and Chair: Cynthia L. Chennault, University of Florida
Discussants: Cynthia L. Chennault, University of Florida; Terry F. Kleeman, College of William and Mary
In the early fourth century, beset by invasion, rebellion, and famine, the Jin court fled Chinas northern heartland for a redoubt south of the Yangzis divide. Founded upon the remains of the Wu Kingdoms capital, Jiankang (Nanjing) would grow from an embattled outpost, and by the next century begin to exert the centripetal pressures that had radiated from previous imperial centers. At this stage a new dynamics between the capital and regional interests emerged.
Patterns established in the Eastern Jin have commonly been understood as formative for the briefer dynasties that followed, resulting in too static a view of the southern era of division. Treating polarities between the capital and outlying regions, Part 2 of the panel brings attention to later evolutions across a range of contextsincluding social mobility and the extension of imperial authority, as well as changes in religious practice and the perception of bureaucratic service.
Assumptions about the equivalence of family pedigree and power are challenged by Andrew Chitticks study of northern settlers in the frontier district of Xiangyang, and their entry to the Liu-Songs factionalized court. Peter Nickersons research on the cult of Chiang Tzu-wen, a local deity, indicates that Southern Dynasties emperors came to draw upon the vitality of popular religion to project hegemonic aims. Richard B. Mather discusses invocations for rain that date from Hsieh Tiaos appointment as a commandery warden. Comparing these to hymns written for the state ritual, he relates them also to Hsiehs reflections on the duties of a provincial administrator. Examining cave-temples near Jiankang and in Zhejiang, Audrey Spiro addresses problems in researching Buddhist sites in the south, and presents an interdisciplinary approach to these products of imperial and clerical devotion.
Andrew Chittick, Kalamazoo College
This paper studies the development of Xiangyang provincial society and the ascent to national power of some of its members under the Liu-Song regime. Xiangyang (northern Hubei) was a frontier area that had seen repeated waves of immigration during the fourth century. Only in the early fifth century, however, did changes in government policy encourage a new, higher ranking group of northern immigrant families to remain in Xiangyang and build their lives and careers there.
Men from these families first distinguished themselves through military service, fighting hill tribes and participating in campaigns against the north, but they lacked the personal connections to secure positions in the capital bureaucracy at Jiankang. The military prowess of the Liu and other Xiangyang families eventually enabled them to take advantage of internecine warfare amongst the imperial princes. In supporting the coup that installed Emperor Xiaowu on the throne (r. 454465), they finally gained high-level influence at court. When the emperors later efforts to undermine their influence by revoking many immigrant privileges were defeated, this led to yet more preferential treatment for Xiangyangs local society in the form of administrative districting and tax abatements.
A further shift in princely politics resulted in the wholesale slaughter of Liu Yuanjing and members of his clan, the principal representatives of Xiangyang at court. Despite that setback, other branches of the Liu clan, along with other local clans, were soon able to repeat and even exceed the success of the previous generation.
Peter Nickerson, Duke University
The tensionsand accommodationsbetween local deity cults and centralized political authority during the Southern Dynasties have important implications both for medieval political history and the understanding of imperial Chinese cosmologies of power and territorial control. The present paper focuses on the history of one local cult, that of Chiang Tzu-wen, between the third and sixth centuries c.e.
The cult was initially employed by local forces to assert rural power at the expense of the center but gradually became an imperially patronized cult through which regional hegemony was projected. Imperial canonization of local deities was an important political tool already in the Southern Dynasties, and did not begin only with the Sung, as other studies have implied. Moreover, prior accounts of the legitimation of power during the Southern Dynasties have erred by concentrating too narrowly upon the literati elite and the cultural forms (such as "pure conversation," ching-tan) that it employed to assert status, ignoring the politics of popular religion as can be traced through the Chiang Tzu-wen cult.
Finally, the centering of imperial religio-territorial aspirations on the cults own Chiang (or Chung) Mountain, just outside Chien-kang, is significant for showing change in the concerns of southern rulersfrom the original ambition to retake the north, symbolically focused at Mount Sung, to a preoccupation with indigenous sacred zones in the southern capitals vicinity. Chinese political cosmology (such as the scheme of the sacred mountains of the five directions, wu yeh) was far more flexible than sometimes imagined: new centers could be created quite freely.
Richard B. Mather, University of Minnesota
The poet Hsieh Tiao (464499) spent a little over a year during 495 and 496 as grand warden (tai-shou) of Hsüan-cheng Commandery (In Anhui), about eighty miles due south of the Southern Chi capital in Chien-kang. This brief interlude was a defining moment in his life, as may be recognized in the name by which he is chiefly rememberedHsieh Hsüan-cheng.
Reading the poems which have survived from that period of Hsieh Tiaos life (about twenty-three in all), one gets the impression that he had almost nothing to do there. He himself describes his duties in a poem as "sitting and whistling" (tso-hsiao). It is obvious, however, that even though he did spend a lot of time climbing mountains and exploring the local fishing streams, there is one official duty that he does seem to have taken quite seriously, namely, his roles as chief official for the seasonal sacrifices to the local tutelary deitythe god of Ching-ting Mountain on the northern rim of his comandery. In this paper I look at some of the ritual poems Hsieh Tiao wrote for these occasions, as well as similar hymns he had been commissioned to write for the annual Chi Rain Sacrifice (yü) in the capital just prior to taking up his post in Hsüan-cheng, in an effort to shed some light on both the practice and the underlying assumptions of these rituals.
Audrey Spiro, Independent Scholar
The religious fervor that swept north China in the fifth and sixth centuries has been much documented, not least by studies of the remains of the hundreds of Buddhist cave-temples donated by the faithful. Textual evidence attests to a similar fervor in the south, although the penchant for hollowed-out and decorated caves as a form of religious devotion seems never to have reached the feverish pitch it attained in the north.
Recently, scholarly interest has been renewed in two Nanbeichao cave-temple sites in the south, one at the Qixia temple near the old capital at Jiankang, the other at a large temple complex nestled in the Shan mountains, near present-day Xinchang in Zhejiang province, and known today as the "Great Buddha Temple" (Da Fo si). Both sites are mentioned in early sources, which associate both with important clerical and imperial patronage.
This paper will call attention to these remains of the Southern Qi and Liang dynasties and compare them with each other as well as with northern examples. It will also address issuesarchaeological, historical, and art historicalrequiring further research. Meager and much damaged though they are, careful study of the caves and their artifacts can shed considerable light, especially for studies of regional difference, in respect to questions of patronage, the stylistic sources for the art, and the religious beliefs of the period.