Ten thousand names : rank and lineage affiliation in the Wenxian covenant texts
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The following paper looks at evidence of rank distinction and lineage affiliation among partici¬ pants in a covenant recorded on tablets excavated at Wenxian $ 3÷ Henan province, and dated to the fifth century BC. The covenant is in the form of a loyalty oath to a leader, taken to be the head of the Han M§ lineage, one of the ministerial families of Jin The text of the covenant is written in ink on stone tablets, each individualized with the name of a covenantor. Tablets with this partic¬ ular covenant text were found in five separate pits. The number of tablets in each pit ranged from several dozen to more than 5000. The stone- type and shape of the tablets varied within and among pits. I argue that these variations are evidence of distinctions in rank among the covenantors. I dis¬ cuss a set of four related names from the tablets that appear to support this conjecture. I then look at names, of both covenantors and enemies, in which a lineage name is found. I argue that these names show that it was loyalty to the Han leader, not shared lineage affiliation, which was the main requirement for participation in the covenanting group. I conclude with a brief discussion on the size of the covenanting group, lineages within political groups, and the wider significance of these materials.
This is the publisher's official version, also available electronically from: http://dx.doi.org/10.5169/seals-147840.
Williams, Crispin. “Ten Thousand Names: Rank and Lineage Affiliation in the Wenxian Covenant Texts”. Asiatische Studien, LXIII•4•2009, pp.959–989. http://dx.doi.org/10.5169/seals-147840
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