This research reconsiders the way that Western Zhou established and managed its territories. By analyzing regional polities that existed in what we call the “Southern Lands” (nan tu 南土) of the Zhou dynasty, I discovered that political makeups in the south consisted of patchworks of preexisting lineages that nominally accepted Zhou suzerainty. The accepted theory about the formation of regional polities has held that there was a bifurcation of territorial control. I propoose, however, that a triplex formation better defines the early-Western Zhou state. I analyze conceptually the latter’s territorial categories as follows: the Royal Domain 王畿; the fengjian 封建 regions (the Zhou kings’ deployment of regional states designated by kin-lineage); and the Southern Lands under the institution known as baofeng 褒封. Parsimony might explain the dynasty’s adoption of different modes of control over different conquered landscapes during its expansionist stage. The triplex concept leads to a more nuanced understanding of the three-part congealment of the early-Western Zhou state and may also set the stage for interpreting subsequent Western Zhou history. Copyright © 2023 Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica.
|Publication status||Published - 2023|
CitationLei, C. (2023). Territoriality and state power: Southern Lands and the triplex formation of early Western Zhou. Asia Major, 36(1), 53-93.
- Western Zhou dynasty
- Southern Lands