LAI Ming Chiu
RGC General Research Fund
This project aims at an analysis of the social life and local community of the Linxiang County 臨湘縣, Changsha Commandery 長沙郡during Eastern Han period. With the evidence of the wooden manuscripts from Wuyi Square of the Changsha Province, l will analyze how the pattern of natural settlement qiu appeared in Changsha region, whether xiang-li 鄉里 and xiang-qiu 鄉丘 (hamlet) co-existed at the local community of Linxiang County. I shall address the functional changes of tingbu 亭部 from police and postage to administration of the scattered settlements and hamlets within the commune district. A thorough discussion of the settlement aggregation and living habits in relation with the natural environment and population mobility will uncover more details on the indigenous culture and the living customs of the Linxiang communities. The manuscripts of Wuyi Square reflected that the economic prosperity and population mobility of the Linxiang City, from simply an administrative headquarter to a commercial and political metropolitan city. l will analyze how Changsha became a consuming center as well as a wholesale market with the influx of population from the hinterland of Xiang River and its neighboring commanderies. The social community of Linxiang city was more complex in the Eastern Han period. Hired workers were the common social group in society. Private waged labors and their families relied on monthly wages for their living. This project will pay attention to the life of labors, such as jiuren 僦人, jinzu 津卒, unregistered people, vagrants, clients and outsiders, who were the major parts of the social groups in Linxiang community. With the concrete cases studies as the examples, this project aims at a comprehensive picture of the social life and the local community of Linxiang people. Project objectives are as follows. 1) To analyze the administrative functions of xiang and ting over li and qiu, and to discuss the settlement aggregation and living habits in relation with the natural environment and population mobility to uncover the indigenous culture and Linxiang living customs. 2) To analyze the impacts of population growth and economic prosperity on social life of the Linxiang community, special focus on monthly labors, unregistered people, vagrants and outsiders of the local society. 3) To evaluate the impacts of water navigation of Xiang River and its tributaries on the commercial growth and population mobility to Linxiang County and Changsha Commandery.