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Ethnic Identity in Tang China
 0812240529, 9780812240528

Table of contents :
Cover
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
Introduction
Chapter 1. Ethnicity in the Chinese Context
Chapter 2. The Ambiguity of the Non-Han: Stereotyping and Separation
Chapter 3. Buddhism as a Foreign Religion
Chapter 4. Deep Eyes and High Noses: The Barbarian Body
Chapter 5. The Geopolitics of Ethnicity
Chapter 6. Varieties of Ethnic Change
Conclusion
Appendix A. Chinese Dynasties
Appendix B. Sui and Tang Emperors
List of Abbreviations
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Acknowledgments

Citation preview

9474-Ethnic Identity in Tang China

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Ethnic Identity in Tang China

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Encounters with Asia Victor H. Mair, Series Editor Encounters with Asia is an interdisciplinary series dedicated to the exploration of all the major regions and cultures of this vast continent. Its time frame extends from the prehistoric to the contemporary; its geographic scope ranges from the Urals and the Caucasus to the Pacific. A particular focus of the series is the Silk Road in all of its ramifications: religion, art, music, medicine, science, trade, and so forth. Among the disciplines represented in this series are history, archaeology, anthropology, ethnography, and linguistics. The series aims particularly to clarify the complex interrelationships among various peoples within Asia, and also with societies beyond Asia.

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Ethnic Identity in Tang China MARC S. ABRAMSON

University of Pennsylvania Press Philadelphia

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Copyright © 2008 University of Pennsylvania Press All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations used for purposes of review or scholarly citation, none of this book may be reproduced in any form by any means without written permission from the publisher. Published by University of Pennsylvania Press Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4112 Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper 10

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Abramson, Marc S. Ethnic identity in Tang China : Marc S. Abramson. p. cm. — (Encounters with Asia) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN-13: 978-0-8122-4052-8 (alk. paper) ISBN-10: 0-8122-4052-9 (alk. paper) 1. Ethnology—China. 2. China—Ethnic relations. 3. China—History—Tang dynasty, 618–907. I. Title. DS730.A45 2007 305.800951'09021—dc22 2007030263

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Contents

Introduction

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1. Ethnicity in the Chinese Context

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2. The Ambiguity of the Non-Han: Stereotyping and Separation 3. Buddhism as a Foreign Religion

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4. Deep Eyes and High Noses: The Barbarian Body 5. The Geopolitics of Ethnicity 6. Varieties of Ethnic Change Conclusion

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Appendix A. Chinese Dynasties

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Appendix B. Sui and Tang Emperors List of Abbreviations Notes

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Bibliography Index

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Acknowledgments

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In 1997, shortly before the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty, a Chinese polling firm asked a focus group of Shanghai students to choose which period, historical or present-day, they would most like to live in. A plurality of the students chose the Tang dynasty (618–907)— the present-day came in second—because, in the students’ words, it was a period of “Great China.”1 These results reflect a widely held belief, formed by Chinese official pedagogy and popular culture (historical novels, televisions serials, and feature films on the great figures of the Tang continue to be churned out at a huge rate), that the Tang was the peak of Chinese military strength, political unity, economic influence, and cultural efflorescence. Historians concur that the Tang era was indeed a unique conjuncture in Chinese history of power and cosmopolitanism. Rather like the People’s Republic of China today, the Tang Empire was remarkably receptive to foreign influences in nearly every cultural practice, from music to literature, food to clothes, and religion to medicine. Moreover, unlike the situation at the turn of the twenty-first century, China was, for most of the Tang era, the dominant power in East Asia and arguably had the strongest economy and highest prosperity of any region on the globe. This understandable pride in the Tang, combined with the powerful contemporary self-image of China as a pluralistic multi-ethnic nation state welcoming all ethnic groups into the fold, has been a potent force behind the conventional wisdom among both historians and laymen that the Tang Empire readily assimilated non-Han peoples who were willing to adopt Chinese culture. This understanding essentially discounts the importance of ethnic identity relative to cultural difference. This book intends to show that ethnicity mattered in the Tang. While cultural change was significant and was often a vector for ethnic change, the two types of change were far from congruent. The fundamental themes that structured ethnic difference—culture, to be sure, but also ancestry, the body, and politics—remained salient throughout the period, and in turn revealed deep ambiguities among Tang elites about the identity and cohesiveness of the ethnic Self and China itself.

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One anecdote illustrates some of the complexities of ethnic identity in Tang China. In the late spring of 719, the South Indian Buddhist monk Vajrabodhi2 was living in Luoyang, the Tang Empire’s eastern capital and the second city of the empire after Chang’an, the western capital and the largest city in the world. He had arrived in China earlier that year at the southern port city of Guangzhou (Canton) after traveling through more than twenty countries, typical of the epic trips taken by Buddhist clerics from South and East Asia in their search for rare texts, esoteric doctrines, and enlightened teachers. He was a renowned teacher, and several eminent Chinese monks soon offered themselves as his disciples. His fame spread, and the imperial court soon summoned him to Luoyang. Shortly after his arrival, he was credited with ending a severe drought by painting a mandala, a cosmological picture depicting Buddhist deities. Shortly afterward, Vajrabodhi’s attendants informed him that the emperor would soon issue an edict ordering “alien [fan] monks from foreign lands” to return home. Vajrabodhi, however, did not expect the edict to affect him. Rather than referring to his supernatural powers (which he had wasted little time in demonstrating), his erudition, or past imperial favors to claim immunity, he denied that he belonged to the category of fan, the most common designation for ethnic outsiders, in the Tang sources. He is reported to have said, “I am an Indian monk, not a fan or hu [another common term for ethnic Others, often used to refer to peoples from Inner Asia], so the imperial edict doesn’t apply to me. I certainly won’t be leaving.”3 Vajrabodhi’s case illustrates some of the key characteristics of the multitude of references to ethnicity and ethnic difference scattered throughout the historical record that allow us to reconstruct the contours of ethnic identity during the Tang. First, ethnic identity was most often explicitly asserted in the face of an actual or potential crisis when ethnic distinctions determined, at least in part, the future of an individual or community. Some of the most extreme of these crises, as of the type just described, resulted from state action. In other cases, such as local pogroms, rebellions, or oppression by local elites and officials, crises that used ethnic identity as a marker to draw boundaries between friend and foe arose outside the sphere of central authority and in some instances conflicted with imperial goals of stability and harmony. Beyond these acute situations, however, there was a whole realm of social, political, and cultural interactions at the individual level where ethnicity was the key, though often implicit, factor in determining the course of events in marriages, battles, or what to wear. Second, ethnic identity most often crystallized through the opposition of an ethnic Self to an ethnic Other. The preponderance of available sources (and all surviving materials from the Tang Empire itself) were

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written in Sinitic and composed by ethnically Han authors.4 Therefore, most of our examples construct ethnic difference using literary Sinitic terms—themselves strongly loaded with associations that linked common terms for China, Chinese culture, and Han ethnicity with abstract conceptions of civilization and culture—and posit the ethnically nonHan as the explicit Other in opposition to an implicitly understood and therefore largely undefined Han Self. Thus, the anecdote with Vajrabodhi is unusual in two respects that help illuminate the dynamics of how ethnic difference was defined: (a) Although it is problematic to assert that we are hearing the voice of Vajrabodhi, given that the text is written in literary Sinitic within a specifically Chinese tradition of Buddhist hagiography and most likely mediated by a series of Han transmitters, he asserts his ethnic identity against the undifferentiated mass of non-Han Others denoted by the terms fan and hu, as all Han would have done if forced to.5 And (b), Vajrabodhi, in confounding his interlocutors by asserting an identity outside the standard Han Self/non-Han Other opposition, highlights both the conventionality and the limits of the dyad. Third, Han and non-Han in the Tang perceived ethnic outsiders in different ways. Virtually all Han tended to essentialize the ethnic Other as monolithic, manifested in the universal use of overarching designations such as hu and fan and similarly vague yet hegemonic assumptions regarding behavior and nature. They often made only the broadest distinctions between non-Han peoples, using millennia-old terms to distinguish non-Han by cardinal direction. In contrast, non-Han individuals who asserted their own distinct ethnic identities internalized more complex taxonomies of identity and ethnic difference that distinguished them from the Han, from other specific non-Han groups (particularly those whom they considered to be inferior), and from the generic category of nonHan. In 725 a Türk leader, while addressing a Tang envoy, disparagingly referred to the Tibetans as a race of dogs and the Mongolian-speaking Tatabï and Khitan nomadic peoples as former slaves of the Türks.6 Some Tang officials, who worked with non-Han peoples and thus had a more complex view of different ethnic groups, often internalized similar taxonomies, though these opinions were usually expressed unofficially and in contravention of state policy. Vajrabodhi’s assertion of a distinctly Indian identity was a reaction to his attendants (almost certainly Han), who had automatically placed him in the category of generic non-Han (fanhu) and were voicing their routine assumptions about his identity. His response was to lay claim to a specific non-Han ethnic identity and thereby position himself in a place along the savage-civilized continuum far above the generic “barbarian.” India was recognized in Tang ethnographic works as a land that

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possessed a high degree of urbanization, a literate culture, and a developed political system, all hallmarks of civilization in the eyes of even the most xenophobic Han literatus (see Chapter 3). This is not to say, however, that all specific ethnic identities were superior to a generic barbarian identity; the Han-oriented continuum of savage to civilized placed certain peoples, such as certain dark-skinned or physically small peoples of Southeast Asia, at a level lower than that posited for the generic nonHan and even in semihuman and nonhuman categories. In addition to the problems posed by the existence of different taxonomies of ethnic identity, the concepts of ethnicity and identity themselves do not readily correspond to any of the established genres or topics of the Sinitic sources. Although some genres, such as accounts of foreign peoples in the dynastic histories (mostly based on official documents and compiled in subsequent dynasties) and Buddhist monks’ records of pilgrimages to India and elsewhere, contain valuable ethnographic material, they touch on the author’s own ethnic identity (almost invariably Han) obliquely and mostly see the ethnic identity of his subjects (both Han and non-Han) as self-evident and unproblematic. In particular, they do not explicitly address the question of Han identity, with the important exception of a few late Tang essays that I discuss in the Conclusion. Nevertheless, a wide reading of the Tang sources reveals that ethnic identity and ethnicity mattered very much in the Tang, penetrating into all corners of discourse—the primary focus of this book— and heavily influencing Tang society, politics, and culture. The explanation for the apparent paradox of an ethnically diverse society with a literate elite uninterested in explicitly examining the nature of its own ethnic identity relates to two negatively correlated factors: selfconfidence and a preference for ambiguity. During periods of imperial strength, self-confidence obviated the need for a thorough examination of ethnic fissures, similar in many respects to the previously unreflexive nature of Whiteness in the United States, only recently the object of intense study. However, during periods of weakness and instability, elites prefer to seek unity rather than division and thus elide ethnic fissures. Tang elites only began to question and explicitly explore the nature of Chineseness toward the end of the dynasty, when political and social turmoil identified with ethnic and cultural outsiders forced them to question the basic assumptions that had undergirded the Tang Empire. They ultimately moved to construct much less ambiguous ethnic boundaries as part of consolidating a new realm more representative of the ethnic Han Self yet able legitimately to claim to be the inheritor of the Tang’s imperial legacy, a project that culminated in the Song dynasty. Tang elites also cultivated ambiguity because closely examining ethnic divides was not only inconsistent with the stated imperial goal of a multi-

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ethnic empire but also impolitic, given the non-Han ethnic origins of many Tang elites, including the imperial family. More profoundly, however, the project of defining Hanness and Chineseness, like defining Americanness or Romanness, was the product of a certain historical moment. The Tang, as an era that began with a self-consciously multiethnic empire united by a heterogeneous Chinese culture (consisting of very different regional cultures that had developed over centuries of political division and adaptation to non-Chinese culture) and ended with the roots of a self-consciously mono-ethnic empire united by a significantly more homogenous Chinese culture, was perhaps the crucial period in the formation of an ethnically Han (as opposed to a culturally Chinese) identity. Many scholars have argued that ethnic Han in the Tang differentiated individuals with non-Han ethnic markers (characteristics) as ethnic Others or accepted them as Han based on membership in a Chinese oikoumene using mainly cultural, not racial or genealogical, criteria.7 That is, one could be culturally Chinese but retain non-Han ethnic markers and even identity, as was the case for the inhabitants (particularly elites) of many empires throughout history, such as Indians in the British Empire. However, the acceptance of someone as culturally “Chinese” did not mean that he or she was henceforth indistinguishable from the Han, particularly when observed by the culturally Chinese educated elites who were the arbiters of Han identity and Chinese culture.8 Genealogical consciousness remained high throughout the Tang. Ancestry, including not only ethnic but also geographic and class factors, continued to be used, at least by elites if not by the general populace, to distinguish themselves from ethnic Others, particularly when it came to contracting marital ties. It was common in such cases for the elite Han in-group to refer to the Other as “not of our kind,” with strong implications of common descent on the part of the Han.9 This and similar phrases had been used long before the Tang, primarily to denote ethnic differences, and they continued to do so in the Tang. The acceptance of a non-Han’s Chinese cultural bona fides did have an important effect on the internally constructed ethnic identities of the non-Han themselves, for adaptation to Chinese norms was a key element in non-Han ethnic assimilation to the Han that could bring with it a host of behavioral and perceptual changes. However, the significance of such cultural changes varied considerably, according to the social position and goals of the individual and his or her key social unit, most often the immediate family. Those who perceived an advantage in pursuing cultural and ethnic change toward Chinese and Han norms, such as non-Han elites who had received Chinese educations and hoped to attain civil office, were eager to assert Han identities through

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the manufacturing of genealogies and the cultivation of ideal forms of deportment and ritual. Policies of cultural openness in the first half of the dynasty and political expediency in the second half contributed to the lax regulation of genealogies and encouraged ethnic assimilation via the adoption of mainstream social and cultural practices. Previous scholarship has largely viewed the Tang Empire as pluralistic but tending toward assimilation. However, there were many non-Han, such as frontier military elites, traders, and religious specialists, whose status rested on their non-Han ethnic identities. Although they adopted Chinese cultural practices both for prestige and convenience when operating within Tang society, they maintained their non-Han identities and related religious, marital, and genealogical practices. Besides the natural resistance of certain communities to change, this phenomenon points to an often-overlooked point: the utility of the “barbarian” Other in Tang society. When Tang elites distinguished between particular categories of non-Han, such as between Türks and Persians, they often did so while attributing to them desirable skills that contributed to the smooth functioning of the empire. In so doing, they behaved similarly to the rulers of various medieval empires, including the Byzantine, Ghaznavid, Buyid, and Fatimid, who felt that an ethnically diverse empire was a stronger empire as long as a powerful monarch who could control potential interethnic conflicts was on the throne.10 The nonHan skills valued by Tang rules and elites included warfare, animal husbandry, music, dancing, and crafts, which were viewed as essential to the cultural, social, economic, and military well-being of the empire. Elites and the state acknowledged the ideological attractiveness of a culturally seamless empire, but they also recognized that the Tang needed loyal non-Han within its boundaries, leading to pressures from both Han and non-Han for many non-Han to maintain their distinctive ethnic identities and resist assimilation. The focus of this book is the discursive construction of ethnic identity and ethnic difference in the Tang. Many earlier scholars have described particular non-Han ethnic groups active during this period and have discussed at length their distinctive cultural and social behaviors. This volume, though inspired by and indebted to their work, particularly Edward Schafer’s magisterial The Golden Peaches of Samarkand and The Vermilion Bird, is not intended to duplicate their findings. Rather, I hope to illuminate the relevance of ethnicity across a range of discourses and behaviors, and thereby reveal the evolving boundaries and content not only of non-Han ethnicity and non-Chinese culture but also of Han ethnicity and Chinese culture. As cultural and ethnic identities and differences were not primordial but constructed (see Chapter 1), primarily through discourse, they in-

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evitably evolved over time relative to other trends in Tang culture, society, and politics. Discourse on ethnic identity coalesced around four themes: genealogy, culture, the body, and politics. Genealogy refers to ties that bind the individual and the group in time and space, including discourse not only on ancestry and kinship but also on native places, changing borders, and original homelands. The project of defining ur-China as described in purportedly ancient geographic texts (see Chapter 5) was one of the most extensive and explicit examinations of Han identity in the Tang. Culture designates such subjects as material culture, ritual, religion, etiquette, occupation, education and learned skills, and social organization. Chapter 2 discusses many of the stereotypes relating to culture, Chapter 3 specifically addresses debates over the foreignness of Buddhism, and Chapter 6 touches on many of the social and cultural aspects of ethnic change. Ethnicized discourse on the body was centered on physiognomy and heredity, discussed in Chapter 4. Political discourse relating to ethnic identity focused in the Tang on issues of power, legitimacy, and loyalty that will be addressed in Chapters 2, 5, and 6 and the Conclusion. While previous scholars have generally focused on cultural themes in discussing ethnicity in the Tang, ethnic identity was constructed out of all four ongoing discourses, with one or more taking priority at different periods, different levels of society, and different events. The four themes outlined above, and their associated theories of identity and discursive strategies, were available throughout the Tang as ideologies in reserve and utilized by a wide range of actors and producers of discourse. Their relationship with social and political events was complex and could be mutually reinforcing. During the reign of Emperor Xuanzong, for example, when cultural themes were particularly pervasive in ethnic discourse, there was a symbiosis between literati constructions of ethnic boundaries, through associating particular ethnic groups with distinctive music, dance, and painting specializations, and state attempts to regulate and restrict artistic and cultural activities on the grounds that they encouraged ethnic and cultural miscegenation.11 Over the course of the Tang, the salience of the four themes subtly but appreciably shifted, allowing for a rough chronology. The limitations of the sources, the complex relationships between author, genre, subject, and context, and the fact that these themes were always available as reserve ideologies in the toolbox of the average Tang writer and, indeed, were regularly drawn upon throughout the period, ensure that any periodization is tentative and subject to numerous exceptions. Modes of expressing and describing ethnic identity functioned like layers of sedimentation: new layers were added, but old layers persisted. Given the penchant for appealing to past examples and arguments and referring

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to or simply copying from the wealth of precedents in the written corpus, it is no surprise that we see the same terms, the same rhetoric, and the same policies repeatedly cropping up and, to a considerable degree, defying attempts to discern change. Nevertheless, emphases did change, and certain discursive forms, while not discredited, became less pertinent to the conflicts and crises of the day. The following chronology, while imperfect, offers a framework for understanding how the construction of ethnic identity evolved relative to other developments in Chinese society, politics, and culture. From the Northern and Southern Dynasties through the Sui and the early Tang (350–650), the dominant ethnic discourse centered on genealogical and political themes. This era was marked by massive influxes of non-Han peoples into China and the establishment of non-Han or mestizo (mixed Han and non-Han ethnicity) ruling cliques in the north and Han ruling cliques in the south—both relying on ethnically heterogeneous but culturally Chinese literate bureaucratic elites—that drew alternately on assimilationist and revanchist strategies of constructing ethnic identity to bolster their rule. Thus, the use of genealogical and political discourse reflected the interplay and fluidity of ethnic and political boundaries and the centrality of claims of ancestry and geography in the quest of both Han and nonHan states for legitimacy. The prominence of these themes is underscored in the early Tang in debates over the incorporation of recently defeated non-Han nomads into the empire and the attention of the imperial family and other elites to the often-contentious official genealogies and claims of ancestry. From the early Tang to the early years of Xuanzong’s reign (650–730), concerns with culture and the body assumed greater significance, genealogy declined in importance, and politics disappeared almost entirely. This development paralleled the growth of a self-confident Tang elite that had lost much of its anxiety over the threat of ethnic divisions to its political security and social status. Imperial expansion and internal stability, combined with a powerful centralizing court, led to a more inclusive elite based on government service rather than snobbish appeals to ancestry. The popularity of the ethnically heterogeneous knighterrant (or bravo) ethos, which united both Chinese and non-Chinese models of martiality, and the responding concern of the center with the popularity of non-Han popular and material culture—reflecting the increasingly pluralistic nature of both elite and popular culture—highlight these new trends. The third period (730–820) begins with the middle of the Kaiyuan reign period (713–742), often considered the high point of the Tang, continues through the key turning point of the An Lushan rebellion

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(755–763) and concludes with the partial restoration of the dynasty’s power under the reign of Xianzong (805–820). Politics reemerged as a significant category for conceptualizing ethnicity, culture became even more salient, genealogy continued to play an important, though secondary, role, while the body further diminished in relative significance. The emergence of non-Han military elites as potent political forces independent of state control, the increased permeability and flexibility of borders, and the concomitant absorption of non-Han into the shrinking post-An Lushan rebellion empire, brought political concerns to the fore and significantly increased elite anxieties over non-Han cultural influence that had surfaced earlier. Finally, from the end of Xianzong’s reign through the end of the Tang and into the Five Dynasties period (820–960), politics dominated ethnic discourse, followed by genealogy and then culture. As this period marked the run-up to and final collapse of effective central political control and the appearance of centers of non-Han military power that pragmatically offered their services to an array of masters and even sought on occasion to claim political legitimacy, political themes in ethnic discourse naturally took precedence. The discussions of “Chinese” and “barbarian” hearts, which explore the nature of political loyalty and ethnic identity (see the Conclusion), epitomize this era. Issues of culture and ancestry, while remaining ideologies in reserve, particularly to praise or censure prominent non-Han individuals, came to be less relevant in a period when the declining wealth and power of traditional literate elites rendered them less able authoritatively to critique the changes that were occurring.

Characteristics of Tang Discourse on Ethnicity A few years before the An Lushan rebellion, a minor civil official (probably the frontier poet Gao Shi) set off westward from Chang’an to join a military expedition against the Tibetans, the most dangerous political rivals of the Tang for much of the eighth century. The renowned poet and painter Wang Wei recorded his departure in “Preface on sending off Administrative Assistant Gao to accompany the army to Hexi.”12 As was customary, Gao’s friends held a farewell party, probably at one of the numerous taverns that lined the highways connecting the great metropolis to every corner of the empire. The men would have spent the night drinking, singing, and composing poetry, and then would have sent their inebriated comrade off the next morning. Part of this ritualized farewell was the composition of a preface to the collected poetry written by the participants commemorating the event and offering well-worn observations on the terrors of the frontier and the lost comforts of

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Chang’an. The preface, which will only be quoted selectively, provides a springboard to examine issues of style, genre, and content in Tang discourse on ethnicity. Wang first takes a cosmic and imperial vantage point, discussing the emperor’s ability to order the frontier and its non-Han inhabitants. The preface, typical of Tang literary works on the frontier,13 is full of allusions to bygone non-Han peoples and semimythical locations. However, Wang also refers to contemporary people and places, based in part on his own experiences as a border official. A significant number of officials, most famously the Confucian theorist and critic of Buddhism Han Yu (see Chapter 3), spent at least some time serving in frontier regions either to advance their career or, as became increasingly common from the late seventh century on, as punishment. The mixture of past and present, metaphorical and actual, stylistic flourish and pragmatic substance, is typical of much Tang discourse on ethnicity. Wang then gradually narrows his focus to deal with the imperial armies, the general who leads them, and then Gao himself, all the while using highly stylized language rich with tropes and classical references. The army was composed of seasoned veterans of the Shuofang Army from the ethnically mixed northwest frontier region, and its commander was Geshu Han, a general of mixed Sogdian and Turkic ancestry and a key military figure of Xuanzong’s reign. Wang, hewing to the conventions of the genre, praises Gao for his civil and military abilities and then describes the alien and barbaric culture and environment of the frontier to which Gao will have to adjust himself while inevitably thinking back to his former companions in Chang’an. The preface uses a number of motifs and conventions central to the Tang construction of non-Han ethnicity. Most notably, it includes an extended description of Geshu Han that consciously establishes him not simply as a military man but as a distinctive type of soldier, the “barbarian general” (fanjiang) in the service of the Tang. Literati contemporaries and later writers depicted the fanjiang collectively as the embodiment of martiality (wu)—as opposed to civil and cultured virtues (wen)—one of the fundamental organizing principles for the Tang discursive construction of ethnicity. Most educated Han elites, like Wang Wei, viewed the fanjiang, and, by extension, other non-Han peoples marked as martial, with a mixture of fear, awe, and condescension. In the early Tang, Han elites were relatively likely to have had military service and possess a frontier ethos, and thus had idealized a balance of civil and military virtues. However, as elites became more divorced from the military and the frontier, by Wang’s time civil virtues had greater prestige. One key passage illustrates the potency and the implicit danger of the fanjiang and the overall trope of the martial non-Han: “The supreme

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commander is the gentleman Geshu, whose reputation has spread in all four directions. He is eight feet in height. His eyes are like purple crystals, his beard like split hedgehog hairs. When his finger waggles, the myriad Man [non-Han] cannot hold their ground. When he rebukes, all are discomfited. His hair bristles and his beard shakes. He roars like a tiger and his eyes widen in anger, nearly splitting. He grinds his teeth as if intending to swallow them.” The most prominent motif of this passage is Geshu Han’s animality, another one of the central motifs of Tang ethnic discourse. Besides the comparison of Geshu Han’s beard to the hairs of a hedgehog and his roar to that of a tiger, the phrase used to convey the bristling of his hair literally describes the bristling of an animal’s hair when threatened. The passage uses literary imagery and stereotypical behaviors and features (such as the exaggerated height and colored eyes) associated with both legendary military heroes and fantastic nonHan peoples. Constructions of non-Han as bestial and martial appear broadly across the entire spectrum of sources. Although these depictions can, as in the case of Wang’s preface, celebrate these qualities and the value of their possessors to the empire, they invariably create a distancing effect for the elite and literate audience. Although the effect here is intended to be positive, and, indeed, overlaps with positive depictions of Han martial figures and animals elsewhere in Tang discourse, there is an ingrained ambivalence about the extent of Geshu Han’s departure from the civil norms of deportment and conduct that reflects the overall ambiguity Tang elites (both Han and sometimes non-Han) felt toward the ethnic Other. Wang, who had in all likelihood met the general, is clearly enamored of him, but this depiction also betrays unease with the raw animal vitality that defied Confucian propriety (li) and threatened to be unleashed in unacceptable fashion. In fact, Geshu Han did have a reputation for brutality. In one battle, Geshu Han pursued on horseback the routed Tibetans and tapped them on the shoulders with his lance. When they looked behind in surprise, he cut their throats and then had his page dismount and cut their heads off.14 Yet, such behavior was constructed as natural for non-Han groups recognized as martial, such as the Türks (and, indeed, was central to the military role that allowed them to be accepted in the empire), and thus was not seen as the pathology or moral failing it might be if associated with a Han or a sinicized non-Han. Partial exceptions to this rule were semi-legendary Han figures such as Guan Yu and Zhang Fei (both active in the late second and early third centuries and heroes of the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms), who became the prototypical fearsome martial figures in Chinese history and myth and whose violence was condoned due to the justice of their cause, the restoration of the Han dynasty. Similarly,

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violence by non-Han was condoned and even celebrated if it coincided with a display of loyalty. Though the preface makes no specific reference to Geshu Han’s ethnicity, much less referring to him with an ethnically charged term such as hu or fan, the description of his heavy beard and of his eyes as “purple crystals,” whether accurate or not, would have indicated to a Tang reader that he was, at least physically, not Han. More significant, however, is the fact that while Geshu Han had spectacular military skills that were used in a legitimate cause, his lack of balancing civil virtues did not permit his full cultural integration into Han society, an integration that Geshu Han himself was not particularly eager to pursue. His position within Tang society was predicated on the one hand on his tribal and personal connections with non-Han and his reputation as a charismatic warrior, which allowed him authoritatively to command non-Han troops, and on the other hand on his ability to move within Tang officialdom and the court. All of these qualifications were intimately connected to his aristocratic descent from Turkic Tiele chieftains and his melding of cultural behaviors from the leadership traditions of China and Inner Asia. In other words, his status, like that of many non-Han within the empire and particularly those individuals who came to the attention of Tang writers, required him to mediate between different ethnic groups, drawing on a distinctive non-Han ethnic identity with cultural and social characteristics that were open to interpretation and manipulation. Wang’s preface thus highlights the centrality to Tang ethnic discourse of the value of ambiguity, configuring Geshu Han as an exotic figure who inspires both awe and anxiety. The ethnocultural worldview of Wang, Gao, and other members of the Tang literate elite, the creators of most of the discourse under examination, recognized the need for a certain degree of martial skill, and many of their number—unlike the aristocratic elites of the Southern Dynasties, who were Chinese cultural chauvinists—participated in military affairs. However, they did not celebrate sheer physical strength, personal charisma, bravado bordering on madness, and other qualities required to be an effective field officer. Rather, these cultural traits were often uneasily assigned to individuals such as the fanjiang, who were ethnically coded as non-Han through the use of flexible and often ambiguous stereotypes, such as bestiality and martiality. In one respect the ambiguity of these stereotypes naturally resulted from the position of the fanjiang and other non-Han as specialists in mediating interethnic interactions, often referred to in the scholarly literature as ethnic brokers or middlemen. In the Tang, matching a pattern seen around the world, middlemen such as the fanjiang were marked by various traits of biculturalism and uncertain ethnicity, such as bilingualism and ethnic intermarriage. This, combined with the general phe-

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nomena that cross-cultural actors are incapable of representing the totality of their own societies and that their interests are ultimately served by preventing open interaction between the ethnic groups they serve, inevitably resulted in Han stereotyping and misunderstanding of the fanjiang and other prominent non-Han middlemen, most notably merchants.15 Perhaps an even more important factor in the disparate uses to which motifs such as bestiality were put was the ambiguous position of nonHan persons relative to the Tang state and society. While non-Chinese culture may have been despised, non-Han persons themselves could not simply be overlooked. Whether posing a threat to the political order through rebellion or invasion, contributing to the military and economic security of the empire, or providing expertise in areas in which they were the recognized masters, the non-Han Others were significant as both a positive and negative force in society. Therefore, images of non-Han were often assigned both positive and negative values, depending on the particular context. This ambiguity has been overlooked by previous scholars, who have largely adhered to the formulation that non-Han who were constructed as ethnic Others, as “barbarians,” were perceived as inherently dangerous, while non-Han who were established discursively as acculturated to Chinese norms (as established by Han literate elites) were universally viewed in a positive light. In fact, both types of non-Han could assume both positive and negative roles, while those of the first type were seen as potentially disruptive but also essential to the proper functioning of the empire in performing the roles referred to above. Tension between ethnicity and culture pervaded Tang-era discourse on ethnic identity. Culture and ethnicity, in general, are mutually determining and are not entirely distinct, whether considered in terms of social phenomena or in terms of identity. However, there was a general consensus in Tang elite sources that culture could be distinguished from the other primary criteria for categorizing people according to ethnicity, namely, ancestry, kinship, and geographical origins. I strongly differ here from the so-called primordialist position of some social scientists, which views ethnicity as virtually identical to culture. However, I also do not accept, at least in the Tang case, the validity of strong so-called circumstantialist arguments favoring an understanding of ethnicity as infinitely malleable and only contingently related to ethnicity-designating cultural traits, termed “ethnic markers” in social science literature.16 One of the strongest manifestations of the tension between ethnicity and culture in the Tang occurred in the form and usage of ethnic stereotypes (see Chapter 2), which centered on the themes of trustworthiness and savagery. Although the purveyors of these stereotypes based them

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on a set of themes and topoi that had existed for centuries, altering their form and content to suit the particular situation, an implicit trend is evident in the usage of these stereotypes, particularly when viewed in conjunction with explicit discussions of ethnicity in sources like the late Tang essays I discuss in the Conclusion. In a chronology complementing the shifting trends in themes in ethnic discourse outlined above, early and mid-Tang stereotypes (corresponding to the first two periods of the earlier scheme) tended to be deductive with the formula “people of X ethnicity are characterized by Y behavior.” In contrast, later Tang stereotypes were increasingly inductive, predicated on the assumption that “people who are characterized by Y behavior are of X ethnicity.” In the first stage, ethnicity determined culture. That is, ethnic identity was viewed as something primordial and easily recognizable according to a set of seemingly objective criteria, such as geographic origin and ancestry, explaining in part the relatively prominent role of genealogy and the physical body in constructing ethnic identity. This ethnic identity, in turn, determined behavior in a predictable fashion. In the second stage, behavior—including the cultural and political expressions that became significant and were perceived as more malleable and even subjectively determined in some cases—determined ethnic identity. Thus, ethnic identity itself became more malleable and less reliable as a predictor of behavior. This development reflected three larger societal and political trends. First, non-Han who had partially assimilated to elite Chinese culture but had maintained their distinct ethnic identities were increasingly able to manipulate the accepted terms of ethnic discourse, either directly or through proxies, in order to achieve social status and political power to match their strengths in the military and economic fields.17 Second, as the model of imperial centralization operative during the Tang’s first century broke down and rival regional centers of power emerged, ethnic identity per se and its associated cultural and social behaviors became much less significant relative to such pragmatic concerns as military power and political loyalty. Third, prestigious ancestry increasingly lost out to demonstrated literary, administrative, or military skills as a path to power and status. This last change is often referenced in the scholarly literature as part of the transition from the aristocratic society of the Northern and Southern Dynasties, Sui, and early Tang to the meritocratic or scholar-official society of the Song.18 To a certain extent, the tension between ethnicity and culture was a natural one, common to all ethnically heterogeneous societies. Ethnic identity is, to a great degree, a self-conscious reconstruction of an often unmarked and unarticulated cultural identity, which, in turn, is based on a taken-for-granted understanding of society and the self.19 Further-

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more, cultural traits can, in the proper context, serve as powerful indicia (external markers) or even criteria (generally accepted sine qua nons) of ethnic differences. The culturally Chinese inhabitants of the Tang encountered culturally distinctive and ethnically non-Han peoples from all parts of Asia, both on the empire’s political and geographic frontiers and in its urban centers. Their response was to construct a fundamental ethnic and cultural dichotomy between Han/Chinese (hua, xia, zhonghua) and non-Han/non-Chinese (hu, fan, yi, man, and so forth), a step both fundamental to and symptomatic of the formation of Han ethnic identity. This discursive construction and its accompanying Han ethnogenesis had a long history prior to the Tang. The first significant formulation contrasting Chinese and nonChinese culture appeared in a fifth-century B.C.E. Confucian text, but the first major Sinitic work that constructed both cultural and ethnic Selves and Others at length, in this case by contrasting Daoism and Buddhism, was the anti-Buddhist polemic “Treatise on aliens and Han” (Yixia lun), written in 467.20 The case of Geshu Han also shows some of the manifestations of the tension between the “permanent” dimensions of ethnic identity, one’s geographic and ancestral origins and one’s physical characteristics, and the cultural and political dimensions, which inherently offered the possibility of change. In the Tang, this tension was particularly acute for a number of reasons. First, there was the potentially embarrassing contradiction between the manufactured and actual realities behind the origins and practices of the Tang dynasty and its founding elites. On the one hand, the foundational myths and the imperial identity of the Tang dynasty were predicated on a manufactured Han genealogy of the royal Li clan,21 the installation of the autochthonous Chinese religion of Daoism as the official state religion (with the original Daoist sage Laozi as a putative imperial ancestor), and frequent comparisons between the Tang and the Han dynasty, viewed as the golden age of Chinese culture and ethnic Han political power. On the other hand, the actual ancestry, cultural practices, and geographic focus of many Tang elites and the imperial family were, at least up through the mid-eighth century, strongly oriented toward Inner Asia and “barbarized” northern China.22 Second, the reunification of China under the Sui only three decades before the Tang’s founding had merely begun the reformulation of a sense of cultural and ethnic unity among Han elites, not to mention the general Han populace, that had been severely attenuated during the centuries of division between north and south and the concomitant formation of strong regional identities and cultures.23 These regional identities were never totally effaced and could be drawn upon by metropolitan elites to explain regional dissension and decentralization,

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such as the long period after the An Lushan rebellion when Northeast China remained stubbornly beyond the court’s control. Third, the existence of extensive and permeable frontier regions along the political borders and in interior zones created by geography and migration, where social organizations, culture, and ancestral claims challenged Chinese cultural norms put forward by imperial elites, led to a great degree of cross-cultural contact and the intermingling of ethnically heterogeneous populations. Fourth, the heterogeneity of the paths of social assimilation and advancement, with some non-Han creating fictional ancestries mimicking those of Han elites prior to their adoption of Chinese culture and others doing the reverse, created an extremely muddled picture of the relationship between asserted and ascribed identities.

Sources This book draws upon a wide range of written materials from the Tang corpus, all exhibiting the varying biases of the authors (and later compilers, in the case of many histories, encyclopedias, and literary collections) and the limits imposed by the stylistic and thematic conventions of various genres. Thus, for example, descriptions of non-Han customs are handled fairly cursorily but dispassionately in dynastic histories like the Old Tang dynasty history (Jiu Tang shu) and statecraft-oriented compendia, such as the Important documents of the Tang (Tang hui yao), but were often expanded in other genres, such as Buddhist travelogues like the Great Tang record of the Western Regions (Da Tang Xiyu ji) or collecteana of interesting things, the Miscellany of the Youyang mountains (Youyang zazu) being a prime case. To simplify, the historical and statecraft works were heavily indebted for their style and content to canonical Chinese works of history and thought from earlier dynasties, rendering them often anachronistic and stereotypical but revealing perhaps most clearly the mental framework that shaped Han elites’ construction of non-Han ethnic identities and boundaries in a variety of official and nonofficial contexts. This framework was often muted in the writings of elites who had experience of the frontier or other multi-ethnic regions through family background or official service and displayed a more nuanced understanding of ethnic difference, but the basic constructs were never fully effaced. Buddhist travelogues and other Buddhist writings were also often written from an elite and sometimes imperial perspective—Buddhism being a Tang state-sponsored religion that relished its role as civilizer of Central Asian and South China non-Han indigenes as much as its rivals, Daoism and Confucianism—privileging the civilized center over the

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barbarian periphery. But, unlike most secular and Daoist writings, which were firmly Sinocentric, Buddhist discourse allowed for the existence of other civilized centers, most notably India but also other Buddhist centers in Central, South, and East Asia (see Chapter 3). Moreover, Buddhist writers were comparatively less burdened by the weight of the Chinese canon in describing culture and ethnicity, as they often eschewed the literary models of their secular counterparts. Writers of collections of miscellany were similarly less constrained in their content and literary tropes by the Confucian historical and philosophical canonical models, and were instead highly influenced by earlier collections such as the Western Han Classic of mountains and seas (Shanhai jing) and the early fourth-century In search of the supernatural (Sou shen ji). These influences imparted an implicitly Sinocentric viewpoint and a fascination with the exotic for its own sake, which allowed writers in these genres to transcend to some extent the limited scope of most other genres when describing cultural practices, even practices that blurred ethnic boundaries. Moreover, although the elite literati authors unavoidably filtered the information through a linguistically Sinitic and culturally Chinese lens, their quest for material often led them to draw on oral and vernacular sources, including many with nonHan and foreign cultural, geographical, and linguistic origins, allowing us some of our best glimpses of the rich multicultural and multi-ethnic mélange that characterized Tang popular culture. Although they constituted a quite limited segment of Tang society, literate elites (almost all of whom would have self-identified as Han, based on the definitions of ethnicity utilized in this book) composed most of the extant texts, which extend over a wide range of literary forms and a corresponding variety of audiences. Some of the literary texts, such as prose narratives and poetry, had a broad circulation. Prose narratives were sometimes based on popular oral literature and may have had a wide circulation, judging by the variety of texts, including multiple versions of the same story, found in manuscript form in Dunhuang in northwestern China.24 Works of poetry were often put to music and sung as the popular music of the day. In addition, the language and themes of the genres cited above often evoked earlier works, some of which, like the Confucian classics and the History of the Han Dynasty, were widely circulated in both written and oral forms and were thus familiar to the illiterate masses. Therefore, while our sources were produced by a small group of social and cultural elites, their content, as it related to ethnic identity, both reflected and had a great influence on the worldviews of the broad range of Tang inhabitants, both Han and non-Han. In addition to questions of genre, authorship, and audience, this book

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analyzes a topic, ethnic identity, that was not inherently restricted in contemporary discourse to particular written or other forms of expression but, indeed, appears in virtually all types of sources. Selecting material and literary evidence from as wide a variety of genres as possible runs the risk of homogenizing very different types of historical evidence, in particular, confusing the general for the specific and vice versa. I have thus tried to assess texts differently depending on whether the conventions of their genre and the circumstances of their authorship support a discursive interpretation, as opposed to understanding them as hewing closer to descriptions of a specific historical reality for which there is contemporary corroborating evidence. Two issues are most pertinent, those of dating and reported speech. I have used as many sources dating from the Tang itself as possible and have indicated the dates of these sources and their core materials in the bibliography and elsewhere where appropriate. However, any historian of the Tang unavoidably relies on texts compiled after the Tang that draw on a range of original documents with varying authorships, institutional influences, and dating.25 Nonetheless, these works draw on many materials contemporary or nearly contemporary to the events themselves, and are thus fairly reliable. For example, biographies in the Old Tang history and New Tang history (Xin Tang shu) were usually based on government personnel reports, original drafts of memorials, and biographical accounts written immediately after the individual’s death. Reported speech poses a more difficult issue. Undoubtedly much recorded speech is more representative of the recorder than the alleged speaker, although some reported conversations, such as those at court, would have been recorded at the time they took place and thus their appearance in the written sources may reflect the actual words spoken. Most recorded speech is in literary Sinitic, filtering out the vernacular that would have been used if such a conversation did take place. Some conversations, such as between fanjiang, may not even have been in Sinitic. Furthermore, there was a process of progressive classicization of attributed speech in the later written sources evident in different texts’ accounts of the same event. When the New Tang history’s compilers quote direct speech, one can readily observe that, compared to the speech’s version in the earlier Old Tang history, they have removed particles denoting emphasis in the spoken language and have sculpted phrases of irregular length and diction into the rhythmically and syntactically parallel constructions typical of literary Sinitic. Nevertheless, the written word and the classical lexicon were pervasive and privileged in Tang elite society. Therefore, recorded speech in literary Sinitic was likely to be more reflective of the way in which actual con-

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versation was received and interpreted by the elite creators and consumers of ethnic discourse than the modern reader would assume. At any rate, I attempt to use recorded speech with caution, focusing on what it reveals about the overall discursive trends rather than particular events and personalities.

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Chapter 1

Ethnicity in the Chinese Context

Historians and social scientists have largely defined ethnicity in terms of the relationships between majority groups, minority groups, and the political center within the context of the modern nation-state, explicitly tying it to presentist questions of modernity, imperialism, capitalism, racism, and democracy. However, historians have also used ethnicity with increasing frequency to interpret premodern phenomena.1 This approach has validity, for while “ethnicity” has existed as an analytical concept only since the middle of the twentieth century, numerous universal structures, such as kinship, community, and homeland, as well as historically specific terms (e.g., Greek ethnos, Latin gens, and English race) fall within its range. Some historians have rigorously defined ethnic phenomena in specific historical contexts,2 and others have convincingly demonstrated through case studies the emergence of ethnic identity in premodern societies, including prior to colonial conquest.3 Anthony Smith succinctly presents the promise of studying ethnicity in the premodern period: “Along with polities, religious organizations and class, ethnicity provides one of the central axes of alignment and division in the pre-modern world, and one of the most durable.”4 However, there are extreme difficulties involved in gauging the extent of ethnic consciousness and the degree to which attested myths and cultures penetrated down the social scale and were shared by both the “Great Tradition” of the urbanized upper classes and the “Little Tradition” of the mainly rural lower classes.5 This is particularly true in premodern China, where the study of ethnic differences inside the geographical and political boundaries of China did not fit into any of the standard traditional historiographic categories and was thus not the subject of a sustained and cohesive discourse at elite, much less popular, levels. As this book presents some of the ways in which ethnicity was constructed during the Tang dynasty, it unavoidably confronts other scholarship on ethnicity, particularly ethnicity in Chinese history. In recent years there has been a debate among historians of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) as to whether or not using ethnicity to discuss premodern

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China is anachronistic.6 I agree with Mark Elliott and others who maintain that thinking about the Manchus and other groups in premodern China in terms of ethnicity—if done properly to avoid distorting historical reality—is the most efficient way to understand the coherence of particular groupings of peoples across a wide range of social, cultural, economic, and political behaviors. Scholarship on premodern China presents an apparent paradox. On the one hand, it has collated masses of detailed information on peoples variously described as “foreigners,” “outsiders,” “minority nationalities,” “barbarians,” “non-Han,” “non-Chinese,” or referred to by a multitude of ethnonyms. These works and the original sources they draw on use a rich descriptive vocabulary and present a variety of ostensibly ethnic phenomena. Yet, until very recently this impressive superstructure has rested on an extremely narrow base of politicized or outmoded theories, unspoken or unproven assumptions, and a penchant for compartmentalizing or simplifying the role of ethnicity in Chinese history. Recent works that take a sophisticated approach to the role of ethnicity in Chinese history mainly look at the Qing and later periods, mostly neglecting the Tang and the periods immediately before and after it. To understand how Tang contemporaries understood boundaries and identities that can be thought of as ethnic requires, above all, wide-ranging readings in the primary sources with a particular attention to the terms used by the mostly elite authors and their contemporaries. The Tang sources contain a plethora of terms relating to ethnicity but also an overarching (though not universal) dichotomy between two semantic categories that I shall, for the moment, designate using the two most representative, and likely most common, terms: hua and fan. Other scholars have usually translated hua as “Chinese,” whether referring to a linguistic, cultural, ethnic, or political entity. This book will use “Han” to denote the ethnic group referred to in Tang and earlier sources as hua, xia, huaxia, or han. Even though the term han was then not the dominant term used in Sinitic sources to denote the ethnic Self, its use is appropriate both because Han has come today to assume a strongly ethnic content and also because this allows us to reserve “Chinese” to denote cultural and political identity and practice and “China” as a geographic term. Tang writers only occasionally used han—after the Han dynasty—to denote ethnic identity among other usages (it could also be used pejoratively), preferring the older terms hua and xia, hallowed by usage, and they almost as frequently used the term qin, after the Qin dynasty, which had first unified China. Writers after the Tang dynasty used the term tang in similar ways, and tangren jie, literally “street of the Tang people,” is a common term denoting Chinatowns across the globe today. The term tangren appears in the Tang sources, but in a po-

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litical sense, denoting individuals who were loyal subjects of the dynasty. Following Victor Mair and other recent scholars, I use “Sinitic” to designate the common language (usually referred to in the Tang sources as “the hua language”). Fan and related terms present different problems. Translations such as “foreigner” and “alien,” though possessing an air of scholarly neutrality, are inappropriate as a general translation because they primarily connote geographic and political outsiderness, implying that individuals and groups so designated were external to the Tang Empire and ineligible to become subjects of the empire. This was frequently not the case with many uses of fan and related terms—most common among them were hu (often used in the Tang to denote Central Asians)7 and four ethnonyms of great antiquity that, by the Tang, were mostly used generically with implicit geographic connotations: yi (east), man (south), rong (west), and di (north)—that largely connoted cultural and ethnic otherness but did not exclude the designated persons or groups from membership in the empire. Although the term barbarian has undergone many transformations from its Greek origins to its current English usage, not all of which are relevant to the Tang (such as its use in medieval Europe to denote religious difference, marking non-Christians of various ethnic, geographic, and political affiliations), its consistent association with inferiority, lack of civilization, and externality in the broadest sense often make it the most appropriate choice, including some cases when it is placed in the mouths of non-Han referring to themselves or others.8 However, its pejorative connotations make it inappropriate as a general translation. Thus, I have chosen not to translate these terms when they designate particular groups, individuals, or phenomena and do not refer to a specific ethnic group, language, geographic place, or cultural complex. When these terms are clearly used in opposition to hua and similar terms, I have chosen to translate them as “non-Han” or “non-Chinese,” depending on context.9 The Tang Sinitic sources, when denoting non-Han persons or groups, often use archaisms freighted with historical associations that give Tang discourse on ethnicity particular depth by linking it to the discourse of earlier periods. One such term, Jie, demonstrates the full range of evolution of an ethnonym. It is used with increasing frequency from the middle of the Tang, particularly to denote the non-Han rebel general An Lushan and his followers. The earliest use of Jie in Sinitic is in reference to an Indo-European people descended from the Rouzhi (often associated with the Tocharians of classical Western sources and frequently transcribed as Yuezhi) who lived in western China beginning in the second half of the first millennium B.C.E.10 Shi Le, the founder of the Later Zhao dynasty in the early fourth century C.E., is said to have been a Jie.

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However, Shi Le, the best-known Jie in the Sinitic sources, himself seems not to have had typical Jie features (high nose and full beard) or been able to understand the Jie language, so he was, at best, a deracinated Jie.11 Jie thus seems to have been used in that period in a manner similar to that of the term Rus’ in Slavic sources, namely, it designated freebooters of mixed ethnic origins who were ethnic Others from the perspective of the sedentary culture that produced the sources. The Rus’ were of Scandinavian, Inner Asian, and Eastern European ancestry and active in the area from the Baltic to the Black Sea in the late Middle Ages.12 In both the Jie and Rus’ cases, terms that were originally catchall descriptors for alien invaders took on specific ethnic connotations as heterogeneous groups coalesced into conquering elites—Shi Le for the Jie, the founders of the Kievan state for the Rus’—who used ethnic stratification to justify the legitimacy of their rule. By the Tang, Jie had evolved further to become a common archaism used to refer in a derogatory manner to non-Han, usually of IndoEuropean descent and Sogdian in particular. There was no longer any coherent ethnic grouping that could even remotely be designated Jie. Jie and Hu are the most common epithets used in the Tang sources to describe the ethnic identity of An Lushan and his followers, particularly following the outbreak of his rebellion and in the later accounts as historians took an increasingly jaundiced view of the traitors. This fits a larger pattern of using anachronistic terminology in highly polemical rhetoric on non-Han strongly reminiscent of the use of the term “Hun” in anti-German propaganda during World War I. A final problem is posed by the production of the Sinitic sources over a period of centuries; many of the key sources were either written, compiled, or both after the end of the Tang. Thus, in addition to the overall problem of using sources written in a language, classical Sinitic, that was quite different from the various forms of vernacular Sinitic of the period, we also have to face evolutions in the style and form of classical Sinitic. In particular, there is a greater homogenization and literatization along neoclassical lines of ethnonyms and other key terms denoting ethnic and cultural differences, such as the replacement of hu by fan and yi, in the relatively later Song-produced sources. Notable differences are visible when comparing the New Tang history (Xin Tang shu) and the Comprehensive mirror for aid in government (Zizhi tongjian) with the earlier Old Tang history. The language of the last appears to hew more closely to the original Tang accounts and documents on which it was based and is quoted here when multiple versions are available.13 This book examines ethnic identity from a mainly anthropological perspective, which stresses the role of various motifs—culture, genealogy,

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the body, and politics—in the establishment and maintenance of ethnic boundaries that are assumed to be constantly shifting. This perspective takes ethnic identities and taxonomies as forms of discourse engaged in a constitutive dialogue with material conditions and social phenomena, rather than as reflections of an objective, let alone timeless, reality.14 This approach is sensitive to the constructed nature of ethnicity and thus attentive to the role of the state, elites, and other actors in creating and perpetuating ethnic boundaries and identities. Similarly, it questions the essentializing models of Chineseness, which most previous historians of China used as an often-implicit central pillar in their analyses of ethnic identity.15 This book also challenges the assumption in many works that cultural and ethnic differences are equivalent. David Wu cites the example of the Bai in the 1980s, who believed themselves to be different linguistically and cultural from the Han but could not offer any convincing explanations or examples of such differences.16 More generally, Melissa Brown has distinguished two approaches to cultural and ethnic change: one school sees becoming Chinese as a change in culture, while another sees it as a change in (ethnic) identity. She concludes: “Identity does not change with the first cultural changes, and sometimes it does not change even with many cultural changes. . . . While identity change does not happen with direct correspondence to cultural change, neither is it completely independent of cultural change.”17 This approach is valid for the premodern period as well, thus the importance of distinguishing between culture and ethnicity through the use of different terms—Chinese and Han—and differentiating cultural change, generally referred to as acculturation, from ethnic change, designated as assimilation. It is also necessary occasionally to call into doubt the boundedness of China itself. The Tang example of the eastern Sichuanese and the modernday example of groups like the Hakka, all considered less than fully Han but not quite non-Han,18 demonstrate the existence of subethnic groups and break down the Han/non-Han dichotomy on the Han side (as Vajrabodhi’s example broke it down on the non-Han side), showing how ethnic identities and differences exist along a continuum. Stevan Harrell proposes the term peripheral peoples to refer to all peoples, regardless of ethnic distinctions—though certainly not independent of ethnic distinctions—who are viewed by the “civilized center” as inferior and in need of change.19 Tang elites and the Tang state certainly viewed some populations, such as the inhabitants of large parts of southern China, as ethnically Han (through ancestry and geography) and as peripheral due to their acculturation to nearby non-Han peoples in frontier regions or simply because of their cultural distance from elite-defined Chinese culture. In Tang China, however, as elsewhere,

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there was ultimately no single baseline to define either Chineseness or Hanness, although elite discourse frequently assumed a baseline of metropolitan culture in the case of the former, and actual or claimed common descent for the latter. The nature of the geographic notion of China and the cultural and social idea of Chineseness as expressions and determinants of Han ethnicity and as constructs framing the parameters of Chinese studies is a key concern. One can define Chineseness either in terms of its boundaries where it comes into contact, and often into conflict, with nonChineseness, or in terms of its “core” structures and traits, what Fredrik Barth and others describe as the cultural “stuff.” Most scholars who have focused on defining China and Chineseness have described only a few “core” cultural traits, essentializing them while not dealing with their boundaries at a particular historical moment. While admitting to some changes over time, most scholars agree that the major symbols of Chinese cultural unity (language, the cyclical dynastic state, Confucian rhetoric and institutions) were in place by the beginning of the imperial period (the establishment of the unified Chinese empire by the Qin in 221 B.C.E.), at which point external influences (such as Buddhism) adapted to Chinese culture rather than changing it in any substantial way.20 While there is a fundamental unity to some cultural “stuff” that lay well within the often-fluctuating boundaries of Chineseness, other elements fluctuated and could emerge as important ethnic markers. The normative “Chinese” treatment of women, for example, changed quite significantly over time, and the institution of foot binding evolved from an elite innovation in the Song to a key marker of Han (versus Manchu) identity in the Qing.21 Moreover, scholars often conflate cultural and ethnic identity and fail to show how cultural and noncultural criteria relate to the construction of Han ethnic identity.22 Scholars of Chinese history have previously addressed the question of ethnogenesis, the formation of ethnic groups, including that of the Han. More traditional historians have relied on texts of dubious authenticity, buttressed by the spectacular archaeological finds of the early twentieth century, to arrive at a culturalist and somewhat circular explanation: the Han emerged in the period when the traditional location of the cradle of Chinese civilization, the North China plain, began exhibiting cultural features that were stereotypically Chinese, such as written texts, rammed earth walls, and ancestral worship. Marxist historians, mostly from the People’s Republic of China, have come to similar conclusions based on the same evidence, though they frame their description in terms of protonationalities and early stages of social development. They also describe the early Han (referred to by them as the Huaxia) as the product of cultural melding, thus making them the

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logical precursor of the current multi-ethnic PRC.23 However, they fail to account for the extent to which ethnic identity is contested and reformulated through discourse and social interaction. Some recent historians, influenced by anthropology and sociology, have developed a more nuanced view of ethnogenesis and ethnic identity. The Taiwanese scholar Cheng Chien-wen views the emergence of Han self-identity in the pre-imperial and early imperial period as a contingent process dependent on the awareness of the ethnic Other. He traces this development to a combination of traditional Chinese geographic thought that equated distance with difference, growing political and military conflict between the Western Zhou and groups identified as ethnic Others from around the middle of the first millennium B.C.E. on, and emerging social and economic distinctions between the sedentary agricultural Han and the rapidly nomadizing and pastoralizing non-Han on the Inner Asian steppe.24 Most recent scholarship on ethnicity deals with the ethnogenesis of non-Han groups in the late imperial and modern periods, such as the Manchus, has been more cognizant of the changing boundaries and “stuff” of cultural and ethnic identity, and has appropriately focused on the state as a major actor in the emergence of new ethnic identities and the redefining of ethnic boundaries and markers.25 Emily Honig and others show that place of origin is one of the foundations of Han ethnic identity—an argument that the Tang sources largely bear out—and that it has served as the primary basis of identification for subethnic Han groups.26 These subethnic groups in the Tang consisted not only of Han migrant groups but also of local Han, such as the inhabitants of central and eastern Sichuan (referred to by Tang literati as “people of Shu and Ba,” using ethnonyms dating back to the first millennium B.C.E.), who were in the process of acculturating to metropolitan Chinese norms but retained distinctive regional characteristics, often associated with the original non-Han inhabitants (to whom they no doubt had some ancestral links). Some scholars have proposed that distinctive regional cultures emerged from initial ethnic differences and persisted due to interethnic contact and assimilation of minority ethnic groups.27 All this points to the necessity to consider noncultural factors, as well as gradations in Chinese culture itself, when examining the discursive construction of the non-Han Other and the Han Self. A common feature of definitions of ethnicity is the presumption of the existence among a group of people (the ethnic group) of shared traits, possibly including cultural behavior and physical appearance (ethnic markers), a putative common descent, and a mechanism for the perpetuation of group consciousness and cohesion. Following Irad Malkin, I distinguish between two types of ethnic markers, ethnic criteria (the irre-

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ducible markers of ethnic identity) and ethnic indicia (markers that suggest particular ethnic identities without definitively linking all possessors of the ethnic marker with that ethnic identity).28 While markers can fluctuate according to a variety of factors between serving as criteria, serving as indicia, and being irrelevant to ethnicity, in Tang China certain markers, such as ancestry, tended to function as criteria, and others, such as appearance and occupation, served as indicia. As I argue in the Conclusion, in the late Tang, political loyalty, normally one of a number of weak indicia, was transformed by Tang literati into the most important criterion of an identity that fused ethnic and cultural notions of Self and was the precursor for Han protonationalism of subsequent periods of Chinese history. Some scholars see the fusion of the mass of ethnic markers as constituting ethnicity per se,29 but for most social scientists ethnicity exists only within the framework of specific social behaviors and thus lacks an independent existence. It may be a Durkheimian “social fact,” but it is only relevant insofar as “actual social behavior is guided by the principle of ethnicity.”30 For those who question whether or not ethnicity is a legitimate object of study for the Tang dynasty, or, indeed, for any period of premodern Chinese history, the surviving sources make clear that Tang elites and commoners alike regularly asserted ethnic group identities (for themselves and others) based on the full range of ethnic markers and within a variety of specific social contexts. Although the terms employed often differed and were not used consistently, they reveal the existence of phenomena and discourse that can most accurately and efficiently be described as ethnic. A significant number of scholars have further defined ethnicity as an ideology used by elites to promote class interests.31 To a great extent, the project of constructing ethnicity did indeed further the interests of the Tang elites who were the primary authors of ethnic discourse by highlighting or obscuring ethnic differences and tensions when it suited their political and social goals. However, the elites were far from a homogenous group, and, indeed, on the topic of ethnic and related cultural differences, they were often deeply divided. Discussions of ethnic identity, focused as they usually were on the ethnic Other, the “barbarian” non-Han, often implicitly created a Han identity of the Self, which could help unify Tang elites as a whole in the face of external threats but in actuality often created its own tensions within the culturally and ethnically diverse group. Much ethnic theory has focused on the consciousness held by the members of a particular group of their own commonality and the differences between them and members of out-groups. This ethnic consciousness is based on narratives embodying putatively shared experiences,

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which may or may not reflect historical facts and contemporary reality.32 In the Han case, the notion of common descent from mythical culture heroes, particular Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, played a crucial role in the Tang and earlier periods, as did a belief in a shared Chinese cultural and political heritage traced back through the pre-imperial state of Zhou and its key philosophers (Confucius, Mencius, and so forth) and political exemplars (the Duke of Wen among others) to the earlier Shang and Xia dynasties. The earliest Self-Other dichotomy in the Sinitic sources also seems to have emerged in the Zhou, that between Hua and Yi (the autochthonous inhabitants of eastern China in the second and first millennia B.C.E.). The particular ethnic markers or other features that figure in ethnic consciousness vary over time and from place to place, yet the consciousness itself must be present to some degree in order for ethnicity to become manifest. Following on these points, we can define ethnicity as a classification that can potentially draw on social, cultural, political, or economic characteristics of the individual or group, but that is rooted in the belief in shared kinship and descent among the members of the ethnic group. The discursive construction of ethnic identity in the Tang differs only in that, given the limitation of our sources, non-Han identity is more regularly ascribed by Han elites than asserted by the putatively ethnically non-Han groups and individuals themselves.33 Ethnicity is distinct from class in that the former is not predicated on economic status, though there are many Tang examples of class status ascribed on the basis of ethnicity, such as the near universal assumption that all dark-skinned peoples from Southeast Asia living in the Tang, the so-called Kunlun slaves, were, by definition, members of the servile class. In the Tang, racial labels or the concept of distinct racial groups did not exist as such, but physical attributes could be a significant marker of ethnic identity or at least play an important role within the ethnicized discourse of jokes and insults.34 Thus, I follow the weight of contemporary ethnic scholarship in treating race (whether defined according to skin color, hair type, stature, or other physical characteristics or whether internally conceived or externally imposed) as one among many possible ethnic markers that should not be given any a priori salience but rather be examined within its particular context. According to recent theories, ethnicity is situational, subject to manipulation, and often not clearly distinguishable from other kinds of associations and identities, such as class, religion, and regional affiliations. This approach challenges older assumptions, held by many earlier historians of the Tang, that ethnicity is deeply rooted and, at some level, beyond manipulation.35 Ethnicity depends on many factors—ecological, economic, political, and social—and can settle on virtually anything as

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an ethnic marker. Indeed, ethnic identities and boundaries in the Tang shifted in emphasis from one type of ethnic marker to another as a result of changing social and political circumstances. Although the Tang sources reveal much more about attributions of identity to others than they do about self-assertions of identity, they nevertheless betray shifting attitudes about the nature of ethnic difference that reflect the boundaries of the mostly Han authors’ own identities. However, this discourse, while shifting and ambiguous, is not arbitrary. Basic themes and “ideologies in reserve” reappear time and again in the Tang and were the building blocks of the discursive construction of the non-Han Other and Han Self. While the relationship of ethnicity to history is entirely subjective, the task of the historian is not only to search for the objective history of ethnic groups but also to tease out the ways in which subjective myths are used in specific historic contexts and serve as engines for ethnic phenomena. Ethnicity mattered in the Tang and greatly influenced Tang discourse because of the high degree of intercultural contact that characterized Tang society. Pamela Crossley, in the context of late imperial China, proposes the term ethnicization to refer to the alienating process between peoples—stemming from intercultural contact—that results in the salience of ethnicity in social action.36 This process appears to have taken place regularly in the Tang and played a significant role in the overall chronology of ethnic motifs outlined previously. Intercultural contact can occur through direct contact between groups or indirectly via the mediation of communities that specialize in intercultural communication, such as merchant colonies or religious clerics.37 There are many Tang examples, including Sogdian merchants and Korean Buddhist monks. Direct contact, either through migration or through long periods of close contact between peoples along a frontier zone (especially under conditions of chronic military conflict or rapid socioeconomic change), almost invariably led, particularly among migrating peoples, to a heightened sense of ethnic identity.38 These conditions all obtained during the Tang (see Chapter 5 and the Conclusion) and contributed to the ethnicization of Tang Han elites and of non-Han elites subject to the Tang Empire, resulting not only in the revanchist establishment of the Second Türk Empire on the Inner Asian steppe in the late seventh century but also in numerous rebellions by Tang fanjiang, including An Lushan, where ethnic conflict and identity played a role. Most contemporary discussions of ethnicization focus upon the role of centralizing or expanding polities. In particular, the frontiers of these polities, as “zones of transformative interaction between systems,” are especially fertile ground for emergent ethnicities.39 Thus, the frontier nat-

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urally became a focus of ethnicized discourse in the Tang, as already seen in Wang Wei’s preface. Ethnicization on the frontier was, in fact, a component of the process of tribalization, whereby the pressure of expanding polities, such as the Tang Empire, on societies at lower levels of sociopolitical organization, such as the nomadic peoples of Inner Asia and the autochthonous inhabitants of southern China, results in the superimposition of higher levels of organization, namely, tribal, on the lower-level societies. The new tribal structure could serve various purposes: organize trade, mediate conflicts, regularize resource extraction from the tribe to the imperial polity, or coordinate resistance to the central polity.40 The Tang, like many other empires, sought to provide security and implement policies of political, economic, and cultural expansion by deliberately tribalizing frontier non-Han populations through granting titles and other symbols of legitimacy, providing military and economic assistance to designated “chiefs,” and mapping and organizing the space of the frontier into “loose-rein prefectures” (see Chapter 5). One of the key features of ethnic discourse in the Tang is the extent to which it attributes not only negative but also positive qualities to nonHan. The idealization of the ethnic Other takes a variety of forms, as outlined by Mary Helms. Perhaps the most common is the attribution of various sorts of technological mastery and religious expertise to the geographically distant Other. In the Tang, various non-Han peoples specialized in and were the acknowledged masters of a range of skills—including magic, dancing, painting, and assessing the value of precious stones—and inspired admiration and even fear among the Han because of their links to distant homelands, knowledge of esoteric languages, or domination of particular trades associated with numinous or liminal states. Blacksmithing in the premodern world was commonly both valued as an esoteric skill and feared as polluting, and it often became associated with particular ethnic groups. In Inner Asia, the Türks first appear in the sixth-century Sinitic sources as hereditary blacksmiths to the Rouran nomadic confederation, then the dominant power on the steppe, but they were later able to found their own empire and become one of the most important and charismatic imperial clans in the history of the Eurasian steppe. The idealization of outsiders typically depends on having an unfamiliar ethnic Other, as a result either of geographic distance or of social, cultural, or political boundaries. The prominence of such groups is often not proportional to their objective social significance: non-Han objects of wonderment and fear in the Tang—Persian jewelers, Indian mages, “Kunlun slaves” from Southeast Asia, and painters and dancers from the Tarim basin—represented only a fraction

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of the total non-Han population of the Tang and often lived in a small colonies or pursued a peripatetic single existence. In contrast, as George de Vos has observed, the traits of the familiar ethnic Other are romanticized by the Self for the purposes of being assumed, usually in caricatured form, in role-playing that can “symbolically liberate a person in a higher status group from the excessive strictures imposed in assuming an acceptable social role within his own group.”41 In the case of the Tang, Inner Asians, primarily the Türks and other steppe nomads who had migrated into China in large numbers, served as the most prominent familiar Other, and the sources reveal many kinds of role-playing that takes as its object Inner Asian practices. Perhaps most prevalent at all levels of Tang society was the donning of stereotypically Inner Asian clothing as a form of liberation from class and gender strictures.42 On the individual level, the most famous case was that of Crown Prince Chengqian, son and heir of Emperor Taizong, who dressed in nomad clothing, spoke a Turkic language, and even staged a mock funeral in the Türk style. At the popular level there were various carnival-like festivals and rites that had been “barbarized” or taken in toto from steppe practices, such as the rite of “sprinkling the barbarian with water as he begs in the cold” that drew the condemnation of Confucian elites in the eighth century.43 A final type of idealization is the attribution of the highest ideals of one’s own culture to an alien people as a critique of one’s own society. This can take the form of fully realized descriptions of imaginary lands (the utopias of the Western European Renaissance) or the attribution of idealized traits to actual known peoples, such as the ascribing of strict sexual morality to the “barbarian” Germans by the Roman historian Tacitus.44 Tang discourse on these themes was similarly rich. Tang writers created a number of utopian realms—often to the east, the traditional location of fairy realms where humans could become immortal—and also attributed Confucian virtues, such as loyalty and chastity, to a range of alien figures who were either identified outright as non-Han or who were ascribed with stereotypically non-Han ethnic markers. The Tang royal family devoted immense effort to establishing the empire’s, and ultimately the ruling family’s own, Chinese cultural credentials with extensive support from literate elites. They did this principally by funding a massive and unprecedented scholarly apparatus that established an orthodoxy that not only pervaded the imperially sponsored editions of the Confucian classics—the fundamental origin narratives of Chinese culture and Han ethnicity—central to the educational and official examination systems, but also dominated the production of memorials, histories, and other discourse.45 This alone testifies to the

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importance of the empire’s Chineseness to both the dynasty’s and the elites’ legitimacy. Similarly, the royal family sought to bolster its claims to Hanness by supporting the creation of fictive genealogies establishing it as one of the leading Han clans in China (see Chapter 5). Conversely, much of the discourse on non-Han Others served Tang elites as a means to define those boundary mechanisms they perceived as vital in maintaining ethnic Han and culturally Chinese identities. In theory, by claiming the right to define ethnic and cultural boundaries, they legitimized their position within Tang society and asserted their right to guide that society. However, in carrying on this discourse, often in the form of critiques of both Han and non-Han for breaching boundaries, Tang elites unavoidably acknowledged the ambiguity and anxiety of their own position and the limits on defining sharp boundaries in a pluralistic society of which they were a reflection. Barth, the formulator of the classic model of ethnic boundary mechanisms and maintenance, argues that boundary maintenance is effective and polyethnic societies are stable to the degree that complementary cultural differences exist, are standardized, and are stable.46 However, Tang society was marked not only by flows of people across ethnic boundaries through assimilation, intermarriage, and the establishment of pseudo-kinship ties with ethnic outsiders, but also by interethnic cultural transmissions which constantly challenged any fixed association between culture and ethnic identity. Other factors among ethnically Other populations identified by scholars as contributing positively to the salience of ethnic identity and the persistence of ethnic boundaries were present during the Tang in at least some non-Han groups, heightening concerns of the producers of elite discourse that the Chinese and Han character of the Tang was threatened. These factors included: large populations concentrated in particular districts and regions; regions with a high proportion of newcomers; easy access to homelands (in the case of Inner Asian nomadic peoples; conversely, the cutting off of Sogdians from their homeland following the defeat of the Tang by the Islamic Caliphate and its allies at Talas in the mid-eighth century is likely to have contributed to Sogdian assimilation); linguistic, religious, or other cultural distinctiveness; physical distinctiveness; forced migrations; attraction to political and economic developments in the land of origin (such as the emergence of the Second Türk Empire); homogeneity in class and occupation; non-Han low educational level and social mobility; preferential endogamy; the granting of the right to use traditional laws; and the designation of contact agents (interethnic brokers).47 Changes in ethnic boundaries are inevitable, yet for the most part these changes are gradual and take place within the context of a fundamental

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continuity in such things as one’s ethnonym and criteria for membership.48 Paradoxically, ethnonyms applied by outsiders can often be the most resistant to change: although Sinitic ethnonyms (Yi, Di, Rong, Man) that originally described actual ethnic groups and polities in the first millennium B.C.E. were, by the Tang, mainly used rhetorically or to designate generic non-Han, the term Man continued to be used in the Tang to name contemporary groupings.49 There are other types of ethnic change which are more drastic and often more salient in the historical record. Changes in ethnic identity or other facets of ethnicity due to the proximity of other ethnic groups can result in partial or total absorption into the dominant group and a change in the “stuff” internal to one or both of the affected ethnic groups. Most scholars define acculturation as the reduction of cultural differences between ethnic groups or individuals and assimilation as the absorption of one ethnic group or individual into another group.50 Acculturation is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for assimilation. Amado Padilla suggests that cultural awareness, defined as the knowledge of specific ethnic material, and ethnic loyalty, the preference for one cultural orientation over another, are the two main elements of acculturation at the psychological level. These two elements can change along at least five axes: linguistic, ritual and material culture, ethnic pride and identity, interethnic interaction, and interethnic distance (including perceived discrimination).51 All of these factors were in play in the Tang as the authors of our sources wrestled with a society that displayed a wide range of cultural change, ranging from acculturation to Chinese norms in the case of many socially mobile elites of non-Han descent to mutual acculturation among broad swathes of Han and nonHan elite and popular society, particularly in the ethnically heterogeneous capital, to even acculturation to non-Chinese cultural norms among isolated or captive frontier Han populations. This book uses sinicization to refer to acculturation to Chinese culture and hanicization to refer to assimilation to Han ethnicity. Sinicization, in the sense that most scholars use it, denoting both cultural and ethnic change, has become a controversial term, particularly in its role as a central pillar in an increasingly challenged master narrative of Chinese history as a long march of sinicization.52 Yet, many recent scholars have chosen to retain the term sinicization to denote an undisputed phenomenon, that non-Han peoples did disappear over time in certain areas, or, more correctly, that regions that once had people who were identified by themselves and by Han outsiders as non-Han no longer had people asserting these identities. This pattern occurred in eastern China in the pre-Qin period among groups often denoted as Yi, while the Tang period witnessed the middle stage of a long process by which the so-called

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Man living south of the Yangtze acculturated to Chinese culture and gradually took on Han identities, though the distinct languages of southeastern China to this day hint at the long-dissolved ethnic frontier. In many instances, it is impossible to determine the motivation of the sinicizing and hanicizing parties—whether it be a deliberate attempt to become Chinese and/or Han, a utilitarian adoption of superior technology, or an “ethnically blind” process of elite emulation—but this does not invalidate the reality or importance of the sinicizing and hanicizing processes itself.53 Scholars have applied the term barbarization to the adoption by Han of behaviors that were not defined within the Chinese tradition as normative and that had some precedents in Han descriptions of non-Han peoples. I shall generally denote such cultural and ethnic changes as acculturation to non-Chinese culture and assimilation to non-Han ethnicity, respectively. Tang authors themselves identified acculturation of the Han to perceived non-Chinese norms and remarked on them in terms of cultural and even ethnic change, although they did not specifically use the term barbarization (fanhua, huhua). These behaviors identified as markers of ethnic assimilation to non-Han norms in the Tang ranged from the socioeconomic (nomadism) to cultural beliefs (the valorization of military over civil virtues) and practices (clothing, marriage customs, and language). Tang observers and modern scholars both tend to attribute acculturation and assimilation to non-Chinese and non-Han norms to the same causes: close contact with unassimilated non-Han peoples; the breakdown of the centralized Chinese state; distance from the traditional centers of Chinese culture; and general social upheaval weakening the resistance of Chinese culture to outside influences.54 The Tang and its short-lived predecessor, the Sui, were not so-called conquest dynasties—states founded through military conquest by nonHan elites from outside the core Chinese geographic area—yet their founding elites were the direct inheritors and, in many cases, the direct descendants of the ethnically and culturally mixed elites of the first sustained conquest dynasty in Chinese history, the Northern Wei, and its immediate non-Han successors: the Eastern and Western Wei, the Northern Qi, and the Northern Zhou. The three-century-long period preceding the Sui and Tang, referred to as the Northern and Southern Dynasties, was characterized not only by mutual acculturation between Han and non-Han elites in both northern and southern China (though far less acknowledged for the south by contemporaries and later historians), but also by the creation of metropoles in northern and southern China that both claimed legitimacy as the transmitters of Chinese culture. The subsequent Tang period was thus the first time in Chinese imperial history that rival versions of Chineseness, those formed during the

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previous period of division, were discussed—mainly in the context of debates over rituals and rival editions of the Confucian classics—within a unified empire, highlighting the importance of the Tang period for the emergence of the construction of a unified Chinese identity. While class and profession were not unrelated to the rates of sinicization and hanicization among the non-Han population within the Tang Empire, these rates could still vary quite considerably and were determined to a great extent by the strategies of social mobility pursued by non-Han families. Anthropological and sociological theories suggest that the groups most resistant to ethnic change in the Tang may have been neither social elites nor commoners but rather those classes specializing in interethnic mediation—merchants, low-level bureaucrats, junior military officers, dancers and musicians specializing in exotic music—who stood to lose social and economic status and stability by blurring their ethnic identity. The role of the state in promoting or preventing acculturation and assimilation was also vital. Scholars view state policies and institutions that accorded equal treatment to Han and non-Han or sought to integrate them culturally, socially, or economically as particularly effective vehicles of acculturation and assimilation.55 “Civilizing” policies of local officials that relied on suasion and were often independent of the central government also had a significant effect.56 For the Tang, it is difficult to gauge the effectiveness of such policies, but their significance for our goal of understanding how ethnic difference was constructed is in the themes used by the sources that characterize the putative subjects of “transformation through instruction” (jiaohua) and outline the expected results of such transformation. As noted above, frontiers, by their very nature as zones of political, geographic, social, and ethnic contact, are particularly conducive to ethnic change, particularly through the process of tribalization that gives birth to new ethnic identities and inspires ethnic conflict. Indeed, Owen Lattimore, one of the first theorists to discuss frontiers in such terms, was a pioneer of Sino-Inner Asian frontier studies who first outlined the distinctive type of ethnic change that takes place on the frontier.57 A number of sophisticated and complex definitions of Chinese frontiers have been proposed since Lattimore. Richard Von Glahn, for example, differentiates Chinese frontier regions based on the degree of Han domination in economic relations, the types of economic production, the level of equality of different ethnic groups, the power of migrant Han elites (landowners, moneylenders, and merchants), and the strength of economic and political ties to the metropolitan core, in order to come up with a gradation between pioneer frontier societies and established Han social orders.58 Such gradations of society and the related gradations in

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the rates of assimilation and acculturation often come through in Tang descriptions of the frontier. The Sino–Inner Asian frontier, which played an enormous role in the political, social, economic, and ethnic history of the Tang, was suited to both pastoralism and agriculture. The actual patterns of economic production and concomitant social and ethnic organization followed at any one time reflected the relative political control exerted by Chinese sedentary agricultural states and Inner Asian nomadic confederations. Changes in political borders, fluctuations in degrees of political control and organization, migrations of pastoralists and agriculturalists, and shifts in economic lifestyles by particular groups constantly resulted in the emergence of new tribal configurations and even ethnic groups in the Tang and other periods. Lattimore and his successors point to the emergence from common experience and shared geography of distinct social organizations and cultural features common to all the inhabitants of the frontier—whether nomad or farmer, Han or non-Han—that could result in a new culture, the result of mutual acculturation. Even if interethnic contact in frontier zones did not lead to the formation of new ethnic groups or cultural identities per se, such contact, which took place at the individual level with great frequency among both elites and commoners in the Tang and preceding periods, resulted in bilingualism, biculturalism, shifts in individual ethnic identity, or the effacement of ethnic differences due to shared economic and political interests. The Sino–Inner Asian frontier for these reasons posed the greatest potential challenge to the discursive construction of coherent Han and Chinese identities and was ultimately the most important spur in pressing Tang elites to bound the Han Self to protect not only their identity but also, in their minds, the political unity of the Chinese state that was, in their minds, the best guardian of that Self.

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Chapter 2

The Ambiguity of the Non-Han Stereotyping and Separation

Stereotypes reveal the basic fault lines and insecurities harbored by a society. The prominence of ethnic stereotypes in everyday and official discourse in the Tang bespeaks the discomfort engendered by ethnic boundaries and the profound need felt by Tang elites to come to terms with their own, often ambiguous, ethnic and cultural identities. The rhetorical use of ethnic stereotypes, examples of which extend across all genres and periods of the Tang, consciously constructed non-Han as a discursive category and is thus an appropriate starting point for delving into ethnicity in the Tang. Following the work of sociologists, we can distinguish two types of stereotypes. Articulated stereotypes are the attribution of putative shared cultural traits to groups or individuals clearly representative of groups that, in the process, create a distinction between the Self that is doing the stereotyping and the Other that is being stereotyped. Statements that attach cultural traits to individuals identified as members of an ethnic group where the individual’s representativeness of the group is implicit are unarticulated or casual stereotypes. All these stereotypes implicitly define acceptable behavior for the Self, especially when dealing with the Other, and thereby construct the Self and Other to an equal extent.1 In most cases, stereotypes appear in Tang sources in unarticulated forms, often in the shape of clichés appropriate to the relevant textual genre or, more indirectly, as the basis for jokes and insults. Casual stereotypes frequently signaled a non-Han or ambiguous ethnic identity without explicitly using ethnonyms, particularly in the popular genre of frontier poetry, which specialized in depicting ethnically mixed, yet often majority-Han, frontier populations who were perceived to have acculturated to non-Chinese norms and shouldered a degree of ethnic ambiguity. The poem “Song of Yingzhou” (Yingzhou was an important garrison town on the northeast frontier) by Gao Shi is typical: “The youths of Yingzhou are comfortable on the steppe; a jumble of fox robes, they hunt beneath the city walls. A thousand gal-

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lons of caitiff ale does not get them drunk; Hu lads ride horses at the age of ten.”2 This passage exhibits a number of the clichés that were usually applied to the non-Han pastoral nomads of the northern steppes. The loves of hunting, drinking, and riding reflected stereotypes of virility, martiality, and profligacy and were frequently packaged together. However, in this poem and elsewhere they are applied to two ethnically distinct sets of people. The first set consisted of the “youths of Yingzhou,” inhabitants of the northeast frontier who were not necessarily ethnically non-Han as judged by descent and even geography but who, as a group, are described here and elsewhere as leading a lifestyle that was culturally more “barbarian” than Chinese in the eyes of the Tang literate elites. Then, Gao compares them to “Hu boys,” nomadic pastoralists of the Inner Asian steppe whose genealogical and mythic histories, culture, and tribal organization and herding economy were markedly different from those of the Han. The phenomenon of cultural “barbarization” in the Tang, particularly in northeastern China, has long been a subject of scholarly debate. Some have argued that the autonomy maintained by military administrators in the northeast following the An Lushan Rebellion was due in no small part to the process of acculturation to non-Chinese norms and the ensuing strong cultural differences and local subethnic or even new ethnic identities that emerged.3 Others have rejected the position that Hebei was a particularly fertile ground for “barbarization,” arguing instead that the non-Han in the province, particularly those in positions of power, were largely sinicized by the mid-eighth century, or they have posited that the significance of such acculturation, if indeed it did occur, was minor relative to the influence of economic and political advances that reflected a move toward Chinese norms.4 Regardless of whether the overall trend in the northeast was toward greater or lesser acculturation to Chinese norms, Gao infers in his work that the Yingzhou youths’ acculturation to non-Chinese norms had made them the virtual equivalent of “Hu lads,” down to the implied existence of Männerbund-like associations of young men that was a key indicator of Inner Asian ethnic groups.5 Yet, the Yingzhou young men and their counterparts elsewhere on the frontiers by and large retained their ethnic Han identity, as Gao hints at with the appellation of “Yingzhou youths,” for Han typically identified themselves at an individual and family level by their surnames and their clan’s place of origin (e.g., “the Boling [place] Cui [clan],” a formulation known as a choronym), and at an individual and group level by their place of residence, that is, “people of Yingzhou,” used here. Subethnic identifications were also made in this

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way, often by referring to traditional geographic designations for regions, such as referring to the people of eastern Sichuan as “people of Ba.” In contrast, Tang sources typically identify non-Han by a generic non-Han appellation (such as hu or fan), by an ethnonym (Korean, Türk, and so on) or pseudo-ethnonym (e.g., tribal affiliation), or, occasionally, by their surnames. They rarely use place names (as distinct from countries of origin) to identify non-Han, even when those non-Han were born in China. In sum, the poem exemplifies the ambiguous relationship between ethnic and cultural identity and behavior that characterized the Tang use of stereotypes, reflecting the real blurring of cultural and ethnic boundaries that occurred throughout the empire at all social levels but was most salient in frontier zones. This blurring of ethnic and cultural boundaries existed in a mutually reinforcing relationship with the overall ambiguity displayed toward the non-Han in Tang discourse, an ambiguity regarding the degree to which non-Han threatened or reinforced the Tang order. These layers of ambiguity were translated, among other ways, into the forms taken by stereotypes about the ethnic Other. One rarely sees articulated ethnic stereotypes, such as “non-Han drink a lot,” in discourse that self-consciously and directly expresses an individual viewpoint on ethnic difference. Even in the most extensive Tang collection of clichés, stereotypes, and social prescriptions, Li Shangyin’s Miscellany from Yi Mountain (Yishan zazuan) from the midninth century, only one of the four hundred sayings has an explicit ethnic content: in the category of “incongruities,” Li includes “a poor Persian,” referring to the stereotype—frequently displayed in Tang belles-lettres—that all Persians were wealthy merchants.6 Rather, certain stereotypes were rarely or never articulated but constantly appeared in casual form and were often related to certain professions with which non-Han peoples living in the Tang Empire were most closely associated. One of the chief casual stereotypes was of the eroticism of non-Han peoples. The eroticized non-Han female dancer was usually, but not always, described as a Hu, an ethnic Iranian from Central or West Asia. She often doubled as a barmaid and was a stock figure in Tang literature.7 Indeed, vast numbers of non-Han women served in subordinate positions—prostitutes, slaves, maids, singers, and the like—where their sexual favors were implicitly on offer to or explicitly demanded by mostly Han patrons. Young Hu male dancers are also frequently encountered, as are eroticized images of southern girls, implicitly non-Han or non-sinicized Han, such as in a Li Bo poem describing a southern girl picking lotuses who giggles seductively and pretends to hide shyly from

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a boatman.8 All these roles gendered non-Han as female, but this contrasted with the strong masculinizing of Inner Asian adult males relative to their Han counterparts. Whereas most Tang elites encountered ethnically Hu entertainers during their periods of service in the imperial capitals or on the frontier, southern girls were usually observed during periods of exile, China’s far south being the preferred location to send demoted or convicted officials. These different contexts led to differences in the ways the two different eroticized ethnic groups were perceived, particularly in private literary works that reveal the inner world of Tang literati. Hu entertainers represented a wildness that was associated with danger, cosmopolitan decadence, and the lifestyle of the frontier bravo, and so they were tinged with an air of arbitrary violence and insecurity. Southern entertainers, on the other hand, were elements of the overall ambience of the deep south, where the noxious climate and forbidding terrain were judged more threatening than the inhabitants themselves. In these circumstances, the crude charms of the “girls of Yue” provoked both a condescending (but nonthreatening) desire and an exile’s nostalgia for the sophisticated attractions of the capital. Closely related to the eroticization of non-Han peoples was the attribution of superior skill at singing and dancing, a stereotype that is still held by many Han today regarding other ethnic groups in the People’s Republic of China. This stereotype was apt in the sense that many nonHan, particularly from Central Asia, regularly performed as singers and dancers in the Tang Empire in all sorts of venues, from small taverns to the court itself.9 Despite, or perhaps because of, the great popularity of the vigorous style of “hard dancing” and accompanying music popularized mostly by Inner Asian artists, Confucian conservatives in the Tang condemned the dances and the associated revealing costumes as improper and offensive to the deities.10 Another casual stereotype was non-Han illiteracy. In 747, Li Linfu blocked An Lushan’s appointment as a minister by relying on the strength of the stereotype that non-Han were illiterate, though Li’s motives were actually political (he wished to prevent local military commanders from gaining central office and potentially challenging his monopoly on civilian political power at court). This stereotype was most commonly applied to Sogdian and Turkic Inner Asians—indeed, Koreans and Japanese living in the empire and the elites of their homelands were often singled out and praised for their high degree of literacy— because of the politically and socially significant implied corollary, namely, that because of the Inner Asians’ bravery and military skill and presumed lack of literary ability that would allow them to threaten the

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Confucian elites’ monopolization of the bureaucracy, they were naturally suited to serve as generals. Not surprisingly, Tang civilian elites emphasized and may have encouraged the lack of literary aptitude of fanjiang who were from humble backgrounds and not involved in political factionalism, and thus, in theory, more open to civilian control.11 The illiteracy stereotype also extended to frontier communities and others of Han or non-Han ethnicity who had acculturated to non-Chinese norms. “The boy from a frontier town has never read a single word in his entire life,” runs the first line of a Li Bo poem that, like Gao Shi’s poem cited earlier, describes a youth whose ethnic identity is incidental to his geographic and cultural milieu.12 While the ethnically determined occupational stratification of nonHan, primarily Inner Asians, within the military class, whether as fanjiang or as common soldiers, contributed to the stereotype of illiteracy, it naturally contributed even more to the casual stereotype of non-Han physical strength. This physical prowess, usually evinced in their military feats, is taken for granted in the sources. Strength, as well as other valued physical characteristics of the military man, particularly height, are typically mentioned in extremely brief fashion in the opening sections of individual biographies in the dynastic histories and similar works in descriptions not only of non-Han but also of ethnically Han warriors. Many of the latter, however, were from border regions and had close associations with non-Han peoples.13 The prominent role of non-Han in Tang commerce, particularly those of West and Central Asian origin commonly designated as Hu, the socalled merchant Hu (shanghu), including tavern owners (known as “wine Hu”) and dealers in jewels, silk, and other rarities, led to a common casual ethnic stereotype of non-Han skill at trade.14 This ability, while admired and envied, was also frequently condemned as a form of cheating or even economic warfare, paralleling current Chinese perceptions of foreign businesspeople. This antipathy to trade had deep cultural roots among Confucian elites. Many of the central historical and philosophical texts of the Confucian canon expressly condemned commerce, particularly trade in luxury goods, as parasitical on agriculture, which was seen as the foundation of China’s economy and prosperity. An 821 memorial by a senior official blamed a currency shortage on the export of specie by profiteering non-Han merchants, requested an end to the official practice of accepting taxes in specie (as opposed to in kind), and urged a ban on the stockpiling and export of specie. These were all common anticommercial strategies proposed by Confucian economic traditionalists periodically throughout Chinese history.15 Han social and cultural conservatives, as well as elements at court, were also strong supporters of sumptuary laws that restricted the use of many of the exotica

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imported by foreign merchants in the name of preserving class distinctions and preventing socially and economically debilitating displays of extravagance.16 Most clichés or topoi (stereotypical situations that appear within a well-established literary tradition), such as the ones above, were never articulated as stereotypes but remained staples of casual stereotyping for a number of reasons. Some of them did not appeal to the sensibilities of Tang writers. A number of them had limited applicability and were not suitable for generalization. Probably more significant is the fact that articulated stereotypes were typically used in argumentative or persuasive rhetoric, particularly in the context of debates among officials over policies for dealing with non-Han external to or autonomous of central control. These stereotypes were not simply polemical devices but were seized upon as guides for identifying potential problems and predicting behavior. Many of the casual clichés, topoi, and other stereotypical rhetorical devices and literary references that the average literatus drew upon did not suit the sweeping rhetorical statements or intricate lines of reasoning that were applied in such cases. Finally, stereotypes expressed as much about self-identity as about the nature of ethnic Others. Changing circumstances and emerging crises often limited the aspects of identity that were relevant at any given time. Many of the stereotypes, if articulated, would not have been effective foils for those aspects of Han identity and Chinese culture that our authors intended, consciously or otherwise, to emphasize. The articulated stereotypes that were fundamental to Tang discourse on ethnic difference clustered around two pairs of motifs: loyalty and trust, and savagery and ignorance. The extant sources, Sinitic and Inner Asian, draw on these motifs time and again because of their flexibility and their embodiment of three relations central to the contrast between Self and Other, particularly in the sinocentric view of the world: distance, hierarchy, and exceptionalism. That is, for ethnic boundaries to be well defined, the Other needed to be distant (whether geographically, cosmologically, evolutionarily, or in some other sense), hierarchically inferior, and also exceptional relative to the normative Self.

Loyalty and Trustworthiness The political reliability of non-Han peoples was the most significant and controversial subject of stereotyping in discourse emanating from the Tang political center. The imperial government engaged in a multitude of activities, including registering the populace, distributing

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land, collecting taxes, regulating religious institutions, and promoting cultural activities. However, its principle tasks, in terms of attention devoted and resources spent, were maintaining secure borders and ensuring domestic order via the exercise or threat of force. Dealing with non-Han peoples, whether in the form of independent states or protostates, autonomous tribes on the frontiers, submitted tribes in border areas and the interior, or communities of farmers, merchants, tradesmen, and clerics spread throughout the empire, absorbed a plurality, if not a majority, of the dynasty’s revenues. While most of this money was spent financing military efforts against hostile or potentially hostile forces, a great deal was also spent to subsidize ostensibly friendly entities or facilitate their absorption into the empire. Moreover, the Tang military, more than any other part of the official apparatus, became heavily dependent on non-Han participation as the largely Han militias (fubing) of the early Tang were replaced by professional armies. From the eighth century on, Han soldiers and generals were largely tied down to their home regions and incapable of conducting offensive operations. Given this context, it is no wonder that the issue of loyalty and trust, an essential component of the larger political theme in Tang ethnic discourse, took a central place in the articulation of ethnic stereotypes. Non-Han untrustworthiness and betrayal was the default stereotype in discourse on ethnic difference. However, given the mixed record of relations with non-Han in the Tang and earlier dynasties, there was a lack of consensus on non-Han military and political behavior in practice. Court officials and emperors—the latter, after Taizong, having limited or no military or administrative experience in the field—drew upon a welter of conflicting historical precedents, often centuries old, to debate the wisdom of trusting non-Han in terms of specific situations or policies. Officials in the field had similar disagreements and took varied approaches. In 720, the Tang commander Wang Jun suspected the Türk Xiedie tribe, which had surrendered to the Tang and settled on the northeast frontier, of plotting with the Second Türk Empire to attack Tang military outposts. He invited the tribe’s leaders to a banquet and then massacred them. Nearby tribes that had also submitted became extremely agitated. The court, which often blamed frontier rebellions on oppressive Tang officials—though it gave local commanders broad latitude to deal with border tribes as they saw fit, and Wang himself was eventually promoted to military governor of the northeast and chief minister17—expected an armed uprising in response. The great statesman Zhang Yue, temporarily out of favor and serving on the frontier, went on a successful mission to soothe the tribes. He had taken only twenty cavalrymen as an escort, trusting in

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the hospitality of the nomads and waving aside the suspicions of his subordinates.18 The disproving of the stereotype of non-Han perfidy in this and many other cases was not used to deny its general validity or the conventional wisdom that assumed non-Han deviation from Han norms of behavior. Moreover, the treacherous behavior of Wang Jun and other Han figures, though condemned by the central authorities, did not shake the Han elites’ own conviction that they were the exemplars of trustworthiness, even when they hypocritically ordered the breaking of treaties and similar actions. Mistrust of the outsider, whether judged according to ethnic, geographic, kinship, or cultural criteria, was deeply ingrained into Han society. This view of the outsider as irredeemably Other, and thus ultimately incomprehensible, was encapsulated in a widely paraphrased statement from the Confucian classic, the Zuo commentary: “If they are not of our kind [zulei], their mindset will surely be different from ours.”19 Indeed, records of incidents like the one involving Zhang Yue invoked the stereotype of non-Han untrustworthiness to reinforce the heroism of the central Han figure and demonstrate the exceptional nature of the trustworthy non-Han. In the cases, implicitly rare, where a non-Han proved trustworthy, he is often named and praised in the Tang sources, though frequently in a backhanded or unintentionally ethnicized manner from a Han perspective, as in the appraisal and treatment of the tribal leader and general Heichi Changzhi from the Korean state of Paekche. In 663, Heichi, who ultimately became one of the Tang’s most honored fanjiang,20 was a local official of Paekche, which had just been overrun by a Tang expedition. Although he successfully defended his district, he surrendered to the Tang upon hearing of the defeat of the kingdom and the capture of the royal family. The Tang commanders allowed him to retain command of his troops, now incorporated into the Tang armies. Tang officers debated a plan to send Heichi supplies while he pressed his attack on behalf of the Tang against a Paekchean city that was still holding out: “Sun Renshi said, ‘These sort of people have bestial natures. How can they be trusted?’ Liu Rengui said, ‘I have observed that Heichi Changzhi and Shazha Xiangru [another former Paekche general] are loyal, brave, and clever. They place great importance on trust and revere righteousness. There have never before been such people to rely on in pacifying Korea. Now is just the time when, out of gratitude they will want to gain merit in our eyes, so there is no need to be suspicious.’”21 Liu Rengui’s position triumphed: the supplies were sent, and Heichi Changzhi’s forces did indeed capture the city. Yet, although Liu praised Heichi and his compatriot for possessing normative virtues patterned on

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classic Confucian formulations, he was careful to point out how unique they were in this respect among past and present Paekcheans. Moreover, in attributing their ultimate motivation to temporary feelings of gratitude, he casually invokes the negative stereotype of non-Han fickleness. Tang elites at best believed that they could not trust some ethnic Others (particularly those beyond Tang control) all of the time and certainly could not trust all of them all of the time, but they could trust some of them some of the time. The fundamental belief in non-Han treachery, as it implied Han trustworthiness, existed in a mutually reinforcing relationship with the policy, frequently espoused throughout the Tang though followed more consistently in the dynasty’s first half, of treating surrendering non-Han well while strongly resisting those who attacked China’s borders. This policy reflected a mixture of idealism and pragmatism, but was entirely reactive. However, it did serve the notion, strongly held at court, if not in the frontier areas, that dealings with foreign peoples, like dealings with the common people of China, should be held to a high moral standard. In theory, such an approach assumed that Han— that is, Tang—behavior was constant and predictable. Thus, all improper behavior or breakdowns in relations were the fault of the non-Han. A typical statement of this approach was made by Emperor Dezong in 780 in response to an official who disagreed with the emperor’s decision to return Tibetan prisoners to their homeland: “If the Tibetans invade the border then we will attack them; if they submit then we will send them home. We will attack them in order to demonstrate authority, and we will send them home in order to demonstrate trust. If we do not establish our authority and trust, how can we attract those from afar?”22 In actuality, Dezong’s attention was focused at the time on reasserting imperial control within China. To do so, he was willing to make numerous concessions to the Tibetans and essentially forego any attempt to retake territory lost to them during the chaos following An Lushan’s rebellion. Nevertheless, as in many other cases, the stereotype of untrustworthiness was associated with a state of independence or autonomy that could only be overcome by force or other heroic measures; the non-Han who merited trust were those who had submitted or otherwise placed themselves in an inferior position. Limited exceptions were made in the case of foreign powers with which the Tang was forced to sign treaties and accept as de jure as well as de facto equals, most notably Tibet. Stereotypes require no explanation, no causation. They are merely accepted by their purveyors as eternal verities. However, we see here that untrustworthiness was frequently explained as the product of an

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even more fundamental trait of the ethnic Other, namely, a bestial nature. Within a strictly Confucian framework, which was only one part of the intellectual scaffolding that supported Tang discourse on ethnicity, the distinction between humanity on the one hand and barbarity and bestiality on the other was often seen in terms of culture and education and not as an innate divide. Thus, the Confucian thinker Mencius (active late fourth century B.C.E.) wrote, “There is a way appropriate for men. But if they are fed their fill, clothed warmly, and lodged comfortably yet are not educated, then they become almost like animals.”23 Han elites viewed certain cultural practices associated with non-Han as enhancing their animality, such as tattooing, which was seen as creating patterns on the body similar to the skins of animals.24 Non-Han bestiality and the occasional bestial behavior by Han were commonly characterized using the phrase “faces of men and hearts of beasts” or simply “hearts of beasts.”25 These expressions appear frequently in court debates and were common ideologies in reserve, often used, for instance, to forestall Tang military cooperation with independent nonHan polities. The association of the ethnic Other with bestiality, whether in regard to appearance, behavior, nature, or a combination of the three, is well nigh universal in human history.26 Chinese sources use markers of animality for non-Han peoples in some of the earliest extant sources dating back to the first millennium B.C.E., most visibly the ascription to non-Han peoples of ethnonyms with characters containing elements denoting particular animal species. Two of the four most common names for barbarians from the classical period onward, Di and Man (broadly denoting barbarians to the east and south, respectively), have the radicals quan and chong, denoting dogs and insects, respectively. The radicals shi (pig) and yang (sheep) were also quite common in the non-Han ethnonyms in the Chinese sources. Han authors also regularly narrated ethnogenetic myths that attributed bestial ancestors to alien peoples.27 Unsurprisingly, ethnic insults during the Tang often hinged on the equating of non-Han with animals. The most famous instance was a confrontation between the two most prominent non-Han generals (fanjiang) of Xuanzong’s reign, Geshu Han and An Lushan. They were bitter rivals, both being military governors with bases of power in crucial frontier areas (Geshu Han in the northwest, An Lushan in the northeast). It was in part this rivalry, along with court politics and regional interests, that led to the latter’s rebellion in 755. In 752, Emperor Xuanzong ordered his éminence grise Gao Lishi to host a banquet for Geshu and An, ostensibly to reconcile the rivals. The results were disastrous: “[An Lushan addressed Geshu Han:] ‘My father

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was a Sogdian [hu] and my mother was a Türk. Your father was a Türk and your mother was a Sogdian. My race [zulei] is the same as yours, so why can we not be cordial?’ Han replied: ‘The ancients had a saying, “As unlucky as a wild fox howling at its lair,” for it has forgotten its origins.28 How dare I not wholeheartedly [devote myself to our friendship]!’ Lushan thought that he was making a satirical reference to his Sogdian identity, and he became extremely angry and cursed Han, saying, ‘A Türk would dare to act like that!’ Han wanted to reply, but Gao Lishi stared at him, so he stopped.”29 The Chinese word for fox, hu, is homophonous with the term for Sogdian (and “barbarian”), explaining An Lushan’s furious response. Foxes in Chinese mythology were seen in ways similar to their depictions in Western folklore, as clever and untrustworthy creatures capable of great mischief.30 Fox spirits appeared often in Tang sources and were commonly associated with non-Han, particularly those from Central and South Asia. When appearing in fantastic tales produced by Tang literati, the fox spirits often took the actual form of non-Han (usually monks), lived in non-Han enclaves within Chinese cities, or practiced occupations commonly associated with non-Han, such as cake-selling.31 Non-Han bestiality often appears in texts as a formal stereotype, both casual and articulated. One of the most elaborate and widespread was the association of peoples of the Tibetan plateau with dogs, thought by many to originate in the myth, shared by both Tibetans and Han, that the Tibetans were descended from a canine ancestry.32 Similarly, the legendary wolf ancestors of the Türks and other Inner Asian nomadic peoples, including the Xiongnu, as mentioned in myths of origin found in both Chinese and Inner Asian sources, help explain why northern people were often referred to with wolfish epithets.33 Although such epithets certainly could have negative connotations—Chinese authors, like their Western counterparts, regularly referred to rapacious alien hordes as “wolves and jackals”—Han in northern China also traditionally associated dogs with important apotropaic functions, especially ones connected with death and the afterworld, and dogs frequently functioned as psychopomps and scapegoats (both functions fulfilled from ancient times by the use of straw dogs in funeral rites),34 a role that saw significant overlap with the role of nonHan images in the tomb. Bestiality was often used to explain non-Han behavior, particularly by interpreting non-Han actions according to a stimulus-response model that denied them human agency. A common formulation was that made by Chen Zi’ang, who had extensive experience on the frontier in the late seventh century dealing with non-Han populations: “The barbarians have the hearts of birds and beasts; if you

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treat them with affection then they will be obedient, but if you show any uncertainty then they will cause trouble.”35 The Chinese sources also regularly used bestial terms to describe non-Han derogatorily as a faceless swarming enemy. The most common phrase was “dogs and sheep” (quanyang), which was particularly applied to Tibetans (with some overlap with the term Dog Rong) and Inner Asians. Non-Han “hordes” were also referred to as ants or other types of insects, further erasing their individuality and humanity. One Tang poet wrote, “The barbarians at court were like ants attracted to stinking entrails.”36 There are interesting parallels in Greek terminology, as the term ethnos was originally used in Homer to denote large multitudes of either warriors or animals. In the case of the latter, animals such as bees, birds, and flies were referred to and then could be used as a simile for a group of warriors glossed as a throng or swarm, suggesting “great size, absence of internal differentiation, and threatening mobility,” all traits that Han writers associated with non-Han peoples.37 The stereotype of the ethnic Other as animalistic, ranging from bestial humans to figures that were figuratively or literally animals, is the most frequently encountered image of non-Han in explicitly ethnic discourse in the Tang. However, the ascribed animality of non-Han had both laudatory and derogatory aspects. On the one hand, there was an obvious negative aspect of bestiality that overlapped with the image of the savage barbarian (see below). On the other hand, the close association between animals and non-Han also granted non-Han special status, in Tang society and also in the world of the tomb (where there are frequent depictions of non-Han figures and tropes), for their reputed associated skills, not only in handling animals but also in possessing animal powers.38 A common item of tribute to the Tang court was the exotic animal, reflecting a belief in the mutually reinforcing potency of strangers and animals from afar. Images of lions and hippopotami had already appeared in Chinese art in the pre-Qin period “as precious objects, whose dimly understood connections with the borderlands added to their mystery and perhaps to their supposed auspicious associations.”39 Court artists in the Tang and the immediately preceding periods made numerous paintings of tribute animals, particularly lions (whose guardian functions also led to their frequent depiction in tombs), that served both as a prosaic record of the event, stressing the power of the Tang state and the tributary act, and a charged object that captured some of the beast’s potency and emphasized the fascination with the exotic.40 The notion that the possession of certain prestigious animals or their images transferred their power to their new owner was a

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commonplace in many premodern societies, particularly among those—such as the Tang—whose courts instituted royal hunts and sponsored related literary works, and this notion overlapped with similar beliefs about exotic non-Han and the relationship between nonHan and animals. The postulate that non-Han and animals were closely related implied two important corollaries that had enormous influence on the way ethnic Others were perceived in Tang discourse and the roles they played in Tang society and cosmology. The first corollary was that non-Han had a profound understanding of animals, particularly animals from their homelands. Inner Asians from the steppe were considered to be the best cavalry and regularly served in wealthy households as handlers of a wide range of animals. Most grooms of horses and camels and virtually all camel riders, whether appearing as tomb figurines or in tomb murals, are of quintessentially non-Han (i.e., Hu/Sogdian/Inner Asian) appearance. However, only some horse riders are indisputably non-Han, as denoted by stereotypical facial features or distinctive hairstyles. This disparity was doubtless due to the fact that fine horses were high-status animals in the Tang and were ridden by all members of elite society, including women, while camels were considered outlandish, carried derogatory connotations of foreignness, and were largely associated with non-Han traders and soldiers. They could function as beasts of burden with associations of privilege and leisure, as in mural depictions of them carrying supplies during royal hunts, but their attendants were invariably non-Han.41 Foreigners also served as trainers of exotic hunting animals, such as cheetahs and falcons, and images of these animals accompanied by their trainers, either in static postures or, more dramatically, while hunting, appear frequently in both tomb figurines and murals.42 Court-centered discussions on political and military relations with non-Han frequently compared them to animals. A memorial promoting the policy of keeping the non-Han at a distance using “loose-rein” methods rather than integrating them into the local administration gave the following analogy: “It is similar to hunting [according to classical ritual texts]: if the animal’s feathers and fur cannot be used for clothing and the flesh is not suitable for the suburban or ancestral sacrifices, then the ruler should not shoot it.”43 In other words, the writer was arguing that, as for non-Han who cannot provide any material benefit to the empire, no attempt should be made to institute direct rule or otherwise incorporate them into the empire except as relatively autonomous satellites. The foundation of these discursively constructed stereotypes of animality did not simply consist of Han subjective perceptions of barbarian inferiority and lack of basic civility and humanity, but was also

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informed by objective observations of the close economic relationships between non-Han peoples and particular species of animals. Many non-Han along the Sino–Inner Asian frontier owned large numbers of horses, sheep, cattle, goats, and camels and were skilled herders and breeders. Large numbers of these animals were imported into China, particularly after the major horse-producing areas in the empire fell into Tibetan and rebel hands during An Lushan’s rebellion.44 Moreover large numbers of non-Han even after entering the interior of China pursued occupations that took advantage of their familiarity with these very animals. Thus, these skills themselves became stereotyped, contributing to the boundary mechanism of occupational stratification (see Chapter 6). Thus, the people of the Tang accepted that certain non-Han peoples were naturally more adept at training falcons, grooming horses, managing camels, and dealing with all the other animals that were required by the state and elite households for economic, military, and social reasons. These ethnically specialized roles, reflecting an internalized ethnic taxonomy, appeared in poetry, such as Du Fu’s depiction of a party at a Chang’an mansion: “Qiang girls lightly hold torches, Hu boys lead the camels.”45 Despite the constant references to animality and bestiality, particularly in the polemical rhetoric of court discussions when the interests of the dynasty or the educated Han elites were threatened by recalcitrant barbarians, there seems to have been little doubt of the basic humanity of the non-Han peoples living within or near the Tang Empire.46 We see this recognition first of all in the periodic use of assimilationist court rhetoric promoting the unification of Han and non-Han within the empire. While this position was espoused most strongly by Taizong, whose own background and experiences made him comfortable with both worlds, it appeared frequently in the rhetoric of every emperor up through Xuanzong. With the relative decline of the empire in the mid-eighth century and the rise of internal and external threats associated with non-Han individuals and groups, this rhetoric became more sporadic though still significant as a reserve ideology. It is also evident in the language used to refer to non-Han: for every use of terms like “barbarian dogs” and “hearts of beasts,” there are dozens if not hundreds of uses of the term person (ren) and, less frequently, people (min) and commoners (baixing) in the whole range of official and private writings. Many common dehumanizing epithets, such as “repulsive breed,” were equally applied to Han rebels or other perceived troublemakers.47 Moreover, to argue that the Han/non-Han dichotomy closely corresponded to a human/animal dichotomy ignores the fact that the people

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of the Tang did not rigidly separate the categories of “animal,” “human,” “spirit,” and “deity.” Prose literature from the Tang and preceding periods that claimed to record noteworthy and unusual, often supernatural, occurrences give us perhaps our best glimpse into the Weltanschauung of Tang society. They depict a world where beings inhabited multiple categories through processes of transformation, mimicry, and evolution. Furthermore, entities occupying different categories freely interacted with one another and contracted mutual ritual and moral obligations.48 By the Tang, Buddhist conceptions of rebirth and karma had combined with traditional Chinese ideas of recompense (bao) to provide a popular religious foundation to the notion of a permanent self that could successively inhabit a variety of forms. Moreover, all categories of sentient beings displayed at least some anthropomorphic qualities, and those categories that were seen as inferior to the normative human, particularly spirits and animals, were often noted and even praised for displaying human traits, paralleling the ambiguous and often contradictory valuations of non-Han by Tang ethnic discourse.49 While Tang discourse usually recognized the humanity of non-Han, it also reveals deep antipathy for them because of their perceived departure from norms of “human” behavior as defined by the literate elites. One Tang description of gorillas notes that in many ways they resemble people except that they leave their hair unbound (already noted as a frequently ascribed characteristic of certain non-Han groups) and run quickly. Conversely, the entry continues, if humans lack propriety (li), then they are no different from monkeys.50 Canonical Confucian texts used humanlike behaviors of animals to distinguish virtuous actions and appearances from truly ethical feelings and intentions, with only true humans being able to exhibit the latter: “These days, looking after one’s parents is called filiality. However, even dogs and horses have some ability to support their parents. Without applying the concept of reverence, how can one distinguish these forms of support?”51 This interpretive framework is likely to have informed many Tang elites’ deep suspicions of and ambiguity toward ostensibly loyal non-Han who might behave well but whose ability to inculcate Confucian virtues and thus guarantee their reliability was often in doubt. The non-Han superior knowledge of animals fitted into a larger tradition of discernment of excellence in a wide variety of categories, ranging from horses to gems and, ultimately, to people. The legendary horse connoisseur Bole from the Spring and Autumn Period became, in an essay by the Tang literatus Han Yu, a metaphor for the wise ruler who is able to select worthy men to serve him.52 Non-Han lliving in the Tang

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Empire were not only expert judges of horseflesh, they were believed to be similarly knowledgeable about other objects, such as jewels, whose value might not be immediately evident. Persians were particularly renowned for their love of precious stones, and they are often described as paying enormous prices for them or even cutting open their own flesh in order to carry them in secret. The connection between the discernment of jewels and the selection of talented men was made explicit in a number of Tang tales where non-Han bestow rare or even supernatural jewels on obscure individuals who then rise to high office.53 Thus, associating with non-Han, particularly merchants, implicitly celebrated one’s virtue as well as one’s wealth. The second corollary to the equation of non-Han with animals was that non-Han had the capacities and powers of animals, particularly the exotic animals with which they were most closely associated. This perception was often expressed in the form of a metaphor, such as the use of the term barbarian [hu] birdies to refer to the lilting talents of non-Han flute players,54 or it could appear within an expressly physiognomic context. For example, non-Han who were characterized by their fierceness, as well as Han who served on the frontier and were part of the same cultural and social milieu as their non-Han counterparts, were often metaphorically compared to tigers, and their appearance would be described as tigerlike.55 Even more significant, however, was the frequent conflation of nonHan, animals, supernatural creatures, and magical powers, already a feature of depictions of non-Han in Eastern Han stone tomb sculpture.56 This conflation often took the form, in the popular and influential genre of anomaly (zhiguai) literature, of hybrid beings “that by attribute, origin, gender, or in other ways mix and conjoin classes of beings usually distinguished within a given taxonomic system [and] straddle (or, more accurately, are deemed to straddle) the boundaries constructed by cultures” or cross-boundary-behaving beings “that cross boundaries not by having any special physical feature but by behaving in ways seen as characteristic of members of a category not their own.”57 The most prominent example in Tang literature was the figure of the fox, discussed above. Many tales show fox spirits pursuing occupations commonly associated with barbarians (such as alchemy and business), posing as non-Han, taking non-Han surnames, and generally acting out narratives of alienation and attempted assimilation that parallel the experiences of many non-Han living in the Tang Empire.58 In a typical story, a young man from the gentry class is tricked into marrying a fox who poses as the daughter of a rich merchant or powerful general.59

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Those who feared the corrupting influences of non-Chinese culture on Tang mores and who felt intense unease over the large-scale settlement in the heart of the empire of non-Han from beyond the traditional borders of China also seized upon non-Han untrustworthiness as a justification for promoting Chinese cultural hegemony. One of the best examples involved a close associate of one of the period’s most ethnically and culturally controversial figures, Li Chengqian. Chengqian, the eldest son of Taizong’s empress and heir apparent, identified very closely, especially in cultural matters, with Inner Asian nomadic peoples, particularly the Türks. His actions that displayed high degrees of acculturation to these Inner Asian norms became notorious, played up as they were by later historians who wished to justify the actions of Taizong and the partisans of the future Gaozong who were successful in removing the crown prince in 643.60 It is probable, however, that Chengqian’s behavior, far from being neurotic or exceptional, reflected one end of normative behavior in the imperial family that was strongly acculturated away from Chinese norms in many respects.61 Indeed, virtually every Tang emperor and heir apparent engaged in at least some of his objectionable behaviors, such as excessive hunting, and they too were regularly subject to Confucian critiques. However, Chengqian seems to have stretched matters when he dressed his retainers and himself in Türk clothing and staged mock funerals in the royal Türk style. Interestingly, he was most heavily condemned by the Confucian literati for his taste for Inner Asian drum music, which could be heard emanating from his palace at all hours. Although seemingly trivial, this type of music was strongly associated with immoral behavior and alien culture at the same time that the dynasty was attempting to claim legitimacy as a Chinese state by codifying Chinese rituals based on Han precedents. Chengqian also had many non-Han associates, a large proportion of whom were probably new subjects of the Tang who had submitted following the defeat of the Eastern Türks in 630. Before Chengqian’s downfall, the result of his rivalry with the future Emperor Gaozong, he was the target of constant remonstration by certain officials, particularly Yu Zhining. Yu saw himself as acting in the established mode of the Confucian minister who is enjoined to correct the moral failings of the ruler. He practiced this role to the hilt in his capacity as the official in charge of the heir apparent’s palace. In one memorial he criticized the prince’s practice of inviting one of his entourage, a Türk named Dagezhi, into the private quarters of the palace: “The Türk Dagezhi and the others, they have men’s faces but the hearts of beasts, how can you deal with them using the rules of propriety? They cannot be treated with humanity or trust. Their hearts have never been aware of

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loyalty and filiality, and their words fail to distinguish between truth and falsehood. Your closeness to them has done harm to your fine reputation, and your intimacy with them has not been beneficial to your flourishing virtue.”62 Chengqian’s response, a typical example of overkill in the violenceprone Tang society, was to send two assassins to eliminate Yu. They failed, allegedly intimidated at the sight of the virtuous minister asleep in bed. Here, the familiar cliché of the ethnic Other’s bestial heart is used to support the stereotype, articulated in terms of Dagezhi and unnamed “others,” that non-Han cannot be trusted and are incapable of loyalty. Their alleged ignorance of loyalty and filiality is especially telling. Filiality to one’s parents and loyalty to one’s superiors, particularly one’s ruler, were both necessary to preserve the social order regulated by the five Confucian relationships—ruler to subject, father to son, husband to wife, elder brother to younger brother, friend to friend. Most Chinese ethical philosophers and social theorists saw filiality as largely inborn and loyalty as learned behavior. However, they considered both attributes to stem from the same innate human impulse of natural gratitude. This gratitude was extended by all persons, first to the parents who gave one life, then to the ruler who provided good government, an ordered universe, and, if one was extremely fortunate, direct imperial favor. The various outcomes of non-Han ingratitude were in some cases also explained by “recompense” (bao), the traditional Chinese belief that the workings of fate responded in kind to previous actions, whether good or bad, which, by the Tang, had become intertwined with the Buddhist concept of karmic retribution.63 Non-Han military defeats were interpreted as cosmic repayment for their ingratitude for the “kindness” or “grace” allegedly lavished upon them by Tang rulers. Thus, Taizong and his ministers explained their conquest of the Eastern Türks in 630 as “recompense” for the Türks’ earlier betrayals of the Sui, such as their refusal to take part in the Sui’s failed campaigns against Koguryo that had contributed to the fall of the dynasty.64 Chinese ethnographic literature of the Tang and earlier periods depicted many non-Han peoples in their natural environment exhibiting apparently unfilial behavior, reinforcing judgments of an innate lack of loyalty. Rituals of mourning were most often singled out for implicit opprobrium for not meeting the appropriate Chinese standards. The northern nomads and some southern peoples practiced cremation and the nomads tore their faces, showing disrespect to the bodies of their parents and their own bodies, the gift of their parents.65 Some peoples, such as the Khitan, were believed to not practice mourning for their parents at all.66 Many tribal peoples, particularly the nomads of Inner Asia,

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were also observed to place youth and strength over age and wisdom, further controverting Chinese Confucian norms.67 However, there was also a school of thought that respected these customs as legitimate, though not appropriate for the Han. Proponents, who were often officials with significant experience serving in ethnically mixed areas, most often in frontier districts, argued that customs and tastes are all relative to time and place and should be respected.68 In fact, we shall see this strain throughout Tang discourse, an acknowledgment among some of the legitimacy of non-Han preferences for their own cultural orientation, known as ethnic loyalty (see Chapter 1), which could potentially limit trends toward sinicization and hanicization. However, most Tang elites, taking into account non-Han lack of “gratitude” for Tang demonstrations of self-serving friendship, concluded that the generic non-Han lacked basic human feelings and civilizing impulses. By the Han elites’ lights, the ethnic Other simply did not have the capacity to be loyal to their rulers, or at least susceptible to education that would make them conform to the normative forms of loyalty established in China. Tang officials assumed that non-Han untrustworthiness was not exclusively directed at them. After the Khitan ruler was killed in 735 by one of his ministers who then assumed the throne, Xuanzong pardoned the minister and endorsed his accession. However, in the letter that granted a royal patent to the new ruler, the emperor—blithely dismissing the ironies given the various coups d’état that had determined the course of Tang politics over the previous century, including the most recent one that had brought him to power—wrote, “Your barbarian [fan] way is to behave dishonorably toward your rulers. I am well aware that it has been like this for a long time.”69 Figures at the Tang court usually applied the stereotype of untrustworthiness to non-Han who were either outside the borders of the Tang Empire or occupied a position of autonomy within the empire. Once non-Han were recognized as true subjects of the Tang Empire under the direct control of the emperor and state officials, the issue was no longer simply one of trust, as far as the court and bureaucracy were concerned, but rather the more serious one of loyalty. The historical record shows, not surprisingly, that there were both loyal and disloyal non-Han. The fanjiang ran the gamut from the quintessentially disloyal non-Han subject, An Lushan, to the early Tang general Qibi Heli, who cut off his left ear after being captured to demonstrate his unwavering fidelity to the dynasty.70 In the middle of the spectrum was Pugu Huai’en, a general of Turkic descent who served the Tang loyally during the An Lushan rebellion but was then, through a combination of pride, ethnic prejudice, and political rivalry, maneuvered into rebelling

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against the Tang and assisting Uighur and Tibetan invaders. The somewhat sympathetic accounts that survive indicate that, at some level, Han elites appreciated that the sources of loyalty went beyond mere stereotypes about non-Han behavior but were intimately entangled in political and personal contexts. Indeed, less charged discourse reveals that fanjiang could flirt with disloyalty or shift allegiances in a pragmatic fashion to preserve their power or simply ensure their survival. In doing so, they behaved in ways identical to those practiced by their Han counterparts, but the discursive influence of ethnic stereotypes led the Tang sources to dwell on extremes in non-Han behavior with regard to loyalty. A further factor was likely behind the Tang focus on non-Han loyalty: as Charles Peterson observes, many (but by no means all) fanjiang had strong ties to a wider non-Han world in and beyond the Tang frontier that gave them more options than their Han counterparts for flight and rebellion if pressed by the court or rivals in the Tang military.71 Both Han and non-Han military leaders in the second half of the dynasty relied on relations of marriage and kinship, regional ties, and links to eunuchs and Buddhist institutions to cultivate power bases independent of the court. Nevertheless, the issue of loyalty to the throne seems to have come up more often in connection with the non-Han. Some modern scholars view non-Han loyalty to the dynasty as one marker of sinicization and ultimately assimilation to the Han.72 It seems more likely that cultural and ethnic affiliations were only one factor in decisions related to loyalty. In fact, demonstrating ties of loyalty to the central polity more often preceded ethnic assimilation and sinicization than the reverse, or was a precondition for rather than the outcome of the recognition by others of one’s Chinese or Han identity. Moreover, the fanjiang had their own codes of loyalty that were often parallel, but not identical, to those adhered to by mainstream educated elites.73 Pugu Huai’en in his famous memorial to Emperor Daizong prior to his rebellion asserted ties of loyalty to the emperor that implied obligations on the part of the emperor himself,74 a relationship of vassalage quite different from the hierarchical and bureaucratic unconditional loyalty characteristic of imperial China but rather similar to that cultivated by charismatic Inner Asian qaghans with their followers. Despite the tendency of Tang discourse on ethnicity to paint non-Han as objects to be acted upon, in actuality many non-Han individuals and groups were significant actors who were not only able to determine to some extent the parameters under which their identity was defined but could even use those parameters to seek advantages in social, political,

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and cultural interactions with Tang society and government. The degree of non-Han manipulation of Tang elite expectations could be quite extreme, particularly when the manipulator was familiar with the stereotypical rhetoric on power and loyalty. In one case, the fanjiang Wang Wujun cynically took advantage of assumptions about barbarian behavior in order to justify his own actions and bargain effectively with the central authorities. In 781, the newly enthroned Dezong attempted to reassert imperial control over the many autonomous commanderies (fanzhen) that had slipped from Tang control in all but name during the 750s and 760s. The weakness of the imperial army dictated reliance on the uncertain allegiance of powerful military governors, and the campaign was a disaster. After achieving limited military goals that contributed to their own aggrandizement of power, “loyalist” generals turned against the central government to prevent a resurgent centralized empire from jeopardizing their autonomy.75 Wang Wujun, one of these generals, submitted to imperial authority early in the campaign, but then allied himself with the chief target of Dezong’s offensive when the court reduced his own offices and authority. By 783, when Wang made the following statement to an imperial envoy, Dezong had given up all hope of retaking control of the particularly recalcitrant northeast and wished merely to restore the status quo ante: I am a barbarian [huren], but as a general I know that I ought to love the common people; how much more should this be true for the emperor. How can he make it his principle task to kill people? Presently the northeast is overrun with troops and the bones of corpses are scattered around like grass. Even though you may gain victory, whom will you use to preserve it? I am not afraid of returning my allegiance to the state, but I have already made pacts with the commanderies. We barbarians have straightforward natures and are not intentionally devious. If the emperor will sincerely issue an edict pardoning the crimes of the commanderies, then I will lead the way in calling for submission to his transforming power. If there are those among the commanderies who do not submit, then allow me to accept your orders to chastise them. Acting in this way, I will not forsake the emperor above, nor will I forsake my peers below. The three northeast commanderies will be pacified within fifty days.76

Wang draws heavily on the stereotype of non-Han straightforwardness, which was most commonly applied to Inner Asian groups, who were believed to be largely untainted by civilized wiles. This stereotype could easily be used, as it was here, as a counter to the stereotype of the untrustworthy other, reflecting Tang ethnic discourse’s wealth of ideologies in reserve, the repertoire of culturally accepted arguments, often mutually exclusive, that could be drawn upon to explain specific situations and justify particular policies. However, paralleling the over-

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all ambiguity reflected in many of the stereotypes and motifs of ethnic discourse, straightforwardness was a close cousin to elite expectations of non-Han credulousness and simplicity that had been manipulated effectively but to the point of buffoonery decades earlier by An Lushan. An had acted thus in order to curry favor with Emperor Xuanzong and the imperial favorite, Precious Consort Yang, deflect criticism, and, in the eyes of later historians, allay suspicions of his rebellious intentions. On An’s first visit to court in 747, he did not pay obeisance to the heir apparent, claiming disingenuously that he did not even know “what sort of an office this heir apparent is” and incurring the wrath of the future Emperor Suzong, who even planned to injure or kill An Lushan on the polo ground.77 An thus demonstrated his personal loyalty to the emperor alone and impressed the emperor with his “purity and sincerity.”78 Wang Wujun, however, cleverly tied together belief in the simplicity of the non-Han rube to a conception of loyalty that reversed the previously hegemonic view that placed the emperor as the sole legitimate object of obedience. Instead of accepting the validity of unconditional loyalty to the imperial center, he argued that he was entitled to choose among several potentially conflicting loyalties, the legitimacy of any which one depended on his potential partners’ actions, not on their rank. Wang superficially accepted the sovereignty of the emperor by referring to the emperor “above,” but he actually posited the existence of equally legitimate competing loyalties to other military governors—many of whom had non-Han ancestry or otherwise possessed cultural and social attributes that distanced them from the metropolitan norm—based on prior political commitments and cultural ties. Wang’s position reflected an important shift in Tang history. The absolute hierarchy with a single acknowledged imperial Tang center based as much on cultural as political abstractions had been replaced over the course of the eighth century, with the An Lushan rebellion as the defining event, by a world with multiple centers and governed by realpolitik concerns and personal ties. Previously, the Tang court had claimed that it was the sole legitimate object of loyalty and that its trust in the nonHan would be reciprocated depending on active displays of non-Han loyalty, thus placing the onus for poor relations on the non-Han. Wang reversed this formula and placed the blame for any misplaced loyalties and resulting conflicts on the immoral conduct of the emperor and the state. Although this approach, shared by many military men in the late Tang, had pragmatic justifications, it also arguably reflected the influence of Inner Asian notions of kingship that stressed charismatic and effective leadership, personal relationships, and the distribution of rewards to one’s following.79 In contrast, Chinese kingship valorized the

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position of the emperor rather than the person who occupied that position, regular bureaucratic relations, concern for the welfare of the people, and the promotion of worthy men to office. The stereotype of non-Han straightforwardness was also used to explain behavior precisely the opposite of Wang Wujun’s and counter to the prevailing stereotype of non-Han perfidy, namely, unswerving loyalty to the throne, even when pragmatism and various ties militated against such a course. After the failure of Dezong’s campaign in the northeast, there were two major revolts by imperial armies stationed near Chang’an. Li Huaiguang, whose army had been recalled from the northeast, led one of the revolts. One of Li’s officers, Shi Yanfen, was a nonHan with ethnic roots in the Western Regions and was the adopted son of Li Huaiguang, himself of Malgal descent.80 Shi discovered his commander’s treacherous plans in 784, shortly before the rebellion’s outbreak, and tried to warn the emperor, but he was betrayed. Li summoned Shi: “‘I made you my son; how could you wish to destroy our family? Today you have betrayed me—can you die without regret?’ Yanfen said: ‘The emperor made you one of his valued supporters, and you made me his trusted companion; since you have betrayed the emperor, how can I not betray you? I am a barbarian [huren] and unable to be disloyal. I can only serve one man. If by dying I can avoid being called a rebel, I shall indeed die without regret!’ Li ordered his subordinates to put him to death by slicing and then to eat him, but they all said, ‘He is a virtuous gentleman and deserves a quick death.’ They then cut his throat and left.”81 Shi Yanfen justified his loyalty to the emperor and his “betrayal” of his adoptive father by asserting that uncomplicated devotion, the straightforwardness invoked by Wang Wujun, was ingrained within his ethnic nature. Moreover, the explicit assertion of his non-Han identity carried two corollaries that suited the didactic function of the story. First, as non-Han with self-proclaimed ethnic identities were able to maintain their loyalty to the throne, there was even less of an excuse for Han to disobey the emperor. Second, although Shi’s origins were foreign, his conduct, as juxtaposed with Li Huaiguang’s (and, implicitly, with other rebels’), made it clear that non-Han ethnicity did not predetermine “barbaric” behavior or non-Han ethnic solidarity. Rather, behavior was a matter of choice. This formulation, however, may not have been made explicit until the ninth century in the two essays on the “Chinese heart” that I discuss in the Conclusion. The reaction of Li Huaiguang’s subordinates reveals that steadfast loyalty, even to an enemy, was admired regardless of one’s ethnic affiliation. In fact, one of the most important reasons why loyalty was a key locus for discourse on ethnicity was that it was also highly valued

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among the Inner Asian nomads who were the most common subjects (and the occasional authors in the Tang sources) of this discourse. The early eighth-century Turkic language funerary inscriptions found in present-day Mongolia and collectively known as the Orkhon Inscriptions reveal that under the Second Türk Empire, vertical ties of loyalty to the qaghan were stressed, overlaying preexisting horizontal loyalties to the family. The nationalistic ruling elites of the Second Türk Empire blamed the collapse of the Türk state and the near destruction of the Türk people on the lack of unity and proper respect for the hierarchy of commoner, tribal chief, imperial/national ruler: “Because there was no peace between the lords and the commoners, and since the Chinese people were deceitful and full of tricks and cheatery, and as a result of their creating a rift between younger brothers and elder brothers and their causing the lords and the commoners to slander one another, the Türk people lost the realm that they had made into a realm and they lost the ruler [qaghan] that they had made into a ruler.”82

Savagery and Ignorance A large body of stereotypes in the Tang interpreted ethnically alien behavior and character in terms of savagery and ignorance. That is, they explained non-Han cultural and moral inferiority as resulting from the combination of their inborn savage natures (often connected with their natural environments) and their lack of exposure to the influences of civilized Chinese culture. These stereotypes were expressed most systematically and comprehensively in lengthy descriptions of the histories and characteristics of the non-Han people of the imperial periphery and beyond that appeared as accounts of foreign peoples in the dynastic histories and as entries in encyclopedic works such as the Encyclopedic history of institutions (Tong dian) and the Important documents of the Tang (Tang hui yao).83 Articulated descriptions of non-Han ignorance of civilized norms were most common in narrative passages of “objective” ethnographic descriptions or were made in remarks attributed to officials and emperors participating in the frequent court debates over border policy. Thus, the first Sui emperor, Wendi, setting the tone of the sinocentric side of the debate for both the Sui and the subsequent Tang dynasties, described Türks as “savage, despicable, foolish, and ignorant”84 and said “the customs of the Tuyuhun bandits are particularly deviant from normal human relations; since the fathers don’t show affection, the sons in turn are not filial.”85 Tang Taizong’s advisers maintained, “The [Türk] barbarians cannot be cultivated using propriety and righteousness.”86

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One corollary of savagery was cruelty, condoned in some non-Han who served the Tang loyally (see the example of Geshu Han in the Introduction) but condemned in other non-Han Tang subjects, particularly if they clashed with literati elites, the writers of these accounts.87 Moreover, entire peoples on the Tang’s frontiers, particularly those closely associated with slavery, such as the Malgal in the northeast and the natives of Lingnan in China’s deep south, were described as cruel and violent.88 The ethnographic content of the biographical chapters on foreign peoples in the History of the Sui (Sui shu), written in the first decades of the Tang, reveals that particular deviant behaviors were stereotypically associated with certain geographic regions: there was amorality in the north, transgression of kinship in the west, family fragmentation in the south, and free love in the east.89 This went hand in hand with the project of mapping spaces and peoples based on the assumed close relationship between customs and geography. The most important models in the Chinese written tradition were the Tribute of Yu (Yu Gong; likely to have been composed between the fifth and third centuries b.c.e.) and the History of the Han’s (Han shu) “Treatise on geography” (first century c.e.). Similar stereotypes were also diffused throughout the Tang corpus in a variety of literary, personal, and popular contexts, indicating their important position in Han conceptions of ethnic difference without necessarily being implicated in the exercise of imperialist power. One of the most common motifs illustrating the ethnic Other’s savagery was incomprehension of proper Confucian virtues, particularly xiao, filiality, and li, a concept that incorporated formal ritual, manners, deportment, and general understanding of how to interact within a hierarchically ordered society. When one official tried to dissuade Sui Yangdi from personally leading an invasion of Koguryo in 613, he attempted to downplay the significance of the Koguryan insolence which had led to the uproar: “The barbarians’ [rongdi] lack of propriety [li] is a matter that should be left to your subordinates; one does not use a thousand-pound crossbow to deal with a titmouse.”90 In other words, non-Han lack of propriety at the group level, while deserving a reprimand or a stronger response, was not so extraordinary that it required the imperial presence. Like previous dynasties, the Tang expected and often demanded non-Han acquiescence in the observance of the proper forms of “guest ritual” in order to affirm the hierarchical relations which were integral to the sinocentric cosmology that placed the emperor at the high center.91 The failure to adhere to such expectations could lead to conflict, but these provocations could also be explained away using stereotypes of savagery and ignorance,

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simplistically reducing complex issues and motivations but rendering conflicts easier to resolve. Tang officials regularly debated whether or not it was beneficial for the empire to ameliorate such alleged ignorance. The impulse to “transform through teaching” (jiaohua) conflicted with fears that hostile non-Han could only become more dangerous by leaving their ignorant state. A memorial from the prominent early eighth-century minister Pei Guangting opined that books, including the Confucian classics, ought to be sent to the Tibetan court in the hope of raising the Tibetans out of their savage state and preventing future misunderstandings: “The western barbarians [rong] are unaware of the ritual classics, their hearts are ignorant of virtue and righteousness, thus they have repeatedly broken treaties and unilaterally rejected our state’s beneficence.”92 Others, however, argued that the Tibetans could use the superior knowledge in these books to gain a material and military advantage over the Tang.93 As with the stereotype of simplicity, non-Han could feign ignorance to justify their behavior to a Han audience. When the censor Han Siyan was making an inspection tour of Sichuan in the 650s or early 660s, he came across a wealthy merchant family in the provincial capital of Chengdu whose three brothers were constantly suing each other. Han imprisoned them and then, having starved them for several days, summoned them and offered them milk to drink. Supposedly reminded by the milk of their common mother and their fraternal bonds, they broke down and reformed, vowing to live together harmoniously. They offered this excuse for their previous behavior: “[We] barbarians [manyi] are unaware of filiality and righteousness, and we grew resentful due to divisiveness between our wives and children, thus leading to our present state.”94

Greed The stereotype of non-Han untrustworthiness was frequently extended to a stereotype of non-Han greed, often in conjunction with non-Han bestiality. In 902, the Uighurs offered to send troops to help the Tang deal with military threats from autonomous warlords. Desperate for help and uninterested in the motives of the Uighurs, Emperor Zhaozong ordered the devoted loyalist official Han Wo to write a letter agreeing to the offer. Han, however, successfully remonstrated with the emperor in much the same terms as Sun Renshi had some 240 years before: “The Rong and Di have hearts of beasts and cannot be relied upon or trusted. When they see the extravagance of the leading figures of the state combined with the decrepitude of our cities and towns and

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the poor state of our troops, they will certainly be of a mind to despise China and their greed will be aroused. Moreover, since the Huichang period [841–847] the Uighurs have tasted defeat at the hands of the Central Kingdom. I fear that they will take advantage of this time of danger and repay these grievances. The letter that we send to the qaghan should refer only to ‘minor banditry’ and say that we do not require succor. We should feign embarrassment at his intentions while actually blocking his plans.”95 The trope of non-Han, particularly Inner Asian nomadic, greed for Chinese manufactured goods and the Chinese belief that catering to this desire for goods could halt incursions by militarily superior and rapacious aliens, had already appeared in pre-Qin texts, such as Mencius (Mengzi).96 The Romans and other Eurasian sedentary civilizations similarly saw greed as a major motivation in the seemingly endless nomad attacks for pillage or demands for trade and tribute, the so-called trade or raid phenomenon.97 However, as imperial states like the Tang were often well aware, this “greed” was a product of deeper economic, social, and political factors that were inherent to the structure of nomadic society and nomadic-sedentary relations. Inner Asian nomadic pastoralism was not economically self-sufficient. Despite the existence of some agricultural production in river valleys on the steppe, the nomads relied on inputs from sedentary societies, such as grain, salt, cloth, metals, and manufactured goods of all sorts, for survival and as a way to rid themselves of surplus production.98 In fact, the Tang and other Chinese states were at least as greedy in their quest for horses, the key to military power, as the nomads were to obtain Chinese products.99 Second, social status relied in great measure on the possession and exchange of these materials, particularly as positions of leadership commonly required that the leader distribute wealth to his followers. Third, what political organization was present in nomadic society emerged largely through external pressures and influences. In particular, only supratribal nomadic confederations or empires could effectively carry out the exploitation of the economic resources of sedentary neighbors through organized military expeditions or negotiated tribute and trade settlements.100 The combination of non-Han untrustworthiness and greed was commonly invoked to argue against measures of appeasement. Qapghan Qaghan (Ch. Mochuo), the ruler of the resurgent Second Türk Empire, demanded in 697 that the Chinese polity (at the time the renamed Zhou dynasty under Empress Wu) hand over large numbers of Türks who had previously submitted to the Tang, the lands they occupied, grain, cloth, agricultural tools, and iron. The anti-appeasement party’s spokesman Li Qiao protested: “The barbarians [rongdi] are

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greedy and cannot be trusted. This is what is called ‘lending weapons to raiders and provisioning bandits with one’s own supplies.’ It would be better to organize our troops and resist.”101 Despite these objections, the majority of the court favored appeasing Qapghan Qaghan because of the greater threat posed at that time by a Khitan rebellion. The lands and peoples were ceded and the requested subsidies provided. In fact, though Li’s position was based as much on ideological abstractions as reality, his arguments did prove to be accurate, for these concessions strengthened the Türks and led to greater problems for the Tang in subsequent years.102 Xuanzong eagerly, though somewhat shamefacedly, catered to An Lushan’s greed and ostentation, both of which fed An’s arrogance, by building An a palace in Chang’an that was more sumptuously furnished than the imperial palace.103 During construction, he constantly reminded the royal envoys responsible for requisitioning corvée labor and materials from the imperial storehouses that “Non-Han (hu) are arrogant, so do not [do anything] that would be cause for them to ridicule me.”104 Indeed, while arrogance was articulated as a barbarian stereotype, it was usually associated with greed or another non-Han vice, though it was occasionally referred to by itself as the ethnic Other’s “natural character.”105 Non-Han in the capital and other metropolitan centers were often identified with merchants and other “idlers in the marketplaces” and were condemned as a group for their extravagance in such matters as the construction of tombs, particularly from the reign of Empress Wu on.106 In 824 a “great merchant from Persia” named Li Susha gave the emperor precious eaglewood to be used in the construction of a pavilion, prompting a futile remonstrance by Li Han, the son in-law of Han Yu.107 The relationship between non-Han peoples and extravagance was strongly reinforced by their position as the providers of foreign luxuries. These luxuries were often the objects of Confucian condemnation for the damage they allegedly did to the livelihood of the people and for their corrupting influence on the populace and, particularly, on the emperor. One stereotypical behavior closely associated with ignorance and savagery was the ethnic other’s credulousness. We often encounter depictions of extremes of non-Han childlike amazement at or absorption with some activity. Perhaps the most amusing example of such behavior is alleged to have taken place in 623 when a Tang unit was surrounded and under heavy attack by Tuyuhun forces. The Tang commander placed in front of his lines two female dancers accompanied by a man playing the “Hu lute.” The Tuyuhun set down their bows

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and gaped at the spectacle in rapt fascination, allowing the commander to send out a flanking force of cavalry and thoroughly defeat the enemy.108 Credulousness, as well as many other stereotypical characteristics, could be traced to a lack of self-control, revealed most strongly in displays of greed and in a general lack of restraint or moderation. Indeed, an almost universal feature of ethnic discourse is the willful interpretation of the outsider’s transgressions of self-defined normative social and cultural boundaries to mean that the Other lacks the notion of boundaries (rather than understanding that the Other has defined its own boundaries of behavior) and therefore does not possess selfcontrol (often configured in Western ethnic discourse in terms of hypersexuality, lack of proper sexual role-playing, and profligacy in the use of resources).109 Tang writers perceived this trait both in the general lifestyle of non-Han ethnic groups and in their perceived chaotic social and political organization. Indeed, Han elites construed the existential threat to Chinese culture and Han identity posed by nonHan culture, such as stereotypically “barbarian clothing” (hufu), as derived from non-Han culture and society’s inability to maintain proper distinctions of social and political rank, gender difference, and occupational class.110 Warfare on the frontier was characterized by a considerable lack of restraint on the part of both the imperial forces and the non-Han when it came to the treatment of local populations and their property, not to mention prisoners of war. Looting and destruction of property, particularly livestock, and the massacre or wholesale enslavement of prisoners and noncombatants was universal. Tang armies frequently killed captured males and divided up the females and livestock, often splitting the booty with their non-Han allies.111 Besides the economic benefits, contemporary sources reveal that soldiers gained merit and advancement based in part on their haul of human and other plunder.112 The imperial armies also practiced a scorched-earth policy against foreign populations, for example burning Tibetan crops during incursions.113 Similarly, non-Han attackers captured Tang subjects and enslaved them. Tang sources sometimes portray Han captives as preferring to kill themselves rather than surrender, either motivated by honor and fear of rape or out of worry that their relatives would be punished by the Tang state, but these cases undoubtedly represent only a minority of the total, given the large numbers of Han captives and their descendants reported in contemporary documents.114 It is not surprising, then, that warfare inspired some of the most derogatory, as well as some of the most positive, stereotypes about nonHan. On the negative side, consonant with savagery and ignorance, was

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the belief in non-Han bloodthirstiness. From the Chinese perspective, non-Han, particularly the nomads of Inner Asia, fought because it was their livelihood, because their upbringing suited them to it, and, most fundamentally, because it was their nature to do so. This perception was somewhat rooted in social and ecological realities, for steppe society was relatively more militarized and had a potential for mass mobilization that far exceeded that of its sedentary neighbors and was most fully realized during the rise of the Mongols. However, accounts of the innate aggressiveness of nomads are overblown. Steppe-sedentary conflict and intrasteppe warfare stemmed from many economic and social factors that fluctuated over time, among them demands for trade, internally driven expansion on the part of both steppe and sedentary polities, and tribalization resulting from sedentary state efforts to regularize and control steppe populations on the frontier.115 Yet, reality had little appreciable effect on the stereotyping rhetoric of much Tang discourse, particularly in the highly stylized genre of frontier poetry. Li Bo, discussing the Inner Asian nomads of his own time in the guise of the archetypal nomads of Chinese discourse, the Han-era Xiongnu, wrote, “Killing and slaughtering is their plowing.”116 Tang writers frequently used archaic ethnonyms, particularly those dating back to the Han dynasty, in part because that dynasty served as the cultural and political model of empire for Tang elites and its precedents were well known among even the least educated. Furthermore, the Qin-Han period also marked the emergence of the first Inner Asian nomadic state to neighbor China, the Xiongnu. The Xiongnu were, in the eyes of ethnic Han elites, the political and ethnic progenitors of later steppe confederations stretching down to the Türks and Uighurs of the Tang period. This substitution, while most common in poetry, also intruded into political discourse and even into policy discussions, sometimes creating confusion, even at the time, over whether the events referred to were those of the present or the remote past.117 The Xiongnu (the Sinitic characters used to transcribe the sound of their name literally mean “fearsome slaves”) had become the symbol of steppe barbarism. The name of the Xiongnu thus occupied a position in Chinese discourse similar to that in Western discourse of the Scythians of early antiquity and the Huns of late antiquity and the medieval period. The most common positive articulated stereotype was that of the martial non-Han ideally suited for warfare. The northern nomads, with their expertise in horsemanship and mounted archery, were the chief, but by no means the only, objects of this stereotype. Of course, this stereotype could easily be fraught with negative consequences from the Han perspective when the skilled alien fighters were opponents of the Tang. In

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such cases, the militarily superior ethnic Other was often conceived of not in human terms but either as a natural scourge or as the manifestation of sheer savagery. In either case, the focus was not on their fighting qualities per se but on the destructiveness that resulted. When such qualities were possessed by Tang allies or subjects, however, their benefits were naturally pointed out more frequently than their disadvantages. This was due as much to conscious efforts to keep morale high in the face of increasing military weakness as it was a reflection of a particular cultural agenda. This stereotype was not unique to ethnic Others. Besides recognizing that certain ethnic groups were uniquely suited for combat, many Han, particularly those from the northern border provinces of the empire that had partially acculturated to non-Han norms, or other areas, such as Sichuan, that had traditionally produced swashbuckling warriors known as xia (often translated as “knights-errant”), were also believed to be predisposed to martialism. Many of the most famous Tang poets, whose work was extremely influential in forming the ethos of the age, led knight-errant lifestyles in their youth and wrote about such behavior in their poetry, most notably Gao Shi, Meng Haoran, and Li Bo. Not only was knight-errantry idealized for its brand of morality and comradeship, it also had practical benefits as a means for men of obscure birth to attract attention and patronage, paralleling the way that non-Han could rise to high-ranking positions as fanjiang through military exploits.118 The topoi relating to skill at riding and archery that are commonly repeated in the opening sections of the biographies and epitaphs of non-Han military figures were also applied to Han military men, particularly those from the aforementioned regions of China. A typical example is that of Xue Ju (d. 618), the scion of a family of local bravos and elites in a key commandery on the northwest frontier who is described as “having an imposing appearance, fierce and cruel, an excellent archer, and possessing brave and martial qualities that surpassed the common run.”119 Articulated stereotypes of military prowess among non-Han typically took the form of statements such as Li Linfu’s remark at court that “non-Han are skilled at fighting and brave”120 and, from a later eighthcentury memorial, “Heaven gave birth to the Four Yi who are all skilled in warfare.”121 Occasionally, different non-Han ethnic groups would be compared with one another, with the politically dominant group at the time asserted to be the most martial, such as a mid-eighth-century statement by a prominent Han frontier general that the Türks were more martial than other non-Han.122 Non-Han groups were often contrasted favorably with their Han counterparts, the latter being characterized, particularly after the seventh century, as mediocre soldiers or

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helpless farmers. The early ninth-century poet Li He wrote, “Heaven taught the nomad horsemen how to fight,” while Han soldiers were “timid old men from the village.”123 The stereotype both influenced and was borne out in actual military practice. The frontier generals under An Lushan and his rebel associates, commanding an ethnically mixed and battle-seasoned force from the northeast, had no hesitation in engaging in battle with large formations of Han levies but avoided confronting small units of Uighur nomads serving with the imperial forces.124 In contrast, the stereotypical Han soldier was believed to be best suited for defensive warfare and static tactics, if properly trained and equipped with the crossbow.125 Li Linfu, the dominant figure at court from 736 to 752, was the greatest promoter of the military governor system and the use of fanjiang within this system. The system gave great autonomy and administrative power to local military commanders, breaking with previous Tang practice, and was influential in the professionalization and “barbarization” of the Tang military.126 Therefore, Li was one of the most prominent disseminators of the stereotype of non-Han martiality, probably contributing to the hardening of Han/non-Han boundary mechanisms and non-Han ethnic loyalty in the run-up to the An Lushan rebellion.127 Although Li’s argument for using fanjiang or Han from obscure backgrounds as frontier military governors was that their skills and experience best suited them for the largely military responsibilities of the office, Li’s aim was political. He wanted to pick military governors who would be dependent on him while at court.128 He also wanted to short-circuit the pattern whereby educated Han elites built up their reputations and bases of support on the frontier and then were transferred to ministerial positions in the capital, where they could challenge Li’s own power.129 Li calculated that non-Han and socially obscure Han military governors, due to their lack of education and background, would never be promoted to important positions in the central bureaucracy. Courage was also perceived as a hallmark of the non-Han character, particularly the character of the Inner Asian steppe people, and was grudgingly praised even within largely negative portrayals: a Du Fu poem praised the bravery of the Uighurs, while at the same time decrying their destructiveness in putting down An Lushan’s rebellion.130 Bravery also had significance beyond its contribution to one’s effectiveness in battle, as it was among the qualities that ensured tribal leaders and fanjiang (who were often one and the same) the support and high morale of followers, whose loyalty was conditional on their leader’s charisma and ties of kinship and patronage.131 The importance of kinship ties in steppe political charisma and legitimacy and the resulting

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overlap between tribal aristocracies, personal guards, and administrating officials went back on the Inner Asian steppe to the Scythians of the first millennium B.C.E. and was a regular feature of “tribal” societies that lacked permanently functioning bureaucracies and had weak political centers, characteristic of most of the non-Han peoples neighboring the Tang.132 There is a great deal consistency in the themes and usage of stereotypes throughout the period. This can be attributed to the tendency for stereotypes, particularly in their role as ideologies in reserve for rhetorical arguments by Tang elites, to be conservative, as well as to the powerful influence of previous literary precedents. The relative openness of the frontier and the resulting continued presence in Tang society of recently arrived migrants who had not yet acculturated to Chinese norms continued to offer to Tang writers examples of non-Han who seemed to match stereotypical cultural expectations. In addition, flexibility was the fundamental characteristic of stereotypes and their attendant topoi. Virtually every topos could be appropriated and, like a cell infected by a virus, have new meanings inserted into it. What was also constant about the role of both articulated and unarticulated stereotypes in Tang ethnic discourse was the way that they constantly expressed both support and criticism of the presence of ethnic Others in the Tang empire and along its borders. Non-Han could be both stereotypically loyal and disloyal and could use their martial ability and savagery for the defense of the dynasty or to undermine it. This reflected not only the observable social and political milieu but also a deep-seated ambiguity in Tang discourse about the contribution of ethnic difference to the power and longevity of the empire and the power of Tang literate elites. This ambiguity flowed from the ethnically and culturally mixed background of the Tang founding elites and their successors and also from the undeniable prominence and power of non-Han within the empire and the increasing impotence of the literati. The objects of the stereotypes, the ostensibly “barbarian” non-Han, rather than submitting passively to their objectification and essentialization, were often able to turn stereotypes to their own advantage. Yet, there were no attempts to question the fundamental validity of stereotypes and the ethnic identities that they marked off. Rather, individuals sought in their expressive discourse to use the stereotypes in innovative ways or, as we have seen previously in the case of the Indian monk Vajrabodhi, refine or redefine their own ethnic identities so as to break out of the confinement of the Han/non-Han dichotomy. Because instances of innovative usages, such as that by Wang Jun, were motivated by immediate concerns and varied

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according to the individual’s own situation, it is difficult to draw general conclusions about diachronic change based on stereotypes alone. The primary interpretive value of stereotypes for Chinese history lies in what they reveal about the image of the authorial Han Self, an image whose strength derived in large measure from its perceived permanence. This apparently timeless image or worldview, that of the non-“barbarian,” the ethnically non-non-Han, was largely defined by Tang educated elites working within a tradition heavily defined by the Confucian canon. However, this worldview was, arguably, assimilated in large degree by elites and non-elites as a whole. We can thus put forward the following definitions of the Han Self as defined by the stereotypes examined: 1. Unlike the non-Han, who is only trustworthy and loyal in exceptional circumstances and whose loyalty is often predicated upon the particular circumstances and the hope of immediate gains, the loyalty of the Han is constant, rooted in unchanging moral principles, an adherence to a Confucian cosmology based on hierarchical relations, and the core value of filiality. 2. As a corollary to (1), non-Han inconstancy and lack of self-control leads them to seek personal gain in a manner similar to animals, and the high standards of civilization held to by the Han Self may be threatened by close proximity to such behavior. 3. The Han Self is not born but is constructed through a process of education based on the teachings of the Confucian classics and the inculcation of proper deportment and ritual. In contrast, environmental influences on the non-Han Other, unchecked by this transforming education, leads to the development of rude and uncontrolled hordes whose only potential benefit to the empire is their military prowess. 4. The Han Self is fundamentally rational but passive, while the nonHan Other is irrational but active.

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Buddhism as a Foreign Religion

The early eighth-century edict ordering the expulsion of “barbarian monks from foreign lands,” which sparked the reaction from Vajrabodhi described in the Introduction, implicitly acknowledged that Buddhism had become too deeply rooted in Han society and Chinese culture to allow for a broader expulsion or prohibition (although Wuzong was to make an ill-fated attempt more than a century later). However, the phrase also hints at the extent to which Buddhism’s critics perceived the religion’s alien connections and foreign origins as central to the Buddhist “threat,” even when the targets of the critics’ ire were largely Han practitioners of Buddhism. Buddhism had first entered China in the Han dynasty and, by the Northern and Southern Dynasties, was ubiquitous. The concerns its popularity and power provoked in proponents of Buddhism’s chief rivals—Daoism and Confucianism—and selfappointed defenders of autochthonous Chinese culture resulted in regular debates, periodically recorded by polemicists from all sides, over the uses and dangers of Buddhism. Because of the prominent place accorded to the issue of Buddhism’s foreign connections, these debates were often the most explicit examinations of the boundaries of Chinese culture and, by extension, Han ethnicity. Indeed, discourse on Buddhism as a foreign religion—foreign both in its origins and in its perceived antipathy to native “Chinese” values—in Chinese texts up through the Tang, and in the Tang writings on the topic in particular, we can easily discern all four of the major themes of discourse on ethnicity: the body, genealogy, culture, and politics. This chapter explores the ways in which Buddhism’s Tang critics, who were exclusively Han, constructed Buddhism as inextricably tied to the ethnic and cultural Other and therefore hostile to the Han people and the Chinese culture and polity. In this construction, they offered some of the most strident and explicit definitions of the “barbarian” Other in the Tang sources, revealing which boundary mechanisms they considered central to Han and Chinese identity. Buddhism’s defenders, most of whom were Han themselves, offered their own alternative accounts of Buddhism’s foreignness and the nature of ethnic difference to argue for

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the appropriateness of their faith to China. The genre of polemical literature on the subject is extraordinarily important for an understanding of the construction of ethnic identity in the Tang, not only because it represents the most comprehensive and sustained attempt to define Chinese versus foreign culture from varying perspectives but also because it presents the most coherent body of extant contemporary writings that offer an alternative to the overwhelmingly sinocentric discourse of the Tang corpus. Tang discourse on Buddhism as a foreign religion reveals disparate views on the nature of Buddhism’s foreignness and of “barbarism” in general and presents different ethnic hierarchies and alternate cultural cosmologies that challenge the conventional notion of Tang culture as an assimilationist juggernaut.

Buddhism in China and Anti-Buddhist Polemic More religions of foreign origin were practiced on Chinese soil during the Tang than in any other period, with the exception of the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368) when China was the eastern end of a Mongol-ruled oikoumene that stretched to Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. The most prominent imported faith in the Tang was Buddhism. Compared to the other universal religions present in China by the eighth century— Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Nestorian Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—Buddhism was vastly more popular, powerful, and entrenched among both Han and non-Han. It was also of much longer standing. Although its arrival and early history in China are still obscure, there were practicing Buddhists in China by the end of the first century C.E. Over the course of the Eastern Han, Buddhism received the attention and patronage of the court, infiltrated its way into popular cults, and became established in monastic communities where the first translation projects were initiated. During the Wei, Jin, and Northern and Southern Dynasties, Buddhism became, in the words of earlier scholars, “domesticated” or “sinicized,” though this characterization has since been challenged. Many important works were translated into Chinese from South and Inner Asian languages—such as Pali, Sanskrit, Parthian, and Khotanese—and large numbers of people at all levels of society became clerics or lay followers. Buddhist motifs in painting, sculpture, architecture, and literature became ubiquitous, and apocryphal texts and entire schools of Buddhism were soon created in China.1 The two great schools of Chinese Buddhism, Chan and Pure Land, though already popular in the Tang, did not become the dominant theological and institutional forms of Buddhism until the Song dynasty.2 However, Buddhism was certainly permanently implanted in China as a mass religious and cultural phenomenon, with all its attendant social

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and economic institutions, during the Northern Wei (386–534) in the north and under the Liang (502–557) in the south. However, Buddhism’s foreign origins were still clearly evident in the Tang. Buddhist Sanskrit and Pali terms were widely used in daily speech, and their foreign origins had not yet been effaced. Many people were familiar with opaque Buddhist magical incantations, and even some of the most common Buddhist religious utterances would have still seemed exotic to the Chinese speaker.3 Chinese monks regularly returned from India and Central Asia with scriptures and holy relics that became the objects of popular acclamation and public festivals and could provoke frenzies of religious fervor, most famously a reputed bone from the historical Buddha’s finger that provoked an irate memorial from Han Yu (see below). Monks from virtually every part of Asia spread throughout China, so the figure of the “barbarian monk” (huseng) became a common sight, recorded in belles-lettres and sober historiography. It is thus not surprising that Tang critics of Buddhism continued their predecessors’ arguments and claimed that the faith’s foreign origins were a primary source of its danger, justifying restrictions and even proscription. Although the most famous proscription of Buddhism in Chinese history, the Huichang suppression of 844–846, took place in the Tang, antiBuddhist polemics and official measures, as well as general social opposition to Buddhism, were much more severe in the era of the Northern and Southern Dynasties. Debates then between Buddhist monks, Daoist priests, and Confucian literati were frequent and often quite confrontational.4 The same issues and interests that sparked these polemics continued into the Sui and Tang. However, increased elite tolerance for Buddhism, stagnation and complacency among Daoists and Confucians, and the vested interest of the state in maintaining stability and a broad base of support greatly reduced the level of antagonism toward Buddhism. Indeed, the Tang regime fairly consistently promoted accommodation between the three doctrines. This was particularly evident in Tang “debates on the three teachings,” imperially sponsored public debates between Buddhists, Confucians, and Daoists. In the Tang, unlike in previous dynasties, these debates were designed not to be confrontational but to highlight the benefits of each faith and to arrive at an implicit compromise, if not an explicit synthesis.5 From the state’s perspective, Buddhism’s broad appeal and powerful institutions offered the greatest benefits of the three doctrines in terms of legitimacy and popular influence but also posed the greatest danger if left unregulated. Thus, the government patronized particular orthodox schools, networks of officially sponsored Buddhist temples, and prominent monks, while circumscribing the independence and power of the organized Buddhist church as a whole. The court, with the sup-

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port of the bureaucracy, pursued this dual agenda to preserve the regime’s own power and maintain the existing social order. Above all, with a few notable exceptions, it avoided threatening the significant economic and ideological investments made in Buddhism by the ruling family, elites, and the general populace.6 However, the inherent tensions in pursuing these frequently contradictory goals, as well as the fact that Buddhism’s institutional expansion and potential encroachment on court and bureaucratic prerogatives continued throughout most of the Tang, meant that state discussions regarding Buddhism took place regularly. Surviving anti-Buddhist polemics and responses by Buddhism’s defenders usually take the form of memorials or other communications to the emperor followed by the imperial response, whether it be an unofficial remark at court captured in surviving records or an edict or statute. The issues raised by Tang anti-Buddhist polemicists were fundamentally identical to those in prior centuries.7 First, they argued, Buddhism was an economic drain and reduced government revenues due to the taxfree status of lands owned by temples and monasteries, many of which served as convenient tax shelters for the wealthy; the use of immense quantities of donations, particularly items made from copper, for the construction of buildings, holy images, and other items of no apparent benefit to the state or the livelihood of the people and possibly detrimental to both (the Tang faced recurrent fiscal crises due to shortages of copper needed to produce currency); the immunity of many monks and nuns from taxation and corvée labor; and the large numbers of slave and semifree households attached to monasteries that were likewise shielded to differing degrees from state efforts to extract resources and labor.8 Buddhism’s critics maintained that behaviors deriving from the Buddhist-prescribed separation of secular and religious spheres, particularly the refusal of monks and nuns to perform obeisance to their parents and the emperor, irrevocably conflicted with the values of filiality and loyalty, seen as the cornerstones of the Tang Empire and Chinese society.9 Third, there were concerns over unofficial ordinations, violations of the monastic code of conduct, and the growth of unauthorized heterodox sects of Buddhism. Fourth, there were often acrimonious disputes over the relative ranking of Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism at state-sponsored rituals. Fifth, there were anxieties over the detrimental effect Buddhism had, either directly or simply by its mere presence in China, on the longevity of previous dynasties. Sixth, the Confucian literati were sensitive to associations between Buddhist institutions and holders of power outside traditional bureaucratic channels, namely, palace women, imperial in-laws, and eunuchs.

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The intensity of polemical exchanges over Buddhism fluctuated over the course of the dynasty. Prior to the Huichang suppression, debate was sharpest in the early decades of the Tang, first as Emperor Gaozu installed Daoism as the official faith of the dynasty, claiming the semilegendary Daoist philosopher Laozi as the imperial ancestor,10 and then as he and Taizong attempted to resolve Daoist versus Buddhist precedence and institute strict state controls over Buddhism, which had been heavily patronized by the Sui emperors, particularly the devout Sui Wendi. Buddhism and Daoism both received increasingly strong support under Gaozong, and Empress Wu elevated Buddhism to the highest position in the official pantheon as she displaced the Tang dynasty with her own short-lived Zhou dynasty and drew on Buddhism as a major source of legitimacy. For a brief period she even added Maitreya, the Buddha of the future, to her list of official titles and otherwise indicated that she was an incarnation of Maitreya.11 Although Xuanzong raised to new heights imperial patronage of Daoism and made many more attempts than his recent predecessors to regulate the Buddhist church,12 he also patronized Buddhism, as did all subsequent Tang emperors with the exception of Wuzong, the instigator of the Huichang suppression. However, there was a great deal of fluctuation in the degree of support that the post–An Lushan emperors provided to Buddhist institutions. It waxed in cases of strong personal beliefs—Daizong and Xianzong were particularly devout Buddhists—or a high degree of reliance on the perceived ability of Buddhism to protect the state, as in the case of Suzong and Dezong’s patronage of Tantric Buddhism and its main representative at court, Amoghavajra. It waned when emperors such as Wenzong and Wuzong assessed the drain of Buddhist institutions on the moral fiber, political stability, and economic well-being of the empire to be too great.13

The Foreignness of Buddhism in Polemical Discourse The foreign origins of Buddhism and the association of Buddhism with non-Han ethnic groups was, thus, only one of a number of themes in anti-Buddhist polemic during the Tang. Compared to the arguments summarized above, the significance of Buddhism’s foreignness in the debates of the period, particularly its use in justifying the Huichang suppression and other anti-Buddhist state measures, was not decisive in itself. The weight of official rhetoric, particularly when legitimizing actively repressive or regulatory measures, focused on economic and social arguments. Such justifications presumably were able to sway a wider segment of the bureaucracy while avoiding unnecessary and potentially inflammatory expressions of ethnic prejudice. Indeed, exclusive criticism of Buddhism’s Indian origins could backfire, as the Tang imperial

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family eagerly made use of Indian science, employing Indian doctors, thaumaturges, and other specialists, even in the face of criticism from Confucian moralizers.14 Many emperors also had a healthy respect for Indian culture, as shown by Taizong’s detailed questioning of the renowned Chinese monk Xuanzang following the latter’s return from a pilgrimage to South Asia.15 Moreover, Buddhism’s defenders did not dispute Buddhism’s Indian origins. On the contrary, they were even forced on occasion to defend Buddhism’s Indian origins against the highly contentious Daoist claim that Laozi, following his famous disappearance after passing westward through the Hangu Pass east of Chang’an, went to India where, pitying the savagery of the native “barbarians” (hu), he converted them using teachings more suited to their base condition and became the historical Buddha. The assertion that Laozi was the historical Buddha first appeared in a memorial presented in 166 by Xiang Kai, a stereotypical Confucian remonstrating official and one of the first critics of Buddhism. Around 300, Wang Fou made this assertion the centerpiece of his Sutra on the conversion of the barbarians (Huahu jing), thereby incorporating it into the mainstream of anti-Buddhist polemical discourse.16 The popularity of the Huahu jing among Buddhism’s critics was such that it was continuously expanded and modified in subsequent centuries and was even regularly cited and targeted in pro-Buddhist polemics. The Huahu jing and related works also attempted to attribute other foreign religions, such as Manichaeism, to Daoist inspiration, but their assertions with regard to Buddhism were always the most controversial and caused the most trouble. To prove or disprove the text’s main thesis, Daoist and Buddhist polemicists from the third century on attributed earlier and earlier birthdates to Laozi and the historical Buddha, and the Buddhists created their own apocrypha claiming that Laozi and other Chinese sages were manifestations of the Buddha or even Bodhisattvas.17 Debate over these claims reached new heights of contentiousness in the early Tang, but the text itself was proscribed in 668, revived in 696, and proscribed again in 705.18 However, Tang officials proposing measures restricting or regulating Buddhism continued to use the argument that “Laozi converted the barbarians” in their memorials even after the Huahu jing itself had been banned.19 The proscribed text lived on, spreading to Japan by the late ninth century and surviving in China until a thorough proscription under the Yuan dynasty left only a few fragments. Tang discourse on Buddhism’s foreign associations incorporated theories on Buddhism’s origins, arguments over contemporary and historical political and cultural associations between Buddhism and non-Han (both inside and outside China), and Buddhism’s relationship to ostensibly Chinese norms based on Confucian, Daoist, or other doctrines.

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The divergent opinions that emerged, particularly those of Buddhism’s harshest critics and its most trenchant defenders, reveal an important distinction within the overcall discourse on ethnicity, namely, the difference between constructing manifestations of the Other as evil and constructing them as something separate or apart, and thus appropriate for the Other but not for the Self. In the former case, some critics saw Buddhism as an irredeemably evil doctrine by virtue of its origins in a degenerate “barbarian” culture. Not only was it deleterious to the inhabitants of China, it was one of the main bulwarks of non-Han resistance to the influences of Chinese culture and imperial suasion, that is, to the acculturating and assimilating mission that many Han elites saw as the only means of ensuring the survival of the Han people. The main proponents of such a position, like Fu Yi and Han Yu, were spurred by sectarianism and cultural conservatism. Buddhist apologists, particularly those who were steeped in elite Chinese culture, defended Buddhism as a product of a different culture with alien characteristics that nevertheless expressed the same universal truths as Daoism and Confucianism. Implicit in this argument was the assumption of not only the common humanity of Han and non-Han but also the value of certain non-Han cultures and the legitimacy of those cultures as entities external to Chinese civilization, thus breaking down the equation between non-Han ethnicity and the stereotype of the uncivilized and undifferentiated barbarian. However, the latter position, like the Jim Crow laws, often continued to reflect negative stereotypes and prejudicial attitudes toward non-Han in the guise of an egalitarian position of “separate but equal.” In fact, some anti-Buddhist polemicists used this same argument, acknowledging Buddhism’s good qualities, to support the expulsion of non-Han Buddhists and even the proscription of Buddhism as a worthwhile religion for some but as something that was unsuited to China.

Fu Yi: Daoist Separatist Fu Yi, an ordained Daoist priest who successively served a Sui prince and the Tang court as an astrologer, was virulently anti-Buddhist, probably as much for professional reasons as from personal conviction.20 On his deathbed he admonished his sons not to study Buddhist texts, a frequent final gesture of cultural conservatives in the Tang. He composed a large number of memorials during the reigns of Gaozu and Taizong (seven in 626 alone, though only a few have been partially or wholly preserved) arguing for the complete elimination of Buddhism in China. They met with an angry response by Buddhist clergy and the majority of Tang officials. In one court debate on the merits of various re-

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ligions held at the order of Gaozu, the minister Xiao Yu, a scion of the devoutly Buddhist Liang royal house and an active defender of Buddhism who became a monk after his retirement, was accused by Fu Yi of being unfilial, one of the standard charges against Buddhists. The minister did not rise to the bait but merely said, “Hell was made for people like him.”21 In the two selections from Fu Yi’s memorials below, he links the alleged evils of Buddhism with the religion’s non-Han origins and associations: [In the era before Buddhism came to China] there were no barbarian [yi] deities in the emerald seas . . . Everyone revered the teachings of Confucius and Laozi because there was no barbarian [hu] Buddha. Then a golden man appeared in a dream of Emperor Han Mingdi [r. 57–75] while he slept at night, and Fu Yi,22 responding to an imperial request, determined that the man was a barbarian [hu] deity. During the Later Han there were no Buddhists in the Central Plain. Only a fraction of the barbarian [yi] of the Wei and Jin were believers. . . . Lü Guang rebelled against his ruler on the pretence of campaigning against the barbarians [hu] and established himself in the western lands.23 From that time forward the evil barbarians [hu] multiplied and flourished, and the majority of them mixed together with the Han [hua] . . . The dissolute language of the evil barbarians [hu] was even used in the studies of the Confucians. It is warped like the singing of frogs, and in listening to it the root of Confucianism was lost. Its stink is like that of a fish shop,24 and those who had contact with it lost their fine fragrance . . . corvée laborers and skilled craftsmen do nothing but set up mud barbarians [hu] [Buddhist statues]. They strike Chinese [huaxia] bells and gather together the false crowds of barbarian [fan] monks to dazzle the ears and eyes of the innocent folk. . . . I ask that the heretical teachings of the barbarian [hu] deity (the Buddha) return to India and all the monks be sent back to their hometowns.25 The barbarian [hu] soldiers of the [Western Regions] eight countries total 1,891 . . . They campaign against each other, killing people and destroying states. How much more worrisome, then, is the present situation in the Great Tang where there are 200,000 monks of tax-paying age? If they were to unite together through their barbarian [hu] law, they could gain public support. It would be preferable [to eliminate Buddhism] so as not to have to prepare a de´ fense against them. . . . I have heard that Sakyamuni (the historical Buddha) was born in India and that many of Buddhism’s practices come from the western barbarians [fan]. Confucius did not transmit his name, and the canons do not acclaim his merit and virtue. He was actually revered by distant barbarians [yi] and was not a teacher of China. . . . In the Western Regions barbarians [hu] are born out of mud. Therefore they naturally worship pagodas and statues made from mud and tile. Today they still have the stench of fur and the faces of men but the hearts of beasts. The four categories of monks, owls, donkeys, and mules are the evil spawn of greed and contrariness. Buddhism gives off this evil and bewitching effluvia and its temples hold licentious and heterodox sacrifices. Simple people believe the meaningless claims of beguiling barbarians [hu] that building a temple will bring prosperity. . . . If we were to transmit the teachings of Confucius to the Western Regions, the barbarians

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[hu] would certainly be unwilling to practice them. . . . The Buddha is a household ghost of one particular clan and cannot simultaneously act as a ghost for other lineages. How can a living Han [han] be urged to give offerings to a dead barbarian [yi]? This is a case of cheapening a bright jewel [Confucianism] and treating a fish eye [Buddhism] as precious. . . . To administer the people all that is needed is one chapter of the Classic of filial piety [Xiao jing] and two chapters of the Laozi; there is no need for the Buddhist texts to be widely read.26

These two memorials were written in 621, a few years after the Tang’s founding. The dynasty was still consolidating power, and the northern regions of the empire were in a profound state of flux. Several large armies and a plethora of smaller forces, many made up of non-Han or even under the control of independent non-Han polities, such as the Eastern Türks, crisscrossed China seeking an area to politically dominate or simply plunder.27 In this atmosphere it is not surprising that Fu Yi’s critiques were far ranging and quite direct. His most salient criticisms of Buddhism’s alien connections invoke genealogical, political, and cultural themes and the motif of non-Han bestiality. He not only refers to Buddhism’s distant geographic origins among the “western barbarians” but also argues that the Buddha, as an ethnic Other, had usurped Confucius’ place within the Han lineage writ large and perverted one of the core Confucian values, reverence for and worship of one’s ancestors. He attributes stereotypical non-Han immoral behaviors like deception and licentiousness to Buddhism’s practitioners, particularly monks. Fu Yi even attributes the explosion of Buddhism in China to the original sin of Lü Guang’s rebellion and establishment of a Hanruled state in the Western Regions, thereby implicating Buddhism in the stereotypical non-Han trait of disloyalty transferred to a Han general “barbarized” through his contact with non-Han peoples and lands (Fu Jian, the Former Qin ruler who had dispatched Lü on his original mission, was himself non-Han.) More noteworthy, given the immediate political context of his remarks, is Fu Yi’s argument that Buddhism was a central feature of the highly regrettable pattern of non-Han invasion, migration, and political domination that the founders of the Tang saw as a shameful part of China’s past whose repetition was to be avoided at all costs. Although many Tang founding elites were themselves of non-Han ancestry and culture, they hoped to promote an imperial founding myth and unified imperial style and culture whose legitimacy was based on its indisputable identification as culturally Chinese and representative of the Han people, and thus as the worthy inheritor of the Han dynasty. The Tang’s founding myth, besides establishing a Chinese cultural identity that transcended the ruling family’s non-Han origins, was predicated on the Tang’s achievements in wiping out the shame of non-Han conquests in-

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side China during the preceding centuries, in part by conquering nonHan peoples throughout East and Inner Asia. In both passages, Fu Yi depicts Buddhism’s infection of Chinese culture as paralleling and implicitly complicit in the spread of non-Han peoples in China and their pollution of the previously “innocent” Han populace. (The prominent role of non-Han, particularly those coming from outside China, in the dissemination of Buddhism in China was conceded by Buddhism’s defenders.) However, he is careful to create a clear delineation between the non-Han Buddhists and the generic Han commoners, contrasting “barbarian monks” with “innocent people” and “beguiling barbarians” with “simple people.” Fu Yi selects Confucianism, not Daoism, as the native cultural tradition to contrast with Buddhism. This choice was probably the result of conditions in the early Tang prior to the official elevation of Daoism, when it was to the advantage of the dynasty to promote an image of Confucian orthodoxy in court debate in order to attract as broad a base of elite support as possible. In addition, Fu Yi’s own position at court likely played a role. As a recent defector to the Tang cause, he would have been reluctant to push strongly any views that would have made him look like a Daoist fanatic. Confucianism’s favored position at the early Tang court is further supported by the fact that the first Three Teachings debate of the dynasty, held in 624, was won by the Confucian scholar Lu Deming. Daoism was not officially ranked ahead of Confucianism and Buddhism until 625, and only in 637 was it explicitly connected in a public imperial pronouncement with the royal house.28 Fu Yi mainly uses the term hu to refer to the originators and disseminators of Buddhism. Here and in other Buddhist polemics, hu combines the semantic fields of generic “barbarian” (which is how I have largely translated it in Fu Yi’s and other anti-Buddhist polemical works) and non-Han of the “Western Regions” (Xiyu; modern-day Xinjiang, Uzbekistan, southern Kazakhstan, and parts of Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan), the latter being the template for many stereotypical characteristics that were mapped onto all non-Han in much of Tang discourse. Many of these characteristics come out in Fu Yi’s polemics quoted above, including militarism, offensive smells, and ugly and incomprehensible speech. In addition, Fu Yi moves beyond the mainstream Tang genealogical definitions of non-Han ethnicity—which simply defined non-Han through their descent from ancestors from outside the historically accepted boundaries of China—with an explicitly racialist discourse positing hu as a separate species with non-human characteristics. He describes hu as “born out of mud” and condemns their mixing (za) with the Han population, probably referring to their integration into China’s communities but also to intermarriage. The position that Hu and Han were

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fundamentally different contributes to Fu Yi’s assessment in the second passage that non-Han are impervious to the transforming influence of Confucianism and thus to civilization in general: “If we were to transmit the teachings of Confucius to the Western Regions, the barbarians would certainly be unwilling to practice them.” The next two passages date from a similarly politically delicate period, the transition between the reigns of Gaozu and Taizong following the latter’s short but bloody coup d’état. Fu Yi wrote the first passage shortly before Gaozu ordered a purge in June 626 of both Buddhist and Daoist clergies and a reduction in the number of their temples, probably for financial reasons. The order was repealed a month later (July 7), three days after Taizong’s coup.29 When the Buddha was in the Western Regions, his words were evil and beguiling but the path they had to travel to China was long. Once the barbarian [hu] books were translated into Sinitic, however, then Buddhists could recklessly make false claims. . . .30 Han Mingdi31 first established barbarian [hu] deities in China using his dream as a pretext, and the monks of the Western Regions themselves transmitted their law. During the Western Jin the state had strict regulations and did not allow people from the Central Kingdom to take the tonsure. But when Fu Jian, Shi Hu, and other Qiang and Hu brought chaos to China, when rulers were mediocre and ministers sycophantic, when administrations were cruel and reigns short, these were all due to the catastrophes inflicted by Buddhist teachings.32 The Buddha is the slyest and craftiest of the barbarians [hu] of the Western Regions and he deceives the northern barbarians [yidi]. Buddhism first took root in the Western Regions and then gradually flowed into the Central Kingdom. Those in the Central Kingdom who revere its teachings are all evil petty men. They copy the profound words of Zhuangzi and Laozi in order to decorate and embellish their own wicked and illusory teachings. They are of no benefit to the common people and do harm to the state.33

The first passage continues the themes of non-Han externality and immorality, at the same time placing even greater emphasis on the politically detrimental effects of Buddhism. Perhaps Fu Yi foresaw the coming political storm that culminated in Taizong’s murder of two of his brothers (including the heir apparent) and deposal of his father, Gaozu, and wished to show the political utility of a Buddhist repression. In contrast, Fu Yi’s speech to Taizong takes an entirely different tack. He drops the history lessons and the firm distinctions between bad non-Han and good Han. Now the Buddha, though the epitome of barbarian trickery, is charged with deceiving non-Han and Han alike. This position of greater even-handedness, even sympathy, for the ethnic Other was consonant with Taizong’s imperial discourse that stressed the unity of Han and non-Han under the Tang Empire. Fu Yi’s depiction here of Buddhism as

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an evil doctrine that promotes wicked behavior does not distinguish between its non-Han and Han practitioners, thereby justifying its regulation over all populations throughout the empire (including majority non-Han regions that were yet to be subdued) and preventing any such measures from taking on the taint of anti-non-Han prejudice. Finally, Fu Yi names Zhuangzi and Laozi, the two highest figures in the pantheon of Daoism, as the hallmarks of Chinese culture that have been appropriated and perverted by the Buddhists. This specific reference to Daoism, along with the corroborating information detailed above, indicates that Fu Yi was consciously responding to the adoption of Daoism as the Tang state religion. Fu Yi argues in these passages that there is an integral link between Buddhism and ethnic and cultural otherness, but he establishes this link more through impressionistic rhetoric and common stereotypes about ethnic Others rather than with carefully reasoned arguments based on the particular doctrines and practices of Buddhism on the one hand and the non-Han on the other. Furthermore, he does not articulate a clear Han or Chinese norm to contrast with Buddhism, but leaves it implicit. In doing so, he was probably relying on a general awareness of earlier anti-Buddhist polemics that had explicitly outlined the nonnormative aspects of Buddhism. As in the earlier passages, he uses stereotypes of non-Han animality and malodorousness to denigrate Buddhists as a whole, but unlike in previous works, he leaves their connections with ethnic Others unstated, though unmistakable. The analogy between the actual instability caused by battles between non-Han armies in Western Region countries—at the time under Türk suzerainty—and the potential instability resulting from the large number of Buddhist monks of military age seems almost random, except if we understand it in the context of stereotypes of non-Han violence and militarism, discussed in Chapter 2. One of his more explicit arguments, patterned after the works of many other anti-Buddhist polemicists and repeating his earlier memorials, was that the rise of Buddhism in China promoted non-Han political power in northern China. Furthermore, he sees the chain of transmission as proceeding along the land route through northwestern China (and thus the importance of Lü Guang in the earlier work), carried by the peoples of Inner Asia, the specific Hu as opposed to the generic hu, a distinction that he clearly makes in the first sentence of the second memorial quoted directly above. Although there is some historical basis to this claim, Buddhism was also extremely popular in the Han-controlled south during the Northern and Southern Dynasties and was transmitted by sea to the southeast coast. Ironically, while some of Buddhism’s most fervent early royal supporters

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were non-Han, the earliest persecution of Buddhism took place under a non-Han emperor, Wudi of the Northern Wei. While Fu Yi elsewhere asserts that Buddhism has done as much damage to other lands as to China, that it has “bewitched the Hu and disordered the Hua,”34 he seems to be content to eradicate it in China and have it return to its alien homeland. In other words, he takes a “Buddhism for the barbarians” position that reflects the “separate but equal” position within the larger Tang discourse on ethnicity. Indeed, as noted above, he argues that non-Han themselves are fundamentally not susceptible to Confucian or Daoist teachings. Non-Han imperviousness to transformation was not a position that the Tang state openly advocated, for it denied the power, attributed to the emperor by canonical texts that formed the basis for Chinese kingship, to transform through education (jiaohua). However, such a position was consistent with Daoist attitudes of the period, which posited Chinese (and thus Han) uniqueness. While Daoists promoted the myth that Laozi had transformed or converted the non-Han, they argued that he had only been able to do so by becoming a Buddha, that is, by physically and culturally cloaking himself as a non-Han. Ironically, this argument appropriated the Mahâyâna Buddhist doctrine of upâya (Ch. fangbian), “skillful means” or “expedient means,” that is, adapting the content and presentation of one’s teachings to the level of one’s audience (though it was only one of many ways in which Daoism appropriated Buddhist doctrines and methods over the centuries). In one popular version of the story, Laozi initially fails in his attempts to transform the barbarians by appearing as his true self, so he orders Yin Xi, the Hangu Pass gatekeeper who had let him exit to the west, physically to transform into the Buddha. Yin Xi then succeeds in converting the barbarians to Buddhism. But as the Sui minister Yang Su allegedly pointed out around 583, according to a highly partisan early Tang Buddhist compilation of documents on the Three Teachings debates, this still meant that the barbarians had been transformed by Buddhism, not Daoism, undercutting Daoist claims to supremacy.35 If taken to its logical conclusion, the entire “converting the barbarians” argument implied, as Fu Yi acknowledged, that Chinese teachings were unsuitable for non-Han in their own lands. In general, Fu Yi’s views on Buddhism perpetuated earlier themes of anti-Buddhist polemic, and his use of ethnically charged discourse to distinguish an inferior and threatening non-Han Other from a homogeneous Han Self was relatively consistent with a large body of discourse from the immediately preceding period and in all likelihood reflected the mindset of many cultural conservatives, but his combination of the two placed him in a distinct minority of vocal critics of Buddhism in the

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Sui and early Tang, not to mention officialdom as a whole. Anti-Buddhist polemic, even in periods when it was most likely to receive a favorable hearing by the emperor, such as under Gaozu and Taizong, was strongly oriented toward economic, social, and political issues. Even when mention was made of such cultural issues as its incompatibility with Confucianism or its absence in the classics, its foreign origins or other associations with non-Han were seldom touched upon in the Tang compared with earlier periods. Nevertheless, in Fu Yi’s (as well as Han Yu’s) surviving works, the themes and tropes of discourse on ethnicity that he uses in his polemics would have been familiar to Tang elites as the building blocks for the construction of ethnic difference. If not, they would not have had the power they clearly possessed both to enrage and to persuade.

Han Yu: Confucian Theorist We now move forward two centuries to Han Yu, one of the most important figures in Chinese literary criticism and intellectual thought. If Fu Yi was both a Daoist and a Confucian, Han Yu was exclusively a Confucian, and, indeed, militantly so. He was one of the earliest figures in Chinese history that aggressively attempted self-consciously to define and defend a “Confucian” tradition of moral thought and literary style based on readings of the classics.36 He is usually credited as a founder of the spare “ancient-style prose” (guwen), which has remained influential up to the present day, and as one of the precursors of so-called NeoConfucianism, which became the philosophical and pedagogical orthodoxy in China and much of East Asia from the fourteenth through the nineteenth centuries. Ironically, the logical structure of his bestknown discursive pieces was influenced by the Buddhist apologists of the Southern Dynasties.37 His two most important anti-Buddhist polemical works, “Memorial on the Buddha bone” (“Lun Fogu biao”)38—inspired by the public display of an alleged a finger bone of S´ akyamuni stored at the Famen Temple in Chang’an39—and “The original Way” (“Yuandao”),40 are also two of the most famous prose works in the classical Chinese corpus. The two selections below are excerpts from “Memorial on the Buddha bone” and “The original Way,” respectively: Buddhism is merely one of the religions of the barbarians [yidi]. It entered the Central Kingdom beginning in the Eastern Han, but it never existed in high antiquity. . . . Now, the Buddha was originally a barbarian [yidi] man. He did not comprehend the language of the Central Kingdom, and his clothes were of a different cut. His mouth did not speak the model words of the former kings, and his body was not clothed in the model clothing of the former kings. He did not understand the sense of righteousness that exists between ruler and sub-

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ject, nor the feelings between a father and son. If he were still alive today and, having been commanded by the state, came to an audience at the capital, Your Majesty would show tolerance and receive him. However, it would be limited to a single meeting at the Xuanzheng Palace, one feast appropriate for a guest, and one suit of clothing as a gift. He would then be guarded and sent to the border so as not to allow him to delude the masses. . . . When Confucius wrote the Spring and autumn annals [Chun qiu], if feudal lords used barbarian [yi] rituals, then he considered them barbarians [yi]. Once they entered the Central Kingdom [zhongguo], however, then he considered them Chinese [zhongguo]. The Analects [Lun yu] says: “Barbarians [yidi] with a ruler are inferior to Chinese states without a ruler.” The Classic of poetry [Shi jing] says: “Fight against the Rong and Di, punish Jing and Shu.”41 How are those who today practice the laws of the barbarians [yidi] and place them above the teachings of the former kings not all barbarians themselves?

Han Yu elsewhere implicitly equates the difference between Buddhist teachings and the ancient teachings of the sages to the disparity between primitive barbarism—when people were “like birds and wild beasts or like the barbarians [yidi]”—and Chinese civilization, characterized by architecture, agriculture, standards of kinship and hierarchy, and principles of morality and ritual.42 In this, he echoes canonical passages from the Confucian Classic of changes (Yijing) and elsewhere that posit an evolutionary theory of human culture in which distance from Chinese civilizational norms is equated with earlier stages of human society. Han Yu’s equation of non-Chinese barbarity with Buddhism is much more focused and direct than Fu Yi’s. In part, this reflects the fact that whereas Fu Yi’s works are almost entirely polemical, that is, their aim is to discredit Buddhism, Han Yu in “The original Way” and, to a lesser extent, in “Memorial on the Buddha bone” is at least as concerned with positively defining a normative Chinese culture as he is with establishing the opposition of Chinese and non-Chinese cultures. In fact, the reason for the greater clarity of Han Yu’s argument is its almost exclusive focus on cultural issues. Rather than, like Fu Yi, invoking a range of political, cultural, and especially genealogical themes, Han Yu focuses on cultural themes, reflecting in part the evolution of Tang ethnic discourse outlined in the Introduction. Han Yu’s lack of ad hominem attacks on the grossness of the non-Han character suits his high-culture focus on values and rituals, as well as the sensitivity of the ruler and elites he was addressing, but he still engages in some jingoistic rhetoric. Although Han Yu was critical of Daoism as a harmful accretion onto Chinese (i.e., Confucian-centered) culture that, like Buddhism, undermined basic human relations (particularly the essential hierarchical relationships between rulers and subjects and between fathers and sons), he still makes distinctions between Daoism as a

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home-grown religion and Buddhism as a foreign faith. In one poem, he depicts Daoist priestesses as patriotic warriors: “All the girls of Mount Hua have received the Dao and wish to expel the alien faith and bring a return to the [native] immortals and spirits.”43 The emphasis on Daoism’s Chinese roots was common in sinocentric discourse, particularly in the Three Teachings debates, as a weapon against Buddhism. In the edict that opened the Three Teachings debate in 624, Emperor Gaozu began with the presumption, “The teachings of Laozi and Zhuangzi ´ kyamuni arose have their origins in this land, while the teachings of Sa 44 later and ought to be worshiped as a guest ritual.” The difference in tone between Fu Yi and Han Yu is also quite stark. In part, this is a matter of style. Fu Yi wrote in the somewhat florid rhetorical style popular in the Sui and early Tang, following the precedents of the later Northern and Southern Dynasties literati, while Han Yu wrote in the spare yet elegant guwen style (e.g., using the classic terms yi and yidi rather than hu to denote generic non-Han). However, Han Yu’s tone extends beyond a question of style and goes to the heart of his discourse. For Han Yu, the distinction between Self and Other is not a question of ethnicity or origins per se but rather is dependent on abstract cultural values based on timeless norms. His Chineseness is founded on the perfect moral values found in the teachings of the sages, and all other accretions, whether Daoist or Buddhist, are extraneous and harmful. Han Yu is not quite ready to attribute to all nonnormative behavior the quality of “barbarity,” for while he does distinguish between Daoism and “barbarian” Buddhism based on the latter’s externality to the traditional Chinese oikoumene, he condemns both practices. However, in his identification of rituals, language, morality, and clothing as non-Chinese due to their difference from the models put forth by the sage kings of antiquity, he does imply that all those who practice such rituals are virtual nonChinese, a point made explicit in the last line of the translated passage from “The original Way” quoted above. Yet, compared to Fu Yi, Han Yu, like the authors of the “Chinese heart” essays (see the Conclusion), distances ethnic discourse from the grossest ethnic stereotypes and prejudices related to genealogical and physical themes. Instead, the articulated stereotypes he seizes upon to define his own Chinese cultural identity are primarily abstract moral values with important political implications. Further distinguishing himself from Fu Yi, Han Yu interacted socially with Buddhist monks and laymen and seems to have engaged in serious discussions with them. Some of his writings suggest that he did not believe that Buddhism was inherently evil. Rather, he perceived Buddhism, being a foreign religion, as wrong for China. This viewpoint is evident in the lack of ethnic invective in the pieces cited above. Because being a foreign religion by definition disqualified Buddhism from in-

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clusion in the Chinese cultural and moral sphere, there was no need to postulate a distinctive non-Han wickedness, trickery, and so on. In a poem addressed to a Buddhist monk, he sadly admonishes the cleric for devoting himself to the “teachings of the west” and thus taking an unnatural and foolish path: “I say to you that you should go / Your way is one that I cannot revere / The fish from the river cannot live in a pond / The wild bird cannot easily be trained to stay in a cage / I detest the teachings of the west / And I pity your madness and blind resolve.”45

Buddhism’s Foreign Origins Daoists, whose principle claim of superiority was their status as China’s native religion and the followers of Laozi, the ancestor of the Tang royal clan, naturally focused on the foreign origin of the historical Buddha when attacking Buddhism. They argued that the Buddha’s non-Han origins were not only the root cause of the heterodox nature of his teachings but also an obstacle to preventing him and his successors from understanding the inherently superior native Chinese concepts. Shortly before the Huichang suppression of Buddhism, in October or early November 844, Daoist priests wrote a memorial requesting that Emperor Wuzong erect a Terrace of the Immortals in the imperial palace. In order to justify the construction, their memorial contrasted the origins and theories of Buddhism and Daoism by arguing for the superiority of Laozi’s teachings on the grounds that the religious doctrines produced on alien soil were ineluctably alien themselves and could not be assimilated: “The Buddha was born among the western barbarians [rong] and taught ‘non-birth’. . . . He often talked of impermanence, suffering, and emptiness, which are particularly weird doctrines. He did not understand the [Daoist] principles of spontaneity and immortality. The Supreme Laozi, we hear, was born in the Central Kingdom. . . . He concocted an elixir and, taking it, attained immortality, widely distributed divine tallies, and produced great benefits without limit.”46 Some courtgenerated Confucian criticisms of Buddhism shared this approach.47 Daoists were also the most aggressive in using the full range of motifs available in Tang ethnic discourse—culture, the body, geography, and politics—when attacking the historical Buddha and, by implication, his non-Han countrymen. A 622 anti-Buddhist polemic On the ten alienations and nine delusions (Shiyi jiumi lun)48 compared S´ akyamuni and Laozi using stereotypical ethnically charged characteristics, such as physical appearance (the bizarre Western Region denizen’s appearance versus the admirable visage of the Chinese sage),49 the geographical region of activity (S´ akyamuni converting the minor kingdom of Kashmir while Laozi roamed throughout the China of the great Zhou dynasty), deport-

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ment and ritual (S´ akyamuni’s use of foreign ritual compared to Laozi’s Chinese rites), and language (Buddhism’s Sanskrit versus Daoism’s Sinitic), invariably to Laozi’s advantage. These points would continue to be made at opportune times by Daoists, who would also seek to question the loyalty of Buddhists. Some officials who supported tighter controls on the practice of Buddhism also made a geographical argument paralleling Fu Yi’s pessimism about Confucianism’s ability to spread to the Western Region, asserting that Buddhism’s unsuitability for China resulted from degeneration due to its spatial and temporal distance from its Indian origins.50 Ironically, these arguments were founded as much in Indian chiliastic notions of time and the Buddhist theory of the decline of the dharma, the Buddhist law, as in Chinese notions of antiquity. Taken to its logical conclusion, this line of reasoning implicitly argued against the promotion of Daoism, Confucianism, and other Chinese cultural doctrines outside China and fitted in well with some of Fu Yi’s earlier statements arguing for a “separate but equal” status for Buddhism as a religion appropriate for non-Han in their own lands. This position was articulated by the eighth-century agnostic Li Zhou, who argued for a certain degree of cultural relativism—“If S´ akyamuni had been born in the Central Kingdom, he would have founded a teaching like that of the Duke of Zhou (the archetypal Confucian minister) and Confucius. If the Duke of Zhou and Confucius had been born in the west, they would have founded a teaching like that of S´ akyamuni”51—but whose anti-Buddhist statements had a strong influence on Han Yu and anti-Buddhist attitudes in neo-Confucianism.52 Anti-Buddhist polemicists during the Tang did not ordinarily use crude ethnic epithets to refer to the Buddha or Buddhism. While Fu Yi and his supporters were bold enough to refer to the Buddha as a “barbarian demon” (hugui) during Gaozu’s reign, when it seemed likely that the emperor would proscribe Buddhism, few other polemicists in other periods of the Tang were willing to engage in such extreme rhetoric.53 Indeed, they usually did not make detailed references to Buddhism’s distant origins but merely referred to it, as in Han Yu’s poem cited earlier, as a “western teaching,” an “external religion,” an “alien religion,” or a non-Han religion (using various terms, such as hu and yidi).54 Of these terms, “western teaching” and equivalent expressions were deemed the most neutral in mainstream discourse, as they appear in official edicts that were not openly hostile to Buddhism.55 However, imperial statements were not always consistent in tone. An edict by Emperor Xianzong ordering the registration of Buddhist monks and nuns begins by noting that “the Buddhist line comes from the western states” but ends by declaring, “How can there be people who forsake Chineseness and

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practice the alien non-Han [fan] teaching of non-birth?”56 Therefore, the use of seemingly neutral vocabulary did not preclude the use of an explicitly critical and ethnicized rhetoric, and vice versa. Explicit rhetoric was reduced in periods when Buddhism’s political influence reached its apogee. During the dominance of the pro-Buddhist Empress Wei and Taiping Princess, memorials protesting the building of Buddhist temples with imperial support only raised issues of finance and public welfare and did not dare touch on the alien characteristics of Buddhism itself.57 Although the chief opponents of Buddhism, particularly those who evoked an ethnically tinged anti-Buddhist rhetoric, were mostly Daoists, there were also “strict” Confucianists, such as Han Yu, who condemned both Daoism and Buddhism alike. It was uncommon, however, for individuals to make rejection of Buddhism central to their cultural or ethnic identity. Religious exclusivity was uncommon in the period, and there are many cases, for example, of Buddhist monks or laypersons who were former Daoists. However, Han Yu was far from a unique case. There were probably more than a few educated elites like one gentleman surnamed Wei, a devoted Confucian who had served at court during the early ninth century: “From his youth he honored Confucians and used only Confucian speech. Therefore, he thought of Buddhism as a barbarian [hu] law that ought not to flourish in the Central Kingdom. . . . When Mr. Wei became bedridden, he issued the following order to his sons inlaw: ‘I belong to a Confucian family. I have never adhered to anything that was not one of the teachings of the former kings. Now I am dying. Be circumspect and do not follow vulgar forms by casting images of the Buddha and buying and selling from monks. If you should worship this barbarian deity then you will betray the way I have lived my whole life.’ His sons followed his instructions.”58 Wei’s remarks remind us that the confluence of anti-Buddhist sentiment and ethnicized rhetoric was not limited to abstract polemics but also applied to the syncretistic material world and daily cultural and social practices of the Tang.

Buddhism’s Alien Doctrines and Practices In addition to simply positing that Buddhism was pernicious because of its foreign origins, polemicists and anti-Buddhist edicts often singled out particular doctrines and practices that they perceived as paralleling or in some way reflecting the non-Han barbarism of Buddhism. One key issue that exercised the passions of anti-Buddhist polemicists in the Tang and earlier periods was Buddhism-inspired alterations of the physical body that they perceived as mutilations. Most prevalent was the practice of monks and nuns taking the tonsure. More disturbing, however, were various acts of self-mutilation—blinding, amputations, and immolation—

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and mortification (such as copying sutras using one’s own blood) that were not only practiced by dedicated ascetics but also acted by laypeople, most often during religious frenzies at festivals and other occasions of heightened piety.59 All these actions had been condemned by polemicists from the earliest periods up through the Tang, including Han Yu,60 and even in some cases by Buddhist supporters. They attacked such extreme behavior as unfilial, for, from the Confucian standpoint, one’s body was viewed as a gift of one’s parents, and all these actions were seen as damaging this gift.61 These practices resembled two different types of body alteration commonly associated with non-Han, particularly the military threatening Iranian and Turkic nomads of the Inner Asian steppe and well-attested in Chinese texts and art from the Tang and earlier periods: shaving of all or part of the head, and self-mutilation as an expression of mourning or other strong emotion, including demonstrations of loyalty to the Tang by non-Han soldiers.62 While no writings explicitly make an analogy between specifically Buddhist and generically barbarian practices of body alteration, both were singled out for criticism by the educated Chinese elites in such a similar fashion that the connection could not have gone unnoticed. A similar argument applies for the practice of cremation, uncommon in China prior to the Song and condemned by Han elites for the same reasons cited above in the case of the burning of the living body, but practiced by many Han Buddhist clerics, a few Han laypersons, and many non-Han peoples. As with self-mutilation, the Tang and earlier Sinitic sources particularly note the practice of cremation among Inner Asian peoples, such as the Türks and Kirghiz.63 Buddhism was also accused of corrupting Chinese morals and customs (fengsu) in a fashion similar to and often overlapping with attacks, which grew more frequent following the An Lushan rebellion, on the “barbarization” of clothing, music, entertainment, language, and other cultural traits, attacks that ultimately contributed to Han identity formation. The language used in the edict of September 845, which ordered the closing of Buddhist temples throughout the empire and officially signaled the start of the Huichang suppression, was typical of such discourse: “In recent times alien customs have infected our practices and become universally pervasive to the point of gradually corrupting our national customs without our becoming aware of it and seducing and beguiling the hearts of the people so that the masses are increasingly befuddled. . . . We are placing monks and nuns under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Receptions so as to indicate clearly that it is a foreign teaching. We are also ordering more than three thousand Nestorians and Zoroastrians to return to lay life so that they will not adulterate Chinese [zhonghua] customs.”64 The corruption of morals resulting from the propagation of “barbarian”

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teachings such as Buddhism was seen as particularly heinous when practiced by the ostensible transmitters of Confucian morality and the standard-bearers of Chinese culture, state officials. Shortly before the Huichang suppression, the official Wei Zongqing was publicly chastised and demoted for composing a commentary on the Nirvâna sûtra, and an edict ordered the commentary burned: Those who are graciously numbered among those of honorable rank should revere the Confucian way of life, but they are submerged in evil doctrines that stir up depraved customs. They have already broached foolish principles and completely rejected the canonical doctrines. How deep is the depravity of some of those in high office! So much the more should We proscribe that which is not the words of the sages. How can We allow foreign religions to be propagated? . . . Wei Zongqing, although a distinguished Confucian literatus from a prominent official family, has not been able to carry on the mission of Confucius and Mozi, but, on the contrary, blindly believes in the Buddha and has foolishly compiled barbarian [hu] writings and rashly presented them to the throne. How much longer have the common people of the Central Kingdom been infected by these customs! In truth, their delusions should all be stopped, and they should be made to return to their pristine simplicity. But Wei compiles wicked falsehoods and in turn misleads foolish people. Given his position in the court ranks, how can he not be ashamed of himself?65

The move to place monks and nuns under the jurisdiction of those government organs responsible for supervising aliens was particularly significant in the eyes of some Confucian bureaucrats, such as Li Deyu, who were, along with the Daoists, the forces at court who pressed Wuzong to carry out the suppression. This measure had the effect of revoking the common policy of granting special privileges to Buddhist monks and incorporating them into the state religious institutions. Li and others argued that, by virtue of Buddhism’s foreign origins, its clerics were foreigners and non-Han first, monks second. The memorial submitted by the Secretariat-Chancellery under Li’s direction a month before the beginning of the suppression, reads: “The Bureau of Receptions is responsible for the aliens [fan] from the more than seventy countries who present tribute to the court. The five Indian states are included in this number. As the Buddha came from India, and the emperor now considers Buddhism to not be a teaching of the Central Kingdom, he has already made the reform [of switching the registration of monks and nuns from the Board of Sacrifices to the Bureau of Receptions].”66

The Non-Han Monk: Powerful and Dangerous The most common intersection between anti-Buddhist polemic and ethnically charged discourse occurs in texts that deal with non-Han monks,

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usually referred to generically as “non-Han monks” (huseng or fanseng). The specific ethnic origins of these monks are frequently left unspecified, and it is often unclear whether they were truly foreigners in the eyes of the state and thus subject to special regulations, like the Japanese monk Ennin, or whether they were naturalized residents of the Tang or even members of families who had been in China for generations. The sources often depict them engaging in bizarre or extreme behavior, such as the self-mortifications referred to above, which, on the one hand, drew criticism from anti-Buddhist polemicists and state officials concerned about public order and morals and, on the other hand, demonstrated their otherworldliness and was an important factor in their undeniable power and popularity at all levels of society.67 This tension contributed both to the ambiguity and to the potency attached to the image of the non-Han in Tang discourse. Non-Han monks were also accused of engaging in less fantastic and more sordid activities, such as the participation of the Persian monk Jilie in an early eighth-century network made up of officials and other persons associated with the state organs supervising trade in southern China that was engaged in manufacturing “exotic objects” for use as tribute to the throne.68 Another, unnamed, non-Han monk was accused of kidnapping large numbers of women and was then outwitted by a Daoist layman official from the prestigious ethnic Han Boling Cui clan (an incident possibly based on fact but clearly appropriated for propagandistic purposes by chauvinistic Daoists).69 Such activities were also attributed to a wide variety of non-Han unconnected with Buddhism. However, the most frequent critique of non-Han monks was directed at their claims of supernatural abilities. These powers included changing weather, healing illness, bestowing immortality, discerning the true value of precious objects (especially gems), and conjuring illusions. These powers, while not exclusive to either non-Han individuals or Buddhist monks, were strongly associated with both categories of persons, particularly with the overlapping category of the non-Han monk as well as the more general category of non-Han wise man or religious specialist belonging to a variety of traditions, including Manichaeans.70 This comes as no surprise, as Mary Helms and others have described the universal phenomenon of associating distant lands and their inhabitants with extraordinary powers leading to respect for the abilities of foreign peoples and the properties of foreign objects.71 Most monks in the pre-Tang period who are recorded as specializing in spells or practicing divination are identified as non-Han. Even though larger numbers of Han monks began to display their abilities in these arts, particularly from the seventh century on, thaumaturgy continued to be associated

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with alienness, whether connected with alien monks, foreign texts, foreign words, or exotic knowledge.72 More significantly from a social and political perspective, the surviving Tang-era secular and polemical sources, reflecting the biases of Confucian and Daoist elites, argue that these displays of power by non-Han monks were often revealed to be hoaxes or were attended by ambiguous or outright negative results for the ostensible beneficiaries or performers of these acts. Fu Yi, the archetypal opponent of Buddhism, is frequently the figure used to expose Buddhist “barbarian” trickery, often by displaying supernatural powers himself, in front of the archetypal wise monarch, Taizong. In one source, a non-Han monk who was alleged to have the power to cast spells that could kill people and then bring them back to life, was presented to the court by a state from the recently conquered Western Regions. At Taizong’s orders, the monk successfully demonstrated his power on mounted cavalrymen, but Fu Yi insisted that the monk’s “evil methods” would prove ineffective against an upright person such as himself. Indeed, when the monk cursed him, the monk himself fell down dead.73 Opposing images of non-Han monks as evil, destructive, and bestial in mainstream secular discourse—fiction, court documents, and official histories—there are also alternative discourses that depict them harnessing supernatural powers to aid individuals and groups effectively and even protect the state. The latter image was promoted in Buddhist hagiography and historiography describing monks with magical powers from the earliest periods of Chinese Buddhism; many of the monks who were most significant in the spread of Buddhism both at the popular level and at court came to the notice of powerful patrons and were able to channel resources to Buddhist institution building and proselytization in part as a result of their magical and mantic powers. Amoghavajra was the preeminent example in the Tang. Born to a Brahmin family in northern India or, less likely, Sri Lanka, he came to China at an early age and, after studying Tantric Buddhism with Vajrabodhi and in South Asia, became a dominant figure at court and in the propagation of Buddhism in China from 746 until his death in 774. He was very close to the imperial family and practiced healing and protective rituals on their personal behalf, prayed for rain, and recited sutras and magical formulas to protect the Tang state and people.74 The most extreme discursive transformation of the figure of the nonHan monk occurred in depictions of them as disguised supernatural or bestial beings, often creatures that were already stereotypically associated with non-Han peoples (see Chapter 2). A mid-eighth-century story describes the outwitting of a fox disguised as a barbarian monk by the semilegendary Daoist magician Ye Fashan.75 Another tale, relating a

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dreamlike incident that allegedly took place in 813, depicts an old Inner Asian monk who turns out to be a camel.76

Buddhist Geography and Cosmology When defenders of Buddhism mentioned its foreign origins,77 they usually did so in order to argue for the essential cosmological and cultural equivalence of the extra-Chinese and Chinese worlds. Pre-Tang Buddhists asserted that India represented a true “Central Kingdom” to rival China or was even a repository of the original Way that had degenerated in China itself, and they often cited examples of Chinese sages, such as Yu of the Xia dynasty and King Wen of the Zhou dynasty, who were said to have been born outside China.78 Tang Buddhists like the monk Falin quoted the Confucian classics to the effect that there were sages among the peoples to the west of China.79 At the close of a debate on the Three Teachings held in 796 to celebrate Dezong’s birthday, the Buddhist monk Jianxu said: “All of what has been said here can be summarized thus: the Emperor of the Abstruse Origin [Laozi] is the Sage of All Under Heaven; the Culture Disseminating King [Confucius] is the Sage of Past and Present; S´ akyamuni is the Sage of the West; the current emperor, your Majesty, is the Sage of Jambudvîpa.”80 Jianxu, following Dezong’s conciliatory line, argues here for the essential sagely equivalence of Laozi, Confucius, and S´ akyamuni. However, acceding to state protocol that placed Buddhism below Daoism and Confucianism, he granted Laozi and Confucius grander titles with resonance in Chinese cosmology, while S´ akyamuni was merely denoted Sage of the West. The use of neutral descriptors rather than ethnically charged terms connoting sinocentrism when referring to China and India was a common tactic of Buddhist apologists. In his response to an edict by Gaozu—in turn inspired by Fu Yi’s memorial of 621 discussed above— Falin referred to China not as the Central Kingdom (zhongguo) or with other canonical terms that implicitly valorized the Han and Chinese Self (particularly huaxia) but as Eastern Xia, when comparing it to India.81 Elsewhere, even more abstract and thus neutral terms for China appear, such as “eastern land” (dongtu) or simply “the east” (dongfang),82 a phrase that probably infuriated many Han elites in the way it lowered China to the level of India (and the rest of the world), deprived it of its cultural distinctiveness, and decentered it cosmologically. Some Han Buddhists even usurped the cosmic center for India, referring to the homeland of Buddhism as “the center of the earth” and “the central provinces” (zhongzhou).83 The latter term was traditionally used to refer specifically to China and had cultural and geographic res-

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onance similar to the ubiquitous “Central Kingdom.” Indeed, the Sanskrit term madhyadesa, literary “middle region,” referring to north central India, was translated by Chinese Buddhists into Sinitic as zhongguo, leading to speculations and assertions about which was the real “Central Kingdom,” India or China.84 However, it is probable that these terms were only used in Buddhist texts and not at court or other public forums for fear of provoking a backlash. Ironically, Han Buddhists up through the mid-Tang felt anxiety over their own peripheralization within the India-centered Buddhist cosmology, but over the course of the dynasty they were able to establish China as a leading source of Buddhist teachings and an abode of Buddhist divinities, dispelling their “borderland complex.”85 Defenders of Buddhism in the Tang and the immediately preceding period were also not above replying in kind to the geographically and ethnically prejudiced remarks of Han polemicists, assuming the political milieu supported these remarks. In 594, the most prominent monk of his time, Zhiyi, who was fawned upon and patronized by the Chen and Sui emperors, asserted the superior ancestry and geographic origins of the Buddha, saying, “The line of the Buddha was for generations the royal class of India proper, while Zhuangzi and Laozi were archivists of small states in China’s border regions.”86 Not only did Zhiyi geographically center the historical Buddha within India while marginalizing the Daoist sages relative to China, he also appealed to Sui and early Tang elites’ potent class snobbery in asserting the Buddha’s bluer blood. Moreover, Zhiyi refers to China as Zhendan, one of many Chinese transcriptions of the Sanskrit word for China, Cinisthana. Its use by Zhiyi placed China within an Indocentric context, radically decentering it from its self-appointed place as the Central Kingdom. Buddhists also regularly referred to China as the “country of the Han” or the “region of the Han.”87 Falin provided the most interesting and detailed response to direct charges of the Buddha’s ethnic alienness in his 622 work On destroying heresy (Po xie lun), a detailed point-by-point response to Fu Yi’s 621 “Memorial on requesting the abolishment of the Buddhist law.” He paraphrases one of Fu Yi’s eleven reasons for outlawing Buddhism as follows: “The non-Han of the Western Regions have faces of men and hearts of beasts; they are the evil spawn of greed and contrariness. The Buddha was born in the West and is the source of a bewitching evil effluvia.”88 Falin then responds by questioning the ethnic, and, indeed, the human, identity of some of the most famous Han forebears. He cites statements in The records of the Grand Historian that describe the mythical culture hero Fuxi and other legendary figures in Chinese history having animal bodies and human heads or vice versa. He also repeats the com-

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mon assertion that the sage kings Yu and Wen, founders of the Xia and Zhou dynasties, respectively, were born among (proto-Tibetan) Qiang tribesmen. Furthermore, he goes on, the Yuan clan (formerly known as the Tuoba before they sinicized their surname) who ruled the Northern Wei dynasty were likewise born from non-Han, yet all received the Confucian mandate of Heaven to rule. Although Tang elites by and large recognized the legitimacy of the Northern Wei, the equation of a nomadic Xianbei clan to the founding fathers of dynasties that were the most culturally significant in Chinese traditional thought was a highly transgressive statement that must have ruffled more than a few feathers. Falin concludes: “Although they were born in obscure and mean lands and their appearances were rude and ugly, they each administered according to Heaven and used their authority over the people while cherishing their sagely virtue. . . . If you say that those who are born among the Qiang barbarians or come from the Rong caitiffs are wicked, then Fuxi and Yu are not sages, and Laozi and King Wen are not worthy of imitation and respect.”89 Falin also distinguishes the historical Buddha from generic non-Han to establish a spectrum of ethnic differences rather than a simple dichotomy of Han and non-Han. First, he cites S´ akyamuni’s illustrious lineage and the importance of his country. Then he argues that those whom the Chinese sources refer to as the Western Hu are restricted to the inhabitants of the region to the east of the Pamir mountains, namely, modern Xinjiang, citing in his support the geographical treatise from the imperially sanctioned History of the Han. He therefore concludes that to refer to the Buddha as a Western Hu is a misnomer, presaging Vajrabodhi’s protest that he himself was Indian (fan) and not a “barbarian” (fanhu). Indeed, within the framework of the Tang Buddhist sources, monks from India had a status at least equal to and often greater than that of their Han counterparts. This can be seen, for example, in the practice of collections of hagiographies of monks putting translators first, most of whom were monks of non-Han origin. In contrast, the standard Sinitic dynastic histories and other statecentered works placed materials relating to non-Han peoples at or near the end. Falin thus challenges sinocentric images of ethnic identity on two fronts. First, he questions Han self-identification based on limited geographic origins and normative physical features by showing violations of these limits and norms among some of their most honored forebears. Second, as in Vajrabodhi’s reaction to the news of Xuanzong’s edict, he challenges the Han penchant for defining the non-Han Others as a homogenous mass. Like Vajrabodhi, he does so on geographic grounds, implicitly arguing that Indians, whether referred to by the

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adjective fan (a different character from that for generic “barbarian,” fan) or by their country of origin (usually designated as Tianzhu), are ethnically different from the generic barbarian hu most familiar to the inhabitants of the Tang. This point would be repeated in later Buddhist works.90 Ethnically Han Buddhists, who wrote accounts of their pilgrimages to the Buddhist centers of Inner and South Asia, often provided rich ethnographic descriptions of the lands they passed through.91 These descriptions almost entirely lack the fantastic and dehumanizing details of the official historiographic and unofficial zhiguai traditions. As in the Buddhist discourse on the foreign origins of Buddhism discussed in the previous chapter, by using descriptions of foreign customs and physiognomies Buddhist authors sought to decenter China as the Central Kingdom and posit a hierarchical equivalence between China and Buddhist lands. For example, Xuanzang’s Great Tang record of the Western Regions (Da Tang Xiyu ji) frequently records details on the different climates, clothes, and other characteristics of the Indian and Central Asian lands he traveled to or heard about in the mid-seventh century, yet never claims that their inhabitants had bestial features or were otherwise abnormal. A survey of the twenty-seven countries in Xuanzang’s work for which short ethnographic surveys are provided reveals that the characteristics described are the following, listed in descending order of frequency: climate (twenty-five countries), agriculture (twenty-five), customs and/or temperament (twenty-five), the current state and/or the history of Buddhism in the country (nineteen), political organization (sometimes simply an account of the ruler’s ancestry or ethnic background) (fifteen), clothing (fifteen), writing system (ten), physical appearance (seven), vernacular language (six), coinage (five), and hairstyle and head ornaments (three). Other categories mentioned include trade, record keeping, minerals, music, and curious customs.92 Ethnography, however, was clearly secondary to the Buddhists’ major concerns, the religious history of these locales and their current practice of Buddhism. This focus frequently led the pilgrims to recount miraculous events and other religious phenomena of dubious authenticity. This seeming paradox of mundane ethnography juxtaposed with Buddhist myth and hagiography reflects the particular goals intrinsic to the pilgrimage accounts. Their authors, conscious of Buddhism’s foreign origins and eager to assert its universality, would naturally have wanted to stress the common humanity of all peoples, particularly those who had accepted Buddhist teachings or at least been integrated into the sacred Buddhist landscape. The privileging of India/Tianzhu within Tang ethnic discourse ex-

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tended beyond Buddhist texts, demonstrating in part the degree to which Buddhist-inspired nuancing of the spectrum of ethnicity influenced elite and imperial rhetoric. This reflected a particular stage in the gradual evolution in knowledge of and political and social attitudes toward Buddhism and its homeland. Han-era accounts of India had been largely objective, though based on a small number of facts, in a period when Buddhism’s footprint was relatively small. Due to intense DaoistBuddhist rivalry in the Northern and Southern Dynasties, as well as the sensitivities regarding non-Han dynasties and invasions, a great deal of negative propaganda about the barbaric nature of Indians appeared and was refuted in turn by Buddhist apologists.93 However, by the end of the period and into the Sui and Tang, influential depictions of India by apparently neutral observers were largely positive.94 By the Tang, works by pilgrims, most notably Xuanzang, gained popularity and added to the laudatory image of India.95 By referring to S´ akyamuni’s royal background, Falin also uses class boundaries to create distinctions among non-Han peoples and to raise the status of certain non-Han, such as the Buddha, to a level equal to or greater than that of any Han. This approach was not limited to Buddhist polemics. Numerous epitaphs of individuals of non-Han ancestry, if they mentioned their true ancestry, frequently referred to illustrious ancestors from their home countries or native tribes. This practice indicates not only that non-Han in the Tang assimilated to Han conventions of boasting about, and no doubt often creating out of whole cloth, illustrious forebears, but also that such claims had a currency in wider Tang society and not simply within ethnically homogenous émigré communities (see Chapter 6). However, while Falin challenges the validity of physiognomic and geographic boundaries defined around a normative Han Self, he does not question the behavioral and moral norms that form the contents of those boundaries. That is, he implicitly accepts Chinese definitions of sagehood and morality while insisting on the broadening of the franchise of those who can be included in those definitions. He does not try to assert a distinct model of sagehood that could either assert its own autonomy or even challenge the Chinese model. This may partly reflect the trend in ethnic discourse during the Tang that stressed the themes of genealogy and the body, but it also reflects the degree to which the producers of pro-Buddhist apologetic literature were bound by Chinese cultural norms. Defenders of Buddhism, particularly those who addressed neutral or potentially anti-Buddhist audiences, tended, however, to refrain from explicitly mentioning Buddhism’s association with foreign lands and peoples unless it was absolutely necessary and thereby avoid any taint of

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barbarism. A sample of imperial edicts relating to Buddhism and Daoism96 reveals that, whereas one of the five edicts that can be categorized as both anti-Buddhist and anti-Daoist and nearly half (four of ten) of the edicts that are solely anti-Buddhist make explicit mention of Buddhism’s non-Han associations (though usually in the fairly neutral language described above), not one of the six edicts that call for pro-Buddhist measures (with or without comparable pro-Daoist measures) makes even the slightest reference to Buddhism as a “western,” “foreign,” or “barbarian” religion or contains related language. One exception to this pattern was the subversive and playful use of the term hu by practitioners of Chan Buddhism, fitting Chan’s iconoclastic and playful approach to doctrine and language.97 Buddhism’s defenders also used Buddhist theories to account for nonHan behavior, perhaps hoping to demonstrate their utility. The strongly pro-Buddhist minister Yuan Zai98 was able to persuade Daizong in 767 of the validity of Buddhism by explaining that the assassinations of the rebels of mixed Sogdian and Turkic ancestry An Lushan and Shi Siming by their sons, the death by illness of the Uighur rebel Pugu Huai’en, and the recent withdrawals of hostile Uighur and Tibetan armies without having to engage them in battle were the results not of human agency but of the workings of karmic retribution.99 All these enemies, and some of the tools of their destruction, were non-Han, and it is evident that Buddhism was being offered as a means to understand the otherwise often inexplicable, apparently irrational, and even inhuman behavior patterns of hostile non-Han. Although discourse on Buddhism was much less polemical and ethnicized in the Tang compared to the Northern and Southern Dynasties, it still continued to serve as a vehicle for constructing ethnic difference and the significance of the presence of the ethnic and cultural Other within the borders of the Tang. In particular, the various discussions on Buddhism’s alien origins indicates that, despite most scholars’ insistence on the predominance of cultural factors in Tang-era ethnic identity, ancestry and geographical origins played a significant role in identity construction, particularly in the first half of the Tang. This was most evident in attempts by Han elites such as Fu Yi to externalize Buddhism as the enemy, equivalent in many ways to American attempts in the twentieth century to externalize Communism as an import of little relevance to the American people, stigmatized by its alien origins and associations with foreigners and foreign-born Americans. However, in the case of the Tang, due to the non-Han ethnic origins of many elites and the pragmatic benefit to the empire of reducing interethnic tensions, pejorative references to Buddhism’s non-Han asso-

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ciations were largely avoided beyond the notable exceptions described above. Yet, despite the limited impact of Fu Yi’s and Han Yu’s radical rhetoric and arguments on overall policy and public opinion, their assumptions regarding the central role of genealogical and political themes in demarcating ethnic difference and barbarism were shared by the majority of the Tang populace, as they paralleled the usage of these themes in more popular forms of ethnic discourse, such as stereotypes and jokes. Indeed, the works of the anti-Buddhist polemicists Fu Yi and Han Yu and the topics of Buddhism’s foreign geographic origins, its associations with non-Chinese customs, the figure of the “barbarian monk,” and the construction of Buddhist cosmologies and geographies that decentered China may not be broadly representative of discourse on Buddhism as a whole (Fu Yi and Han Yu were outliers in their polemical assaults on Buddhism, for example), but their explicit addressal of the question of ethnic difference is vital to an understanding of Tang ethnic discourse and the role of Buddhism within that discourse. The pro-Buddhist discourse on ethnicity reveals that there were alternative visions of ethnic difference other than the Chinese-barbarian dichotomy promoted by Fu Yi and Han Yu that underpinned the worldview of most elites. This project, pursued by Falin and others, confronted and deconstructed the categories of China and non-China. They did not demolish the notion of China’s geographic, cultural, and historical unity but, rather, sought to decenter China and place it either as one entity among many or as peripheral to India. Pro-Buddhist polemicists reacted to the categorization of the Buddha and foreign monks as non-Han and Buddhism as a non-Han faith by demonstrating the internal complexity of the ostensibly indistinguishable mass of individuals and behaviors labeled “barbarian,” or, as in the case of Vajrabodhi, they broke out of the Han/non-Han dichotomy altogether through the establishment and valorization of categories such as Indian. Indeed, a concerted effort by monks in the Sui and Tang to replace hu with fan (the same term used by Amoghavajra to describe himself) when referring to India, Indian monks, and Sanskrit seems to have been largely successful within Buddhist circles, and it is likely to have had an effect on those members of the wider society who were sophisticated enough to appreciate these differences.100 The Tang Empire was not a single homogenous community but rather a hodgepodge of communities and networks that stretched horizontally and vertically and often came into only limited contact with the state and national elites. Among many of these communities, both secular and religious, there existed views of the relationship between ancestry, status, and ethnic identity that differed from the views held by the arbiters of

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Tang elite society. The significance of pro-Buddhist discourse is that, among all the various non-Sinocentric perspectives, it was the only one that received a major public hearing at the time and survives up to the present; except for fragments, the voices of the other universal religions—Manicheanism, Nestorian Christianity, and Zoroastrianism chief among them—who had to contend with Chinese cultural orthodoxy and the power of the state are silent.

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Deep Eyes and High Noses The Barbarian Body

The body and its ornamentation, ranging from skin color and tattoos to the shape of the nose and hair, are potentially the most visible criteria of ethnic difference in any ethnically heterogeneous society.1 All humans have a basic familiarity with the body and its accoutrements and are used to interpreting them in a wide number of contexts based on the universal assumption across societies that decoration of the body is one important means by which groups and individuals constitute their identities and communicate their beliefs.2 In contemporary American society, we instinctively assume that such characteristics as age, gender, class, occupation, religion, educational level, regional origin, and even sports allegiance are encoded in one’s hairstyle, body shape, jewelry, and clothing. On viewing an individual, we unconsciously select and integrate a range of stereotyped and mutually reinforcing features in order to fit the individual into a received category. The greater the extent to which the observed is considered a member of one’s own group, the greater the sophistication with which his or her appearance will be interpreted. More features are considered, and a larger number of categories and characteristics are attributed. Conversely, if the object of study can be immediately identified through a few iconic features as the oppositional Other, interpretation usually ceases at that point, and totalizing stereotyping responses take over. This latter extreme is common in situations of warfare, where the color and shape of uniforms are the key markers of difference, or between ethnic groups, where physical features or items of clothing can be taken as simplistic icons. On the surface, Tang ethnic discourse does reveal the frequent appearance of such icons associated with non-Han identity, often occurring in other periods of Chinese history, like “deep eyes and high noses” (shenmu gaobi) and “barbarian clothing” (hufu). Tang discourse on these physical markers, particularly clothing, as preserved in the written sources, was largely restricted to a group of people who were relatively uniform in terms of class and culture. Therefore, it is legitimate to argue that this discourse communicates a fairly uniform

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set of meanings attached to clothing and the body. However, it is likely that there were alternate, often conflicting, interpretations assigned to the body surface by other classes and cultures within Tang society who were largely unable to contribute to the written discourse. The situation in the Tang regarding physical markers of non-Han identity was relatively more complex than in earlier periods. Physical characteristics that were constructed as typically non-Han were often interpreted not as markers of ethnic identity per se but as nonnormative manifestations that were only peripherally related to ethnicity. Thus, for example, Han men with beards were often singled out as looking like non-Han and hence made the object of ridicule, yet their ethnic identity as Han was unchallenged.3 Tang craftsmen of mortuary art seized on a range of physical features and accoutrements as characteristic of the non-Han Other that resembled but did not exactly correspond to textual descriptions of the non-Han body.4 Furthermore, these attributes were assigned a variety of often-conflicting meanings and potentially had both positive and negative implications. Perhaps most significantly, people at all levels of Tang society often detached these signifiers from “barbarian” identity per se and used them as a free-floating lexicon that could be attached to all sorts of subjects. Despite these complications, the Tang obsession with physiognomy, combined with a powerful belief in the influence of ancestry and geography on appearance, meant that the body inevitably became a powerful locus for discourse on ethnic boundaries and identity.

Physiognomy and Deportment in the Tang Tang society, particularly as one moved up the social ladder, was intensely conscious of physical appearance, due largely to the popularity of the practice of physiognomy (xiang), the analysis of people’s character and future based on physical features, carriage, speech, demeanor, and other observable corporeal attributes. Educated persons regularly studied texts on physiognomy, and there was a nearly universal acceptance of the validity of physiognomy’s basic principles and techniques. Physiognomic predictions regarding longevity and success in government office were particularly widespread. The popularity of physiognomy was directly related to high rates of social mobility in the Tang. Possibilities of spectacular advancement through patronage or the civil service exams, combined with the insecurity of public office, fed the desire to know one’s own fate and the fates of one’s children, colleagues, subordinates, and superiors. Physiognomy, whether practiced by semiprofessionals—including Daoist and Buddhist monks—or ordinary people (including non-Han) also played a major

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role in social and political relations.5 It was used by fathers to select sonsin-law and by officials at all levels up to the emperor as grounds for promotion, demotion, and the establishment or dissolution of ties of patronage.6 Future emperors were also singled out from the constellation of royal princes as a result of their physiognomy. Emperor Xuanzong is alleged to have singled out the future Daizong as a child because of his exceptional physiognomy and presented him with a pearl from Kashmir whose light symbolized Daizong’s abilities.7 The significance of physiognomy in gaining patronage and career advancement is illustrated by the early career of An Lushan. Caught stealing sheep, the young An was about to be beaten to death, but he made a bravura speech attesting to his fighting abilities against the local nonHan tribes, and the local military commander, impressed by his “speech and appearance,” released him and appointed him as a scout. Soon after, his commander discovered that An Lushan possessed auspicious black moles on his feet and was so awed that he adopted An Lushan as his son.8 However, given An’s later traitorous behavior, these widely disseminated accounts were likely to be not only evidence of the prevalence of physiognomy but also a warning by the moralistic Confucian authors about the reliability of such predictors. Literati elites used criteria of appearance and deportment in their own social interactions. The use of these criteria to discriminate against and humiliate those members of the elite who were judged to be in some way ugly or gauche, including some senior officials and their offspring,9 was distinct from and did not rise to the “scientific” level or deterministic quality of physiognomy, though these two modes of judging physical appearance and behavior were mutually constitutive and reinforcing. This form of “lookism” was frowned upon by Confucian literature10 but seems to have been most prevalent (and virulent) in the courts of the Southern Dynasties when they were ostensibly “preserving” Chinese culture while the north was controlled by non-Han dynasties. In fact, the use of physical criteria to determine social standing is a common feature of elite societies whose social and political power is bound up within a highly aestheticized court environment and exclusivist codes of cultural distinctiveness.11 Examples include Heian Japan and prerevolutionary France. In Tang China, the use of physical appearance as a social tool and even a weapon played out in rivalries at court and in the formation of one’s reputation among the national elites, both at the capital and in the provinces. This reputation was an essential element in one’s rise to and continued occupation of high social status (which, in turn, often translated into political power, and vice versa), though other factors could come into play and trump physiognomy. Thus, the southerner Lu Xie

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(d. 881) was initially subject to abuse and humiliation after he passed a high-level civil service exam because of his ugliness, unfashionable manners, and clumsy speech, but he was ultimately successful in his official career because his literary talents were eventually recognized and appreciated.12 Tang ideals of deportment and posture generally accorded with centuries-old rules on etiquette based on Confucian precepts and subsumed under the category of li. Li was a central concept in Confucian social thought, appearing frequently in texts from the Analects on. Li has been translated as ritual (and its proper performance), etiquette, propriety, and politeness. More generally, it was the set of norms that regulate the interaction of civilized human beings according to cosmic patterns.13 In theory, all of one’s ritualized actions and relations, both secular and sacred, should accord with li. Elites gained their knowledge of li from the Confucian classics and the vast corpus of secondary and tertiary literature that had collected around them, and they also passed it along as part of the traditions of the elite families of the empire. During the Northern and Southern Dynasties, literati elites in both north and south fetishized li and established it as one of the crucial distinguishing marks of the gentry (shi) class and as a vehicle for social mobility.14 Although political, social, and cultural power came under the control of an increasingly diverse population of elites in the Tang, li remained an important touchstone. Its centrality could be questioned and its status could be diminished, but it retained a vital role in education and at court, and it could never be overlooked in social intercourse.

Physiognomic Ideals and Depictions of Non-Han: Facial Features and Animality Ideal physical deportment, as an important aspect of li, was studied and practiced by many elites and those aspiring to elite status. They aimed for moderation and balance as realized in a straight, though not rigid, posture and a composed expression, as expressed in images ranging from a tomb figurine of a generic civil official to a copy of an early Tang portrait of Emperor Taizong.15 Additional signs of the balance and symmetry that were sought, and are visible in these and other images, include a slight parting of the legs and the pressing together of the hands. Even relatively crude mass-produced figures of officials and humble attendants of subordinate status display this relaxed yet formal posture, the hallmark of proper deportment.16 In contrast, explicitly non-Han persons are frequently seen in a crooked posture, whether gyrating as part of a performance,17 hunched under a burden,18 or poised in a posture of menace or control.19

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Furthermore, whereas the facial features and expressions of Han figures are almost invariably nondescript and often highly abbreviated, those of non-Han are frequently caricatured or exaggerated. We see eyes that are either bulging20 or drawn very large with a heavy outline and large staring pupils.21 Finally, their mouths not uncommonly grimace or shout. These details are significant. Not only do they stress non-Han lack of li, a common theme in textual discourse across genres, the physiognomic texts also focus intently on particular features of the face when judging the character and nature of the individual. The most important features were the eyes, for they were the residence of the spirit (shen) and reflected the essential humaneness (ren) of a person. Ideally one had very white eyes with black irises.22 In contrast, our texts often describe non-Han peoples with yellow irises, in the case of a second-generation Indian immigrant, or green irises, in the case of the Central Asian nomadic Kirghiz people.23 The area around the eyebrows was a key predictor of literary ability, the foundation for gaining civil office and joining the Tang elite.24 However, this and other physiognomically significant areas, like the irises, were constructed for ethnic Others as nonnormative. The most stereotypical physical markers for non-Han men were a heavy beard, a high aquiline nose, and deep-set eyes, the latter two features commonly being summed up in the phrase “deep eyes and high noses” (shenmu gaobi). That is, the quintessential non-Han features were those typical of peoples with origins to the north and west of China—the area referred to as the “Western Regions” (Xiyu)—and, in particular, the features of the Iranian-speaking peoples (Sogdians and Persians) of Inner and West Asia, who were referred to more often than any other non-Han group as Hu. As one authoritative Tang source states, “The inhabitants of the countries to the west of Gaochang (modern Turfan) mainly have deep eyes and high noses. Only in Khotan do the people resemble not so much Hu as Han [huaxia].”25 Tang poets could, however, elevate these features and proclaim their beauty, as did one poet who presented a poem to the daughter of a non-Han acquaintance describing her as having “eyes deeper than the Xiang and Yangtze rivers, a nose higher than the Hua and Yue mountains.”26 While the “deep eyes” and their different colorations were perhaps the most prominent deviation from Chinese physiognomic norms, the “high nose” in its departure from the norm also posed significant problems, for, in physiognomic thought, the nose was the seat of righteousness (yi).27 Hair was also an essential feature.28 In contrast to textual and artistic depictions of non-Han hair as curly, coarse, having many colors, and often foul-smelling due to the application of animal or vegetable products, ideal hair was thin, glossy, black, and fragrant.29 Yet, to a certain extent, these nonnormative features were perceived in a negative light only be-

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cause they had already been constructed as part of the non-Han “package.” In isolation or in different combinations, these features could be read in different ways. Thus, while the high nose and deep eyes was the classic Hu look, the high nose combined with a long neck had been viewed in Chinese culture as a mark of divine or imperial parentage since at least the Han dynasty.30 Another distinguishing characteristic that figures prominently in both written texts and works of art was a curly or thick beard. In figurines, this beard was often depicted in a highly stylized manner, with sharp edges and ridges, indicating that such a beard must have been carefully coiffed and stiffened with materials such as wax.31 This type of stylized beard, with its sharp edges and ridges, is very common in figurines, while beards in paintings are often portrayed as simply extremely bushy and thick.32 Both forms, however, were indeed different from the typical thin beard and mustache favored by Han men in this and earlier periods.33 This contrast is made clear in a pair of guards painted on a tomb wall. One, otherwise identified as a non-Han by the combination of the “deep eyes, high nose” formula and certain items of clothing from the stereotypical hufu ensemble, has a heavy bushy beard and mustache. His companion, lacking exceptional features and in a long robe—perhaps denoting his civilian status compared to the possible military status of the other—has a thin mustache and beard.34 Although today we tend to think of Han men as clean-shaven, in the Tang thin but long beards and mustaches were a sign of gravitas and wisdom and were indispensable parts of the appearance of a figure of rank.35 Moreover, with the rising number and power of eunuchs, facial hair became a crucial marker of Han masculinity, particularly for the literati, who despised the eunuchs and wished to distinguish themselves from their rivals. The expectation that men grew facial hair was so universal that one man who lived during the Northern Qi was referred to as a “natural eunuch” because he had no whiskers.36 Even soldiers on the Tang periphery were used to distinguishing eunuchs from other officials by the absence of a beard.37 Not surprisingly, non-Han depictions of themselves did not obey Chinese conventions. The Uighurs, Kucheans, and Sogdians depicted their own rulers and nobility as personages of great dignity and beauty and with elaborate costumes and headdresses, while their women were mostly given idealized and, in the case of Uighurs, strikingly “Han” features.38 While Uighurs considered a large nose a sign of beauty and often depicted women with large noses in their portraits, other features, such as heavy eyebrows and round eyes, were used to distinguish nonUighurs in line with Chinese conventions on depicting ethnic Others.39 In cases where a non-Han’s Otherness was central to the discursive

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construction of his character and role, these essentialized physical elements would be seized upon and integrated with other ethnically unmarked characteristics. Thus, Shi Siming, a “barbarian of mixed roots” (zazhong hu), that is, of mixed ethnic ancestry, who was a key participant in An Lushan’s rebellion and ultimately led the rebels, is described as “thin and small, with scattered whiskers, [but he had] deep eyes and high shoulders, and he was violent and short-tempered.”40 Physiognomic thought also reinforced the already discussed construction of the non-Han as bestial, for it asserted that animal-like features reflected a correspondingly animalistic nature, and vice versa. An important physiognomic text completed shortly after the end of the Tang, The hemprobed master’s physiognomic techniques (Mayi xiangfa), explicitly states that people who look like animals will have a character and suffer a fate appropriate to their animal counterpart, using pigs and tigers as examples.41 Official histories and private literary works confirm that this line of interpretation was widespread during the Tang and earlier periods. One account describes a palace woman as having eyes like a pig, thereby revealing her lascivious nature and exposing the threat she posed to the smooth functioning of the palace.42 Another popular anecdote describes a drunk (thereby revealing his true nature) An Lushan looking like a black boar with a dragon’s head, indicating both his evil character (boar) and his imperial ambitions (dragon).43 However, this resemblance to animals, while condescending and stereotyping, was not entirely negative. Some nonHan were members of the Tang military and were appreciated for their steadfast loyalty to the throne. Consequently, Yuan Tiangang (active c. 600–630), perhaps the Tang’s most famous professional physiognomist, could interpret an individual’s resemblance to a large animal as a sign of his loyal nature and his suitability as a military official.44 However, artistic depictions of ethnic Others often further caricatured aberrant features—heads are often disproportionately large or small, and the high nose and deep eyes are frequently exaggerated—to reinforce non-Han animality. For example, one type of eye used to depict non-Han, heavily outlined with a large pupil, was patterned after the eyes of birds, or vice versa. Du Fu recognized this in his poem on a painting of a hawk: “Body strains, its thoughts on the cunning hare, its eyes turn sidelong like a barbarian in despair.”45 The bestiality of the nonHan eye, the seat of the soul, was well established in poetic rhetoric.

Body Type and Deportment The ideal male body form in the Tang, as visualized by Tang artists and exemplified in portraits of past emperors,46 stone statues of exemplary ministers at imperial mausoleums,47 and tomb figurines of officials, pos-

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sessed the following features: a tall and solid, but not fat, figure that impressed with its sheer physical presence and symmetry and thus suited the requirements of li; a large head; and a square face, often with a thin mustache and sometimes a long flowing beard. These images were reinforced by physiognomic, literary, and historiographic texts that attributed these physical features to former rulers and other idealized types.48 On comparing tomb statuary and paintings depicting matching pairs of civil and military officials, however, it is evident that there were actually two variations on this ideal, one, possessed by military officers and soldiers, exemplifying martial virtues (wu), and the other, possessed by civil officials and emperors, displaying civil virtues (wen). In one typical pair of tomb figurines, the martial figure’s outthrust chest and spread legs distinguish its deportment, while it physically differs from its civil counterpart by its bulging eyes.49 This last feature was a commonly recognized symbol of fierceness and courage that transcended ethnic identity. During the early part of the Tang, when civil and military virtues were celebrated equally and official careers frequently demanded accomplishment in both arenas, the massive stone sculptures of exemplary officials outside imperial mausoleums50 lacked any civil-military distinction; they all carried swords, wore identical robes, and possessed identical physiognomies. In addition to these figures, meant to awe the viewer, however, there were other statues within the massive complexes that present intriguing displays of nonnormative physiognomies, indicating that a celebration of the empire’s and even the court’s ethnic diversity was central to imperial displays of power, at least in the first century of the Tang. Best known are the statues of non-Han rulers and courtiers at the tomb complexes of Zhaoling (Taizong) and Qianling (Gaozong), among others. Many of these statues depicted Türk and Central Asian rulers who had submitted to the Tang and accepted Tang titles.51 The practice of surrounding rulers’ tombs with statues of their defeated enemies had precedents in China (including defeating nonHan leaders) but was much more prominently a feature of Inner Asian kingship.52 Unfortunately, the heads of these statues have long been missing, so it has been impossible to assess the degree to which their facial features were depicted using stereotypically non-Han tropes. This question may have been answered by recent excavations at Zhaoling that revealed statues of courtiers placed in close proximity to Taizong with stereotypically non-Han features—round eyes, long noses, and big beards and mustaches—and clothing associated more with Inner Asia than the Chinese court.53 This suggests a number of possibilities, such as a much more pronounced Inner Asian “flavor” at Taizong’s court among the North China mestizo elites who were politically domi-

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nant and a more significant presence of non-Han than has previously been suspected but may have been obscured by the Confucian-centered historiographic sources. The statues of the courtiers as well as those of the submitted non-Han leaders may have represented an extension of the idea, long discredited in Confucian thought but still current in Inner Asia, that people killed by or submissive to the ruler would serve him in the next life; Tang fanjiang periodically offered to commit suicide in part for this reason.54 Another possibility is that these courtiers represent some type of Inner Asian-inspired bodyguard of boon companions consisting of persons of mixed or entirely non-Han ancestry, a possibility hinted at not only by the formation of such an organization by Taizong’s first heir apparent but also by Taizong’s own regular engagement in Inner Asian kingly pastimes (archery, riding, and the like), close personal ties to Inner Asian leaders, and usage of Inner Asian modes of patronage and association, as well as consistent references in the sources to the presence of Turkic and other Inner Asian companions to Tang emperors and princes at least through the late seventh century.55 The overall picture at imperial tomb complexes changed around 700. As civil careers and skills were increasingly lauded and martial abilities given relatively less prestige, sculptures of civil officials, marked by their possession of the tally of office, stood in the place of honor to the east, while military officials with swords were relegated to the west.56 Nevertheless, their physical shapes and facial features continued to be identical. Even though identifiably Han figures, generally individuals of low status, sometimes diverged from these ideals, they mostly did so incrementally. This picture contrasts sharply with that given to us by our literati-centered texts, in which military men, particularly those from the northern and western frontiers, are frequently accused of lacking li.57 The discrepancy in these two visions reflects the difference between an imperial vision, which stressed inclusion and a balance between the literati and military elite, and the exclusivist vision of members of the literati elite themselves who wished to assert and legitimize their political, social, and cultural dominance through the mastery of cultural forms of literacy and ritual and boundary mechanisms that intertwined cultural and ethnic identities. Non-Han identified as ethnic Others were frequently associated with the military and thus, in addition to their other failings, were even more likely, in the literati view of the world, to fail to match up to the standards of li. Male non-Han more generally diverged from physiognomic ideals beyond the facial features outlined above. They did so in a number of ways that, when appearing in concert, strongly suggested abnormality and impropriety. Tang texts and artistic productions depict three physically nonnormative non-Han types. Some, most notably the class of “barbar-

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ian boy” (hu’er) entertainers and servants, were thin and lithe, particularly the dancers who performed the popular “barbarian stomp” (huteng) dance from the Western Regions.58 They appear frequently in poetry in a subtly erotic form.59 Other non-Han possessed a paunch, perhaps indicating dishonorable wealth gained through commerce. This seems to have been the case with a group of figurines that have been tentatively identified as Arab or Persian traders and a whole series of figurines from different tombs of bearded figures holding wineskins, probably representing a ubiquitous urban figure, the non-Han tavern owner or “wine barbarian” (jiuhu).60 The image of the fat non-Han gained extremely negative associations after the middle of the eighth century, as the rebel An Lushan was famously obese and supposedly caused numerous postal horses to collapse and die under his bulk.61 Still other images depict non-Han as highly muscled, often to the point of grotesqueness.62 This body-builder’s physique was not only indicative of their martial qualities but was also associated, via Buddhist iconography, with images of demons and other dangerous supernatural creatures. These three types of deviations from the ideal body type were interpreted in an explicitly negative way by the physiognomic texts of the time. According to The hemp-robed master’s physiognomic techniques (Mayi xiangfa), if men have thin and supple waists like women—“willow-waists” in the parlance of the day—then they will never become rich.63 Obesity was also seen in a negative light because of the general belief that one must balance the universal opposing forces of Yang, the positive and masculine principle, and Yin, the negative and feminine principle. Within the body, bones held Yang and fat held Yin. The bone structure of the face and the relationship of bones to fat throughout the body thus were important markers in determining the harmony of the individual and the degree to which his or her life force (qi) circulated properly. Obesity, because fat concealed the bones, limited the circulation of qi and decreased one’s longevity, a prediction that was borne out for An Lushan, who was murdered by his son a few years after launching his rebellion.64 Conversely, an unduly muscled body showed an excess of bone and Yang. One exception to the rule that non-Han bodies deviated negatively from Han norms was body height, but this was consistent with the Tang attribution of martial virtues to certain non-Han peoples. Beginning in the Qin, there were numerous links in texts and images between giants and non-Han, ranging from giant statues cast by the first Qin emperor, descriptions of the Buddha, and even statues of local deities.65 These depictions may have been rooted in real physical differences. Recent archaeological evidence from Xinjiang, including well-preserved corpses, has shown that the inhabitants during the first millennium B.C.E. were lit-

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erally giants, many well over six feet in height. As for the Tang, many textual descriptions of non-Han individuals (both men and women), particularly military figures, note their exceptional height.66 Although this apparent non-Han height superiority is not depicted in mortuary art—with the exception of guardian figurines, always the largest of all figurines in the tomb—this is attributable to the artistic convention of using height to display social and political hierarchies, negating its potential use to display ethnic distinctions. In pictures of imperial audiences, for example, the emperor is always physically the largest figure in the scene, while scenes of palace women often depict maids as much smaller than their mistresses. The exposure of the body was a clear sign of cultural and ethnic Otherness. Nudity violated norms of li and, prior to the introduction of Buddhist art, was largely absent from Chinese conceptions of the Self.67 Sinitic ethnographic texts explicitly associated nudity with far-off barbarous peoples, particularly those from Southeast Asia.68 Closer to home, nudity was a deplored feature of popular festivals such as the Cold Food Festival, believed to be inspired by foreign religious practices and instigated by non-Han living in the Tang Empire.69 Mortuary figurines that are naked from the waist up—there are no true nudes—invariably possess stereotypically non-Han features, physiognomies, and occupations, such as horsemen and grooms. Other Tang artistic depictions of nude figures are almost exclusively supernatural or explicitly non-Han figures in Buddhist art. The non-Han considered to be in many respects the most bizarre and uncivilizable, the dark-skinned “Kunlun slaves” from South and Southeast Asia—described by a Tang monk who traveled extensively in the region as having “frizzy hair and black bodies”70—are almost invariably depicted without shirts in mortuary art. Han and generic non-Han with dark complexions were frequently singled out for ridicule and scorn, the former being accused of non-Han ancestry and other alien traits, but the “real” Southeast Asians were highly valued as servants, particularly for their alleged skills with oxen and other animals that were central to funerary rites, and were frequently thought to have magical powers.71 Tang artists represented non-Han martiality, both praised and feared by Tang writers as, at best, a barbarized version of Han martiality. This is made abundantly clear in the six surviving portraits from the Song copy of a Tang scroll entitled “The eight noble officials.”72 There are three types of figures present: martial figures with stereotypically non-Han features (deep eyes and prominent noses, large beards, colorful armor and weaponry);73 figures with Han features that exhibit a balance of military and civilian features (civilian robes, bow cases); and figures with Han features and purely civilian appearance (indicated by, among other

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things, the concealment of hands in sleeves rather than revealing them as the two other types of figures do).74 Yet, despite the evident differences in clothing and facial features and expression among the three types, they share a general deportment conforming with li and bearing out the Tang imperial vision of an empire built on the twin pillars of civil and martial virtue. In this and other artistic depictions of past and present multi-ethnic Chinese polities, which were in all likelihood created for an audience of Tang elites (including members of the imperial court), a small fraction of non-Han had the potential to conform to Chinese cultural norms, either by harnessing their martial skills to the service of the Chinese state or by engaging in ritualized acts of submission while remaining essentially external to the Tang. Though these works perpetuated stereotypical non-Han facial features, their depictions of ethnic Others adopting normative Chinese modes of posture and deportment constructed a narrative of non-Han acculturation to norms of etiquette and confirmed the transformative power and virtue of the dynasty. The most common surviving depictions of ritualized submission are paintings recording the visits of foreign envoys, such as late seventh-century murals from the tomb of Crown Prince Zhanghuai depicting persons in non-Han dress escorted by Tang officials attending the prince’s funeral.75 A few examples survive of court paintings chronicling the Tang emperors receiving foreign ambassadors in an audience, usually to mark the acceptance of tribute.76 The envoys’ deportment is entirely proper, yet the nearby presence of Chinese officials and the emperor not only presents contrasts in clothing and physiognomy, to the detriment of the envoys, but also indicates that the envoys were escorted in order to avoid violations of li. In fact, the Department of Diplomatic Reception (Honglu si), where many Tang officials served at some point in their careers, devoted great effort to instructing envoys in court etiquette, managing audiences with the emperor, and looking after foreign embassies and other foreign nationals during their stay in China. Needless to say, they did so in a paternalistic and often quite restrictive manner, with the awareness that despite the envoys’ adherence to Tang ritual norms, the “etiquette of straightening hairpins and holding tallies,” the non-Han were still fundamentally alienated from civilized Chinese culture, displaying “customs of drinking through their noses and heads flying,” to cite a contemporary description of a series of paintings of envoys at the Tang court.77 These phrases drew on archaic and fantastic descriptions of non-Han peoples from the Classic of mountains and rivers (Shanhai jing)—the earliest extant ethnographic work on non-Han lands and their inhabitants— which was attributed to the sage-king Yu, the founder of Chinese culture.

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Significantly, eunuchs are the other major category of people shown in works of literature and art consistently deviating from the norms of li, not only because of their outsider status relative to the Confucian literati and the nature of their physical mutilation, which was seen as unfilial and a crime against their ancestors, but also because many were of nonHan origin. The most famous Tang eunuch, Gao Lishi, the confidant of Emperor Xuanzong, was reputed to be descended from the native nonHan peoples of China’s deep south (present-day Guangdong). Many others, particularly during the height of eunuch power in the first half of the ninth century, were non-Han aborigines from southeastern China (modern Fujian). An 808 examination essay attacking the influence of eunuchs at court referred to them as “the remnants of barbarian forebears and cripples.”78 Eunuchs are usually identifiable in statuary and paintings by their gaunt and distorted faces, sharp noses, emaciated figures, and twisted postures, indicating not only their lack of li but also the general perception that their natures were fundamentally warped.79 Texts describe eunuchs as physically ugly, with natures to match.80 Like non-Han, they deviated from Tang standards of male physiognomic perfection, but in the opposite direction. Whereas the Han norm was light facial hair and non-Han stereotypically had heavy beards, eunuchs lacked facial hair. Though conventions for depicting them differed dramatically from those for barbarians, their deviance from the ideal norms of behavior and morality placed them in a nonnormative category similar to the barbarians, thus resulting in a similar use of discourse on the body to portray their physiques as both distinctive and distasteful.

Explaining the Non-Han Body: Geography and Qi Faced with an inherited tradition of depicting the body of the ethnic Other as distinct from the Self in texts and images and faced also with the contemporary presence of significant physical variation in the population of the empire that often correlated with ethnic difference, the framers of Tang ethnic discourse drew upon four distinct explanations of these physical differences. First, non-Han peoples were different from the Han because of their geographic and cosmological distance from China, the Central Kingdom. Physical differences from the Chinese norm were accentuated roughly in proportion to this distance, calculated geographically—often with wild inexactitude and a lack of concern for accuracy—in terms of li (approximately a third of a mile) and cosmologically in terms of a roughly concentric scheme of hierarchical zones corresponding to degrees of cultural and political influence exercised by the emperor as the pivot of the universe (see Chapter 5). As the lands described grew

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more distant, ethnographic descriptions moved from rather sober, if often stereotypical, observations on entirely human physical features to descriptions of bizarre and fantastic creatures mixing animal, human, and supernatural qualities. Indeed, in the early ethnographic loci classici— Records of the Grand Historian, History of the Han, and the Classic of mountains and seas—all heavily influential on Tang literati, the ethnonyms of the most remote and fantastic peoples were often descriptive of the peoples’ inhuman physical traits: Land of the Protruding Chests, Land of the Feathered People, and so on.81 Similarly, the customs of these peoples and their surroundings became increasingly bizarre, encompassing extremes of both inhospitable and paradisiacal environments. Although the early texts do not specifically correlate physiological and cosmological distance, the association was implicitly part of the distinctions established between the civilized center and the barbarian periphery that continued to be expressed in the Tang, as in this phrase from an anti-Buddhist polemic: “The Ways [dao] of the periphery and the center are different.”82 And, well before the Tang, Sinitic sources began to associate distant regions with physical aberration. For example, the region north of the semimythical Kunlun mountains, located at the western edge of the known world, as well as other places at the very limits of the earth were believed to be inhabited by giants.83 Chinese cosmological thought also mapped out and differentiated spaces and corresponding ethnic and physical distinctions relative to the four cardinal directions. The Western Han text Huainanzi relates a whole range of physical features (and character types) to each direction, while implying that the specific physiognomies are determined by the particular characteristics of the sun and moon and topography associated with a direction. A typical passage reads, “The north is dark and not illuminated. It is where the sky closes and cold water accumulates. The people there have vigorous bodies, short necks, and broad shoulders and buttocks. Their channels open out through the genitals. They belong to the skeleton type. The direction correlates with the color black and the correlating organ is the kidney. Its people are foolish but longlived.”84 The slightly later Account of wide-ranging matters (Bo wu zhi) continues in the same vein and incorporates some of the stereotypical ethnic features we see figuring prominently in the Tang, such as the attribution of “high noses and deep eyes” to the west.85 The connection between the directions, ethnic difference, and physiognomic difference was thus a natural one that was already made around 400: “During the period of the collapse of the Fu royal clan (c. 394), the barbarians rendered homage and gathered in Guanzhong. The races of the four directions all had strange appearances and exotic features. The [ethnic Han] people of the Jin divided them into categories. They referred to the

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[Western] Hu as ‘crooked noses,’ the Eastern Yi as ‘broad faces and wide foreheads,’ the Northern Di as ‘square feet and faces,’ and the Southern Man as ‘swollen feet.’ Each direction was thus named according to its type.”86 An early Song preface to a collection of Tang and earlier materials stressed that each section of the geographic periphery, divided according to the cardinal directions, possesses its own distinct character which is transmitted to its inhabitants. Even more important, “Heaven” had deliberately established these distinctions in order clearly to differentiate Han from non-Han: “The Rong, Di, Man, and Yi are each located at the extremes of east, west, south, and north. They all have their natural endowments. How could it be that only their indulgences are different? Their appearances are also distinct. For it is in this way that Heaven can realize its intention to distinguish non-Han [yi] from Han [xia] and separate the races [zulei].”87 The relationship between geography and physiognomy established in Tang discourse did not, however, only reflect a simplistic Han/non-Han dichotomy. Tang works on physiognomy distinguished northerners from southerners and easterners from westerners within China itself without referring to ethnic difference.88 Buddhist apologists sought to relativize physiognomic standards just as they had with geographic standards. They argued, in response to Daoist claims that the Buddha’s physiognomy was that of the typical non-Han and thus ipso facto in conflict with his alleged sageness, that there was no constant sagely physiognomy but rather that each land had its own equally valid standards for the appearance of a sage.89 The second major explanation for physical differences among peoples was that they arose from climatic and topological influences. This belief was also prevalent in ancient Greece, Rome, and medieval Islam, and it continued to influence Western understanding of comparative physiology into the early modern period.90 The Romans thought that northern peoples, such as the Germans and Goths, were pale and had fair hair because they had been bleached by the north wind, while southern peoples, such as the Ethiopians, were, in the words of Pliny the Elder, “burnt by the heat of the heavenly body near them and are born with a scorched appearance.”91 For Han elites, directly observable factors such as temperature, precipitation, and terrain features like mountains and rivers were understood not simply to produce human physical variation through environmental influence such as we might understand the phenomenon today, they were also seen as manifestations of the basic force, qi, that varied naturally from place to place, thus leading to variations in human form and character: “The qi of mountains produces many males, while the qi of swamps produces many females. The

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qi of water promotes dumbness, while the qi of wind promotes deafness. The qi of wood produces many deformities, while the qi of stone promotes physical strength. The qi of defiles and passes promotes goiters, while the qi of heat promotes lameness. The qi of clouds promotes longevity, the qi of valleys rheumatism, the qi of hills emaciation, the qi of plains humaneness and the qi of peaks greed.”92 It had also been recognized since at least the third century that food, as a product of the natural environment and a carrier of qi, could similarly affect appearance.93 Thus, qi was believed to work equally on physical and behavioral characteristics. This framework for understanding the natural world pervaded Tang ethnic discourse, as it also structured, for example, the invariable juxtaposition of climate, customs, nature, and physical appearance in ethnographic descriptions, whether secular or Buddhist.94 Tang writing on the relationship between the natural environment and human forms and practices strongly suggests that the people of the Tang saw the body and culture as points along a continuum of human phenomena that responded in similar organic ways to fundamental natural forces such as qi. Variations in climate and topography and thus in human characteristics could occur not only between China, geographically defined as the “Central Kingdom,” and the other regions of the world, and between these other regions, but even within China. One Tang work on physiognomy lists the exemplary features (su), either physical or character related, of eight regions in China and one non-Han ethnic group (the Hu, here conceived of as equivalent to a regional grouping), and then attributes the origin of these features to weather and terrain.95 Inevitably, the defining characteristic of the Hu is a long nose. The chief division was between north and south, primarily a legacy of the political division of the early medieval period and the resulting cultural and social divergences that persisted and, to some extent, continued to develop throughout the Tang. Emperor Wu of the Liang had observed in the sixth century, “The north is high and cool, so that their officials are still robust at forty. However, the south is low and damp so that by thirty our health is already gone.”96 Physiognomic works from the Tang and Song confirm the popularity of the view that northerners’ physiques fitted the part of robust nobles, Tang Taizong being an exemplar, while southerners’ looks suited those of refined literati or wealthy effetes.97 This mirrors the Tang attribution of the greatest martial qualities to northern non-Han peoples, particularly the Turkic nomads of Inner Asia. Tang ethnographers even constructed similar divisions between north and south within individual foreign lands and mapped onto these countries macrocosmic physiognomic distinctions between nonHan groupings. One eighth-century Tang description of Sri Lanka

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reads: “In the north of the country, the people all have the appearance of Hu, and the autumn and summer are hot and dry. In the south of the country, the people all have the appearance of Lao (a generic term for the Thai and Burmese non-Han peoples in the south of China), and there is heavy rain all year round.”98 Tang discourse on appearance frequently assumed a normative appearance for the Han inhabitants of North China and explicitly constructed a variety of southern Han appearances. One common poetic image was of the erotic boys and girls of Wu, the traditional name for the region south of the lower Yangtze. Tang poets lovingly described their pale skin, often exposed to a greater extent than would have been considered proper.99 The opposite physical image, that of southerners as squat and ugly, resembling the monkeys native to their region, was also current in the Tang and was used among elites to insult socially mobile southerners. Stereotypes of the appearance of southerners and northerners persist today: southerners are constructed as short, squat, and dark, and northerners as tall, thin, and pale. Contemporary discussions of differences in the character of the people from these two regions closely resemble past discourse.100 A third explanation for non-Han physical distinctiveness asserted that the ethnic Other’s physiognomy was rooted in the ontology of Otherness. The non-Han Other was visibly different from the Han Self because of his construction in Chinese discourse as somehow less than human, existing somewhere in the middle of a range with fully human beings—the Han and others assimilated into Tang society—at one end and animals (themselves distributed along a gradient) at the other. The fourth explanation for non-Han physical differences pertained to cultural practices that manifested themselves in the alteration of the physical body, such as tattoos (strongly associated in Chinese culture with the ethnic Other and cultural deviancy),101 scarification, and hairstyles.102

Physiognomy and Heredity Tang discourse on the relationship between heredity and the physical appearance of the barbarian was, in many respects, quite distinct from contemporaneous discourse on the physiognomy and the nature (xing) of the individual. Physiognomic evaluations rarely explicitly dealt with ethnic identity, as its explanatory and “scientific” power was based, on the one hand, on its claims of universality and, on the other hand, on its focus on the individual. Thus, physiognomic evaluations of An Lushan’s distinguishing physical features make no mention of his ethnic identity. Furthermore, in contrast to the exoteric construction of ethnic differences through physical appearance based on widely disseminated stereo-

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types, physiognomy was an esoteric practice that relied for its prestige on its ability to reveal otherwise hidden character traits and predict the future. Nevertheless, the discourse of physiognomy is vital for understanding the Tang conception of heredity, in that the two concepts shared a fundamental assumption that also runs throughout Tang ethnic discourse: appearance reflects identity. The Han, like all peoples who practiced agriculture and animal husbandry, had a significant stock of knowledge regarding the hereditary transmission of traits, thanks to their experience domesticating crops and breeding animals.103 Most writers took for granted the validity of the rule that like begets like, though it played a minor part in their overall discussion of human appearance. The only extended discussion of the issue occurs in Wang Chong’s first-century work Critical essays (Lun heng), which was idiosyncratic by the standards of his times. He argues that people with aristocratic features tend to marry each other for pragmatic purposes, as the natural world demonstrates that the joining of like things tends to lead to good results.104 Thus, his theory is not directly a theory of heredity but rather a sociological theory to explain why like things tend to cluster together. However, it indirectly explains how physical features and other characteristics tend to be perpetuated within social and biological groups across time. Yet, more than in many societies, the literate elites of China interpreted the natural endowment of humans, whether it be their natures or their physical bodies, as deriving at least as much from fate and the relatively arbitrary combination of cosmic forces as from their parents. It is difficult to assess the weight given to these various influences because of terminological vagueness and conflicting statements. A seemingly definitive statement in Zhangsun Wuji’s subcommentary to the Tang legal code asserts that the appearance (mao) of the human race is a microcosm of heaven and earth, but that the natural variations on this model that allow us to distinguish one person from another, “forms” (xing), are inherited from one’s forebears: “People’s appearance resembles heaven and earth, but they are endowed with forms from their parents.”105 A typical statement dating to shortly after the Tang, however, stresses only cosmological factors, does not account for variation, and reverses the usage of Zhangsun’s terms: “When people are born, they have concentrated within them the flowering of the Five Phases, and they resemble the form of the two models [heaven and earth]. However, though their endowment is the same, their appearance is varied.”106 In fact, inherited variation in early physiognomic texts is usually spoken of more in terms of the inheritance of character and moral qualities than of physical traits.107 Tang biographies and epitaphs, even when jux-

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taposed with those of the subject’s relatives, rarely remark on physical or emotional resemblance to their forebears or descendants. As we saw above, a person’s resemblance to another was usually remarked upon when the subject was relatively unknown and his resemblance to a famous person was noted as a prelude to some sort of act of favor or prejudice based on analogous reasoning: X was a loyal minister, so Y, who resembles him, will also be a loyal minister. Inherited physical traits thus do not appear to have played a significant role in elite discourse on ancestry and kingship comparable to that in, for example, medieval and early modern Europe, where such features as the Hapsburg nose were remarked upon from generation to generation and used as a symbol of legitimacy.108 Nevertheless, scattered sources reveal the existence of a body of conventional wisdom that pared away or overlooked cosmological factors and asserted that physical traits were indeed inherited from one’s forebears. One pre-Tang case shows an awareness that features could be inherited equally from the father and the mother. The Eastern Han official Feng Qin’s grandfather was ashamed of the fact that all of his brothers were tall and imposing, while he himself was short. Even more, he feared that his own descendants would be similarly short, so he chose a tall wife to marry his son. The result, we are told, was that Feng Qin was well over a foot taller than his grandfather and was able to achieve high office.109 This illustrates a common phenomenon in the appearanceconscious society of medieval China: the selection of spouses based on desired physical traits that could be passed down to one’s descendants. Ugliness was also believed to be hereditary in families such as the Wen clan, which produced the great ninth-century literatus Wen Tingyun, whose family members were nicknamed Zhong Kui after the hideous guardian deity whose image was hung in houses to ward off demons.110 The belief in inherited physical characteristics was the foundation of claims made by both Han and non-Han that some ethnically non-Han groups or individuals were, in fact, descended from Han. Thus, whereas according to Tang ethnographies the typical Kirghiz had blond hair, green eyes, and a red beard, Kirghiz with black hair were explained away as the descendants of the Han dynasty general Li Ling and his soldiers who had been captured by the Xiongnu around 100 B.C.E.111 There are also indications that some Han believed in devolution, the theory that creatures can give birth to offspring of a different, but always lower, species.112 This belief likely served as a justification for regularly appearing theories of the descent of non-Han groups such as the Kirghiz from the Han, while ruling out the reverse. Ethnic identity itself, within the Tang Empire, appears to have been traced through the patriline. Although Tang ethnographers and other

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sources, including a remark attributed to An Lushan,113 state that nonHan traced descent through the matriline—perhaps true for a few ethnic groups, but, more important, used by Tang elites as an indication of non-Han deviation from Chinese norms—the famous exchange between Geshu Han and An Lushan over their respective identities, as well as the evidence from biographies and tomb epigraphy, makes it clear that non-Han persons living in China, to the extent that they selfidentified as ethnically non-Han, did so based on the ethnicity of their fathers. People in the Tang were also conscious of the existence of recessive traits and applied them in discourse on ethnic identity. The best illustration of the transmission of recessive traits deals with the inheritance of ethnically marked physical characteristics and even uses a horse-breeding analogy, invoking a skill closely associated with non-Han peoples. Song Cha of Guangping (modern Hebei) married a woman from Youchang in the same commandery. Cha’s ancestors were Hu, but his family had been Han subjects for three generations. His wife unexpectedly gave birth to a son who had deep eyes and a high nose. Cha suspected that the boy was not his offspring and was on the verge of rejecting the child. However, shortly after the boy’s birth, his madder-colored horse gave birth to a fine white colt. Cha came to a sudden realization and said, “Our family used to have a white horse. It’s been twenty-five years since his line died out, but it’s been reborn today. My greatgrandfather was Hu in his appearance. Now this boy has revived his ancestors’ [stock].” Cha then brought up the boy. Therefore, when someone says, “The white horse gave life to the Hu boy,” they are referring to this incident.114

Thus, distinguishing physical features, including features associated with particular ethnic groups, were viewed as heritable through the patriline, even if recessive. Song’s initial reluctance to accept his son indicates that the people of the time were inclined to look only at the father’s features when assessing heredity. Song Cha’s reaction also suggests that it was considered particularly shameful to be cuckolded by a non-Han, and, incidentally, suggests that there were significant numbers of non-Han in central China who were integrated into Tang society. Perhaps most important is the significant discrepancy between the narrator’s and Song Cha’s explanation of the son’s non-Han appearance. According to the author, Song Cha’s great-grandfather was a Hu, a non-Han. In contrast, Song Cha accounts for his son’s physiognomy by stating that his great-grandfather’s appearance resembled that of the typical Hu. Clearly, Song Cha did not like to advertise his great-grandfather’s ethnic affiliations. In this respect, he was probably typical of those descendants of non-Han in the third generation and later who, dwelling in areas dominated by Chinese cultural and social norms and not being professional soldiers, merchants, or in other occupations where a non-

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Han identity was beneficial, wished merely to assimilate to the Han majority. Song Cha’s remark also confirms the evidence of the jokes and insults regarding non-Han appearance that it was possible in Tang society for individuals to separate appearance from identity, physiognomy from ethnicity. However, the claim of the narrator that Song Cha was indeed of Hu ancestry, combined with Song’s admission that physical traits were heritable, suggests that many of the jokes and insults about noses, beards, eyes, and skin hid behind them the accusation, or merely the observation, that there were ethnic Others lurking in the bloodlines. At the popular level, then, belief in the relationship between physiognomy and nature and the heritability of physical features supported the widespread notion pervading Tang ethnic discourse that appearance reflected intersecting regional, ancestral, and ethnic identities. At the imperial level, this notion was reinforced by the creation of a taxonomy of foreign ethnic and political entities in various Tang official ethnographic works, such as the chapters on foreign peoples in the History of the Sui, which took into account differences in physiognomy. Yet, there was also an opposing discourse circulating among both elites and the masses that argued against the absolute correspondence of outward appearance and inner reality. At the popular level, this took the form of stories about “ugly ducklings,” individuals whose appearance belied their character, abilities, or identity. However, these accounts are usually presented as exceptional cases and are hardly an indictment of the universal practice of judging persons and attributing certain identities based on their appearance. One Tang work, Collected carved jade (Diaoyu ji), contains entries collected from earlier works describing people with exceptional—in both the positive and the negative senses—appearances. Yet, in the section on “ugly people,” in only one case is ugliness used to condemn the practice of focusing of surface beauty rather than inner virtue.115 At the elite level, classical Confucian theory argued that there could be a fundamental dissonance between appearance and inner nature. The relevant line attributed to Confucius and appearing twice in the Analects is, “Fine words and a fair appearance seldom indicate humaneness.”116 Later sources continued to point to Confucius as the ultimate authority for why one should not judge people based on their appearances.117 One account even depicts Tang officials ridiculing the flattering physiognomic observations of an emperor and pointing out the basic absurdity of his assumptions: “Li Zhongchen was the military governor of Bianzhou. Once, while responding to a memorial, Emperor Dezong said to him, ‘Your ears are very big; you are truly a noble person.’ Zhongchen responded: “I have heard that a donkey’s ears are very big, while a dragon’s ears are very small. Although my ears are big, they are

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simply the ears of a donkey.’ The emperor was amused by this.”118 Collections of descriptions of famous men record in an entirely didactic and self-conscious manner cases of rebels or otherwise invidious personalities who had outstanding appearances, and, conversely, ideal Confucian ministers whose appearance was below average.119 Confucian skepticism about physiognomy was able to undermine ethnic stereotyping in individual cases but could not logically eliminate the stereotyping as a whole. On the hand, particular details made it possible to separate the character and deeds of individual non-Han from their ancestry and appearance, as in the case of Zhang Xiaogong, who was of Tatabï ancestry and was tall and fierce but also lenient and respectful in character.120 The stereotypical non-Han appearance could be viewed as ugly, but individual non-Han or supernatural creatures in non-Han form with these same features could be described as imposing or handsome.121 On the other hand, these contradictions were turned around and formed the basis for a discourse—particularly prevalent among civil officials who had no direct experience with the frontier and who drew their impressions and arguments largely from texts and their interactions with non-Han in Chang’an—that granted a human, even appealing, appearance to non-Han, while asserting basic non-Han inhumanity (or, at least, violation of “human” norms). This approach was exemplified by the cliché of non-Han having “faces of men but hearts of beasts.” The existence of this discourse as a reserve ideology at the elite level gave officials greater flexibility in dealing with ethnic difference and ethnic conflict. The actual significance in daily interaction of physical variation and the identification of particular physical features as non-Han is difficult to judge. If an individual of known non-Han background, even if relatively remote, had stereotypically non-Han features, then the association of the two was usually automatic: “[Su] Mozhe’s origins go back to barbarians from west of the seas; he has glass-jeweled (green or blue) eyes and a purple beard.”122 While we may presume that inhabitants of the Tang, particularly those in areas of great ethnic diversity, made frequent assessments of ethnic identity of those they encountered based largely on their physical appearance, those interactions that survive in the sources usually focus on some other distinguishing characteristic of the non-Han individual, such as their occupation. When the physical body of the non-Han is the focus of a text, the author either presents a hideously ugly semihuman figure, nearly indistinguishable from various classes of demons and other supernatural creatures who were attributed with stereotypically non-Han features,123 or a romanticized portrait that similarly raises the ethnic Other into the supernatural realm, as in Li Bo’s portrait of a musician with the typical Sogdian surname of Kang:

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“Awesome and craggy, the features of his face / Measured and precise, his manner of bearing. Green jade glowing, glowing, the pupils of his eyes / Yellow gold curling, curling, the hair upon his temples. . . . Who could guess that this barbarian is a realized immortal?”124 Although non-Han female dancers and barmaids were frequently exoticized and viewed as erotic, often dangerous, objects, their features were usually not detailed. A barmaid in a Li Bo poem is typically described as having an appearance like a flower,125 while perhaps the two most famous poems on the popular Iranian dancing girls, Yuan Zhen and Bo Juyi’s matching works, both entitled “The Hu whirling dance” (“Hu xuanwu”) barely refer to physical appearance at all. Yuan hints at the dancer’s corporeal body by describing the whirling of her various clothes and ornaments: earrings, a scarf, and sashes; Bo merely suggests the whiteness of her skin with the phrase “swirling snowflakes.”126 The ethnic dimensions of physical appearance took on particular salience during pogroms against non-Han. Massacres of non-Han peoples who were relatively integrated within the Tang empire—as distinct from the often vicious warfare against unassimilated or assimilating peoples on the frontiers and in isolated pockets in the interior—was relatively rare. However, they did occur, frequently sparked by a combination of interethnic tensions, social rivalries, and immediate political and military concerns. In such cases, particularly in urban areas where non-Han might be relatively well integrated into neighborhoods, physical features played a crucial role in the identification of potential victims. Following the murder of Shi Siming, the last effective leader of the rebellion initially led by An Lushan, internecine warfare broke out among the various armies in the northeast. Two rivals were Gao Juren and Asina Chengqing, the latter a fanjiang with the surname of the Türk royal clan. Gao forced his rival out of the rebel capital and then offered a reward for all dead Hu. The sources tell us that the resulting massacre was brutal and indiscriminate: “Babies were thrown up in the air and impaled on spears. Many who had high noses and resembled Hu were killed.”127 Other accounts of ethnically specific pogroms do not explicitly mention the use by attackers of physical characteristics to identify their victims, but it is certain that stereotypically non-Han features, those associated with the Hu, that is, Central Asian ethnic groups, were used to distinguish friend from foe in the chaos. Two earlier cases, both taking place in Chang’an, in which physical features were used to single out a target group for extermination, the massacre of eunuchs (presumably identified through their lack of facial hair) attributed to the late Eastern Han general Dong Zhuo in 189,128 and the massacre of non-Han peoples at the instigation of a Han usurper in 350, were often used as analogous

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examples when Tang writers wished to indicate the indiscriminate nature of a contemporary massacre.129 However, while the role of physical features in distinguishing ethnicity during a period of open conflict was thus fixed in Tang ethnic discourse and was probably significant in the dynamics of civil unrest in the Tang, it was also a cliché signifying the severity of interethnic conflict. Thus, its use was not necessarily based on reality but likely often served as a discursive trope similar to the usage of the phrase “people ate other people” to describe the desperation of besieged populations, even if actual cannibalism may not have taken place. The salience of the body in Tang ethnic discourse and the common understanding that variation in physical features was a product of geography and ancestry strongly argue for the position that ethnic identity in the Tang, particularly at the level of daily social interaction, was neither completely fungible nor irrelevant. One’s features could be neither changed nor hidden. In certain cases, one simply could not conceal one’s non-Han identity. At the same time, however, the example of Song Cha and his Hu-looking son suggests that over time one could gradually separate stereotypically non-Han physical features from an original nonHan ethnic identity if one had assimilated on the other levels of identity prominent in Tang ethnic discourse. Indeed, Song Cha specifically invokes two of those levels—political and genealogical—in his efforts to prove his Han bona fides. Tang ethnographic writings clearly reveal the assumption, rooted in some of the most fundamental tenets of Chinese thought, of a close interrelationship between geography, culture, and the body, all linked together by cosmic forces that find their expression in both the natural and the human world. Therefore, while distinguishing these three themes in ethnic discourse and structuring our analysis accordingly, to draw sharp boundaries between them or to deny their overlapping and mutually influencing relationship would be fundamentally to misunderstand the Tang discursive construction of ethnicity and, indeed, broader social phenomena. The confluence in China of discourses on ethnicity and physiognomy has persisted to the present. In the late 1980s and 1990s, puritanical restrictions on displaying the nude female body were loosened for depictions of southwestern ethnic minorities in murals, paintings, and films, while buxom blonde Western women with fat babies were a ubiquitous presence on calendars.130 These images were treated with a mixture of condescension, incomprehension, and prurient interest consistent with a pattern of “internal orientalization” (i.e., the construction as an exotic Other) of non-Han peoples.131 Their precursors in the Tang, “barbarians” rather than “minority nationalities,” probably met with a similar re-

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action, except that this reaction was complicated by all the positive valuations associated with ethnic Others and their images during the Tang that largely do not exist today, despite official attempts to stress ethnic minority contributions to the Chinese state. In recent years, the fascination with the body of the ethnic Other has taken an ironic twist. Plastic surgery in China is rapidly increasing in popularity as both men and women seek to enhance their beauty by making themselves look “exotic” and their features more “expressive.” As reported in the Western press, the most popular operations are slicing the eyelids to “make the eyes seem deeper-set” and rhinoplasty to make their noses “a little higher.”132 Whereas their Tang forebears were content to employ non-Han and their images in order to appropriate their skills and powers, the Han of today have the ability to remake themselves as simulacra of ethnic Others complete with “deep eyes and high noses,” and a growing number are indeed pursuing this goal blissfully unaware of the historical irony.

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The Geopolitics of Ethnicity

Sinitic texts had, long before the Tang, used geographic boundaries to mark off ethnic differences and ascribed ethnic content to geographic features. Chinese geographical discourse easily incorporated ethnic content and facilitated construction of ethnic boundaries because it was from its origins highly political and cultural and strongly oriented toward delimiting frontiers. Indeed, the concept of boundary or division was arguably the most important structuring principle in the Chinese construction of geographic space. Even basic geographic vocabulary reveals the centrality of boundaries: one of the most common geographic terms, jing, denotes both a border and territory enclosed by the border, while the closest Chinese equivalent to “geography,” dili, refers to the division (li) of land (di).1 The division of the world attributed to the sage-king Yu and periodically restated in the Tang was the ur-geography of China. The preeminent model for geographers of the imperial period, the geographical treatise of the History of the Han—compiled between 92 and 112—described changes in administrative geography across space and time with a heavy emphasis on boundaries but also with attention to topography, climate, ethnicity, and culture.2 Furthermore, the Tang’s most definitive statement on geography, Li Jifu’s preface to the early ninth-century Maps and gazetteer of the provinces and counties in the Yuanhe period (Yuanhe junxian tuzhi), describes the early history of Chinese geography as a process of continuously marking off divisions that then served as the foundation for major cultural developments.3 In addition, the Han definition of the Self inextricably tied together geography and identity, both familial and ethnic. This can be seen in the enduring importance of native-place identifications in biographical writing from at least the late second century B.C.E.4 and the vital role of choronyms—place names that delineate branches of larger clans—in genealogies after the third century C.E. Thus, several well-developed streams of geographic discourse were well positioned in the Tang to play into the discursive construction of ethnic difference.

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The Structure of Space: Inner and Outer Boundaries in Tang discourse—geographic, ethnic, and otherwise— were fundamentally conceived of in terms of the hierarchical opposition between inner (nei) or central (zhong) versus outer (wai). This opposition was one of the core concepts underlying Chinese thought (as well as Inner Asian political geography),5 most notably in the social realm where the separation between private and public, female and male, kin and non-kin, and high and low social status, were all understood by reference to the dichotomy between inner and outer, respectively.6 Snobbish members of elite lineages referred to families that lacked social standing as “outer households” or “outer clans.” Political power and status were similarly differentiated, as in the opposition between the “inner court” institutions of the imperial household and the “outer court” institutions of the regular bureaucracy, and the Tang division of officialdom between those “within the stream” of regular promotion and miscellaneous clerks and subofficials “outside the stream.” Chinese cosmology placed a high imperial center as the central focus and axis mundi of the empire and the universe. Likewise, the spatial geography of China—itself the Central Kingdom (zhongguo)—and outlying lands were conceived of in terms of the inner-outer dichotomy.7 To a certain extent, the discursive division of space into an inside and an outside followed the contours of actual landscapes. Prominent physical features, particularly the Yellow and Yangtze rivers and the Hangu Pass (east of Chang’an), were chosen as boundaries, and large macroregions were subsequently designated as being inside or outside the particular feature. While the choice of such topographical features as dividing lines often corresponded to climatic divisions, communications networks, or other concrete geographical boundaries, the designation of particular spaces as “inner” was, like all projects of metageography, an arbitrary construct.8 In the Chinese case, these divisions were not primarily based on the location of the imperial capital even though the capital and its ritual centers had, from the earliest times, been conceived of as axes mundi,9 as the emperor and his court in the Tang and most earlier dynasties moved between multiple capitals. The central point around which the Han ethnic group and Chinese culture oriented themselves was the socalled Central Plain (zhongyuan), the North China Plain centered on Luoyang and the middle reaches of the Yellow River downstream from the eastern bend of the large north-south Ordos loop.10 Han literati considered the Central Plain to be the timeless cultural center of China dating back to the period of the earliest sage-kings and culture

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heroes. Tang elites by and large viewed the possession of the Central Plain as the sine qua non of dynastic legitimacy, ascribing Chinese political legitimacy to states founded by earlier ethnic non-Han ruling houses that had politically controlled the region, including the Northern Wei and Northern Zhou, the political forebears of the Sui and the Tang. Even in the early ninth century, when parts of the Central Plain were held by local administrations that defied central authority, and political and cultural themes prevailed over genealogical themes in defining ethnic identity, arguments that political legitimacy depended on holding Chinese cultural values rather than on possession of the Central Plain—a view that gained currency in subsequent eras when Chinese and Han identity became more rigid—remained in the minority.11 Though Chang’an, to the west of the Central Plain, was the fulcrum of the Tang Empire’s political and military weight for most of the dynasty, the Central Plain had a social and cultural prestige that outweighed its declining political, military, and economic significance. Luoyang continued to be considered the metageographic center of China.12 The term zhongyuan could stand metonymically for China as a whole, equivalent to zhongguo and similar terms, such as “central lands” (zhongtu) and “central provinces” (zhongzhou), with vague geographic limits that also used notions of centrality and inwardness to privilege a loosely defined China.13 The notion of centrality was so powerful that Buddhist apologists used the term central regions as an abstract and universal geographic term—in part to counter the notion that China was not the only world center (see Chapter 3)—and adopted their non-Buddhist counterparts’ prejudice against peripheries. The apologists argued that all Buddhas appeared in a zhongzhou, a metropolitan region of a major sedentary civilization, whether India or China, for “if they would have been born in border regions, the area would have caused them to deviate [from the path of a Buddha].”14 Tang sources associate non-Han peoples and cultures with outer regions and peripheralized these peoples literally and figuratively through created geographies. Poetry describing the frontier—probably the most influential literary genre in forming the ethnogeographic worldview of Tang society, as it was accessible to the broad populace through popular music—contained numerous simple formulations that hammered this point home, such as: “Space is divided into inner and outer, and customs are divided into barbarian [yi] and Chinese [xia].”15 Chief Minister Di Renjie made a more elaborate statement of this premise in a memorial arguing against the incorporation of present-day Xinjiang into the Tang Empire: “I have heard that when

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Heaven gave birth to the barbarians [yi], they were all outside the enfeoffed territories of the former sage-kings. Therefore, to the east they were separated by the deep blue sea, to the west they were separated by the flowing sands, to the north they were sundered by the great desert, and to the south they were blocked by the Five Peaks. These were the means by which Heaven delimited the barbarians [yidi] and separated inner from outer.”16 Tang writers categorized non-Han peoples that they viewed as relatively more distant from China or more resistant to Tang political and cultural influence as generically “outer” with the term outer barbarian (waiyi) and equivalent expressions: waiman, wairong, waifan, and the like. In contrast, the term inner barbarian, which one might expect to be used to describe non-Han peoples living inside China, barely appears in the Tang sources, with the exception of the late Tang essays I discuss in the Conclusion. This indicates that mainstream Tang metageographic discourse did not allow for the contemporary existence of non-Han qua barbarians inside the geographical limits of China proper, despite their obvious presence there, although it did acknowledge their historical presence. Sinitic discourse on the relationship between geographic, cultural, and ethnic distance correlated distance and outsiderness with divergence from Han ethnic and Chinese cultural norms. The further one was from the Central Plain, the more likely one was to be culturally and ethnically deviant. At the same time, however, Han elites, like most other peoples, associated extreme distance with magical potency and often envisioned certain distant realms, whether real or imagined, as possessing particular virtues, often as a means to hold them up as a mirror to their society. The depiction of the state of Da Qin, first appearing in Sinitic texts in the Western Han, was a highly idealized vision of the Roman Empire that possessed both elements of a highly advanced urban sedentary state along Chinese lines and also strong paradisiacal qualities, relating it to the general notion in Chinese folklore of a western paradise associated first with the Queen Mother of the West and later with the Amitabha Buddha.17 Stories of ideal foreign lands continued to be written in the Tang, combining western paradise motifs with themes of seclusion and simplicity based on the Peach Blossom Spring and similar Daoist utopias that became popular in the Northern and Southern Dynasties.18 One section of Niu Sengru’s ninth-century Record of abstruse oddities (Xuan guai lu) describes an idyllic land of vegetarians who benefit from the fruits of agriculture without actually performing any of the work associated with farming and other tasks. The land lacks mountains and has many rivers. The climate is mild, all the trees are fruit trees, the land has many gems, and silk is naturally produced without the need for

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silkworms or looms. There are no harmful insects or, indeed, any other animals except for horses, used for riding. The people are all equal in height and appearance, lack strong emotions, and live a long life.19 Although this vision may not have been shared by all Tang elites, it illustrates how Han-centered utopias were implicitly framed in opposition various stereotypes associated with generic non-Han lands, particularly those of Inner Asia, such as extreme climate and terrain, meat eating, and animal husbandry. The equation of distance with the fantastic appears both in official and semi-official writings, which relied on contemporary debriefings of Chinese and foreign envoys and the official historiography of previous dynasties,20 that were primarily intended to educate future bureaucrats, and also in informal works composed in the chuanqi (“transmitting oddities”) and zhiguai (“describing anomalies”) literary genres, which mixed fact and fiction as part of the medieval Chinese vogue for writing about a wide range of curious and noteworthy phenomena.21 In the first category, we have the following two entries from the Comprehensive institutions (Tong dian), completed in 801 but largely based on earlier sources going back centuries: Jibin [Kashmir] is west of the Xuandu Mountains and communication with it was first established in Han times. . . . It is 12,200 li from Chang’an. . . . Jibin’s land is level and its climate mild. It has clover, many and varied grasses, and exotic trees such as sandalwood, huai, catalpa, bamboo, and lacquer. The people cultivate the five grains, grapes, and all kinds of fruit, and fertilize their orchards and fields with manure. The ground is swampy, produces rice, and the people eat fresh vegetables in winter. The people are skillful; they do tracery and engraving, build mansions, weave carpets, do embroidery, and are good at cooking. They possess gold, silver, copper, and tin, of which they make utensils. There are shopping districts. (Author’s note: the markets have rows of shops like in China.) They use gold and silver to mint coins that have a horseman on the obverse and a human face on the reverse. They raise zebus, elephants, large dogs, macaque monkeys, and peacocks. The land produces pearls, coral, amber, and jade-like glass. The other animals in Jibin are the same as those of other countries.22 To the south of the Northern Sea there are also Dingling who are not those Dingling who are west of the Wusun. The Wusun elders say that among the northern Dingling is the realm of Majing [Manao], whose people make a noise like wild geese or wild ducks. From the knees up to their heads their bodies are human, while from the knees down they are covered with fur and have horse shanks and hooves. They do not ride horses but can run faster than horses. They are brave and stout and daring in battle.23

The first entry, typical of the descriptions of foreign lands in official dynastic histories and gazetteers, is detailed, specific, and makes explicit comparisons to other lands and to China itself. The second entry,

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which is closer in form and content to the chuanqi and zhiguai genres but also to some canonical works mixing geography and myth, such as the Classic of mountains and seas, is vague, general, and lacks an explicit context that explains the bizarreness of its inhabitants. The information in the first entry is given in the form of an absolute statement of fact by an omniscient narrator and would have been understood in the Tang ultimately to be based on reliable information obtained through a long history of contact between Jibin and China, including firsthand accounts by natives of both lands. The description of the Manao is, however, prefaced by the important qualification “the Wusun elders say,” indicating that the recorders were aware of the limited value of hearsay from unreliable native informants, among whom would have been included the elders of the Wusun (a Han-era Inner Asian people), as individuals relatively untouched by Chinese mores. Nevertheless, this type of description was common throughout Tang discourse on non-Han ethnic groups from distant lands, reinforcing the notion that the difference between the bizarre inhuman forms and behaviors of far-distant ethnic Others and the nonnormative character and mores of non-Han groups inside or near the Tang empire was one of degree, not of kind. While the pattern of description in the state-centered texts can be attributed in part to the fact that the greater the distance of the place described, the more the recorder was forced to rely on hearsay rather than personal experience or reliable witnesses, it also betrays a worldview that correlates distance with the exotic and bizarre.24 The classic text of this sort in the Western European tradition is the fourteenth-century work The Book of John Mandeville, purporting to be an account of a trip to the East by the fictitious English knight Sir John Mandeville. Marco Polo and many others in the late medieval and early modern periods used this collection of various myths, fantasies, and travel accounts as an authoritative source.25 What distinguished this worldview in the case of China was its close relationship with a traditional cosmology that integrated physical geography with political and cultural divisions. The highly influential loci classici of this cosmology were passages from the closing section of the Tribute of Yu (Yu gong)—a chapter in the Book of Shang (Shang shu), also known as the Classic of history (Shu jing)—and two sections of the Rites of Zhou (Zhou li), both works firmly established as Confucian canonical works in Tang state-sponsored scholarship and education.26 The most influential of the three, the passage from the Tribute of Yu (translated below), divided the known world into five domains, bounded by a series of concentric circles around the imperial capital, from the imperial domain through the

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domain of the feudal lords to three increasingly autonomous and unruly domains.

Non-Han in the Landscape The terms inner and outer in themselves do not ascribe a particular character to landscape. In Tang elite discourse, however, paralleling the distinction between inner and outer was a characterization of the outside as a wilderness (ye or huang). In some cases these terms could be used metaphorically, as when ye referred to officials beyond the court and central bureaucracy in the common phrase for the total sum of officialdom, chaoye (chao meaning “court” and denoting officials in the central bureaucracy), or the description, going back to before the Qin, of peasants as “people of the wilds” (yeren), in contrast to city dwellers.27 Yet, the frequent Tang references to the northern and southern peripheries of the empire as wilderness had more than metaphorical significance. They referred also to the physical landscape, which, in Han eyes, was inhospitable and dangerous, whether it was northern steppes or southern jungles. Traditional Chinese notions of a “natural” environmental state did not match modern Western notions of an untamed wild with little or no visible human imprint. Rather, they largely conformed to Daoist depictions in the Daodejing and other seminal texts, such as the late fourthcentury and early fifth-century Tao Yuanming’s “A record of Peach-Blossom Spring” (“Taohua yuan ji”) of self-sufficient agriculture and low levels of social organization with inhabitants who conformed to basic notions of Chinese culture. Chinese culture only recognized settled agriculture and village or city life as signifying a true human presence on the land, effectively negating the presence of non-Han peoples, herding nomads in the north and swiddening agriculturalists in the south, and the transformative effects of these peoples on the environment. As a consequence, Tang observers often characterized “wilderness” regions as “empty” (kong), justifying or even demanding their “filling” (shi) by Han settlers. In Tang geographical works, the loss of Chinese political control alone was sufficient to render a region “empty.”28 The Han shared their perception of non-Han lands as often “empty” with other premodern colonizing peoples such as the ancient Greeks, who named newly colonized lands after animals, such as Monkey Island, not so much in reference to the perceived bestial nature of the lands’ inhabitants but rather reflecting a view that the lands were devoid of true human habitation.29 European settlers in colonial America likewise took the view that the native inhabitants’ presence on the land had had as little transforming effect on the landscape as that of the indigenous animals.30

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The perception of an “empty” frontier did, however, accord with a certain reality: border zones and other areas of majority non-Han habitation often had a low population density. This was entirely natural, as such regions, particularly those in the Sino–Inner Asian frontier zone, would have already succumbed to Han migration pressures if they could have ecologically supported the labor-intensive agriculture characteristic of Chinese society. This state of affairs long goaded Chinese governments who could not understand how small numbers of tribesmen could resist the weight of Chinese armies and Han settlers. One popular explanation in the Tang and other periods for continued nomadic resistance and aggression, somewhat paradoxical in light of the characterization of the steppe as an “empty” wilderness, was that Mongolia was an inexhaustible reservoir of “barbarians.” The minister Chu Suiliang, active in the first half of the seventh century, memorialized: “Moreover, there are innumerable tribes to the north of Longsha. The Central Kingdom may attack them without ever eliminating them. Although Kebineng [a late second-century Xianbei leader] was defeated, the Ruirui [the dominant nomad confederation between 380 and 555, also referred to in the Sinitic sources as Rouran or Ruanruan and identified in Europe as the Avars] arose; after the Türks were vanquished, the Xueyantuo waxed in power.”31 Indeed, the picture of endless masses of barbarians periodically flooding out of the inexhaustible depths of Inner Asia was an extremely powerful image appearing in the writings of virtually all sedentary civilizations bordering on Inner Asia.32 The orientation of inner and outer around the Central Plain structured equally important cultural and political frames of reference in the ethnic geography of the Tang. Comprehensive geographies of the Tang located each administrative region in space by establishing a correspondence between its current territory and the territory of one of the Nine Provinces (jiuzhou), whose delineation was attributed to the sage-king Yu as described in the Tribute of Yu, likely a work of the late Warring States or Qin.33 This practice placed the origins of a united China spread out in a uniform and totalizing fashion over the landscape in the mythical past and attributed the establishment of administrative regions to a Chinese culture hero, thus granting geographical boundaries—not only demarcating regions within China but also distinguishing China from not-China—an honored place in the narrative of civilization central to Han ethnic consciousness. It also posited the existence of fundamental Chinese geocultural continuity over the ages that had persisted despite political divisions. Moreover, it also admitted the possibility that Chinese political and cultural influence and Han ethnic boundaries might not coincide, although it preferred to locate such discontinuities in the past. The Nine Provinces were the crucial foundation for the frequent

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distinction made by Tang writers between lands that belonged to the Tang Empire and those that were part of the Central Kingdom (zhongguo), that is, part of what will be referred to as “China proper.” The former were under the direct political control of the dynasty regardless of the ethnicity of the inhabitants (who were all considered “Tang subjects”) and were referred to as “Tang territory” or as “that owned by the state.”34 The first term was particularly common in unofficial poetry and prose, especially frontier poetry, while the latter was used in official communications. Conversely, rebel-held territory could be referred to by officials as “not the state’s prefectures or counties” or as “not belonging to the state.”35 Lands that belonged to China proper because of their inclusion in the Nine Provinces were not necessarily occupied by homogenous Han populations and, in some periods, were not even under Tang control. However, they were often viewed as the proper area of Han cultural and ethnic dominance, and any demographic or cultural change that challenged this dominance could be perceived as a threat to the integrity of the realm and the legitimacy of the dynasty. Thus, the Tang state made strenuous efforts in 850 to restore both political control and ethnic Han society in three border prefectures in Sichuan, considered part of China proper, which had been captured by the Tibetans.36 Yet, Bo Juyi, one of the towering literary figures of the eighth century and often a voice for the common man, suggested that losses of such territory, such as the Tibetans’ capture of the northwest in the mid-eighth century, though experienced as tragic rendings of the national fabric by the emperor and his generals, did not engender the same kind of demoralization and humiliation among the general populace or the army rank and file.37 Other literary works, however, suggest patriotic fervor did exist among Tang commoners at times of foreign incursions into Tang territory.38 Mainstream Tang geographic discourse did not excise non-Han peoples from the landscape, even within areas recognized as China proper. Toponyms reflected previous or current non-Han habitation, often dating back to the Northern Wei, which had directed the migration of large ethnically homogenous non-Han groups into North China. One such settlement in the Ordos was still known in the Tang as Hu Outpost.39 Place names along the frontier or in other areas that had witnessed changing political and ethnic boundaries often proclaimed messages of submission and imperial suasion. One of the prominent landmarks in the Dunhuang region was Defeating the Qiang Pavilion, commemorating a Western Han victory over the proto-Tibetans, while two adjacent counties near the northern frontier were named Pacifying the Yi and Settling the Hu.40 These toponyms sometimes reflected actual assimilation on the ground, or, in other cases, were indicative only of the fond

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hopes of the state. In all cases they stressed the centrality of the state and the emperor in effecting civilizing change. Although the presence of non-Han inhabitants—sometimes recent migrants but often communities of long standing—within China proper was recognized in various ways in Tang discourse, these communities were accorded no lasting geographical identity or legitimacy, though they were accorded certain legal privileges (see below). From the viewpoint of the imperial bureaucracy, their presence was ultimately an aberration that acculturation and assimilation would eventually eradicate. In the ideal world envisioned by the Tang legal code, “the passes and barriers of the frontier divide Han [hua] and non-Han [yi].”41 Non-Han could feel attachments to their homes—longings often expressed eloquently in Chinese poetry, though mostly by Han authors writing in a non-Han voice—but only if their homes were in an ethnic homeland outside China. The great frontier poet Li Yi wrote in 781 of a Hu singer from the Six Hu Prefectures (established in the Ordos to hold surrendered Türks and Sogdians) that: “His heart knows that the old country is far from Xizhou [Turfan/Gaochang], he faces west toward the barbarian sky and gazes at his distant homeland.”42 Non-Han living in China could only legitimately become attached to their places in residence, in the eyes of Tang literati, through registration as a sedentary Tang subject and, ultimately, assimilation as a Han. While the Tang ultimately based its ethnocultural geography on the Tribute of Yu, the frontiers of the Han dynasty at its greatest reach under the expansionist emperor Wudi (r. 141–87 B.C.E.) provided a standard of imperial political geography that Tang emperors often attempted to emulate and surpass. The much smaller area covered by the Nine Provinces was universally agreed upon as the minimum territory required, but elites disagreed over the necessity to control other areas. Tang emperors and founding elites saw themselves as the latter-day inheritors of the Han’s expansionist legacy and self-consciously compared the achievements of the two dynasties, but there were actually two Hanera models of securing borders: one could either emulate the militarily aggressive Wudi or the defensive and conciliatory approach exemplified by Wendi (r. 180–157 B.C.E.), Xuandi (r. 74–49 B.C.E.), and Guangwudi (r. 25–57 C.E.).43 Opting for the first model, Taizong and Gaozong and their supporters justified invasions and annexations to the north by arguing that the targeted lands had formerly been subject to previous Chinese dynasties, conflating dynastic territory with ethnic territory. Pei Ju and Wen Yanbo, formerly Sui ministers who had promoted expansionist policies under the Sui, argued in the early Tang that the Tang had territorial rights over Koguryo because the ethnically Korean state had formerly been under

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the sovereignty of the Zhou and Han dynasties.44 Pei and Wen were undoubtedly supported by significant elements within the Tang military and bureaucracy, in particular those who had earlier participated in the conquest of other parts of the Korean peninsula. Opposing these and later conquests, some Tang elites, mainly Confucian conservatives who wished to restrain imperial power and assert bureaucratic prerogatives, countered that such conquests damaged the livelihood of the common people of the Chinese heartland. The critics consciously echoed Hanera criticisms of Wudi’s expeditions and implicitly asserted that such territories were not lost Chinese lands that demanded recovery but rather alien lands whose conquest only served imperial vanity. During the reign of Empress Wu, Chen Zi’ang opposed an expedition against the Qiang on the grounds that their region of Sichuan had not been a part of the Middle Kingdom in antiquity and that it had only recently been accorded “central prefecture” (zhongzhou) status to justify its conquest.45 The founders of the Second Türk Empire, who consciously sought to create a Türk identity, legitimize their manifest destiny as lords of the Inner Asian steppe, and guard against defections, also wanted to bound their territory strictly and, agreeing with the “China for the Han” position, framed Türk migration into China—which had been partly the cause of the demise of the First Türk Empire in the early Tang—as genocide: “Deceiving with their sweet words and their soft textiles, the Chinese cause distant peoples to draw near. But after approaching and settling, the Chinese hatch their ill intentions there. . . . Having been taken in by their sweet words and soft textiles, many of the Türks died. Türk people, you will die! If you plan to settle to the south in the Choghay Mountains and on the Tögültün Plain, Türk people, you will die!”46 The most extended Tang debate over the disposition of conquered lands occurred in 642 after the conquest of Gaochang (Turfan). As there were ample precedents from the Han dynasty and later periods when Chinese states had annexed the area, Taizong proposed that prefectures and counties be established there, the most significant step in the formal process of absorbing territory into the empire proper. In response, Chu Suiliang memorialized: I have heard that in antiquity when wise monarchs ascended the throne and enlightened kings established their enterprise, they inevitably placed the Han [huaxia] first and the non-Han [yidi] second. They extended to all the transforming power of their virtue, but they did not deal with the remote wilderness. Therefore, when King Xuan of the Zhou dispatched an expedition, it reached the borders and then returned. However, when the First Emperor of Qin went far beyond the frontier barriers, the Middle Kingdom was rent asunder. Your majesty has destroyed Gaochang and extended your authority to the Western

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Regions. Now you wish to take in this leviathan and turn it into prefectures and counties. . . . Hexi [western Gansu] can be compared to our own heart and gall, but Gaochang is like the hands and feet of another person. How can we expend the wealth of China to pursue such a hopeless task?47

The use of bodily metaphors to assess the strategic importance of the Western Regions, and, more broadly, assess political (and ethnic) geography to divide Self from Other, was a frequent trope that would have resonated with Chu’s audience. In the Han, officials argued that capturing the Western Regions from the Xiongnu was like cutting off the nomad confederation’s right arm.48 In an earlier memorial, Chu had similarly anthropomorphized China: “I have heard that the state is like a body: the two capitals are the heart and gall, the four borders are its hands and feet, and the distant regions beyond are outside the body.” He then criticized plans to incorporate both Koguryo and Gaochang.49 Many at court supported Chu, who wished to leave Gaochang “outside the realm of imperial law” (duwai) because of its extreme distance.50 However, the ultimately successful argument for incorporation drew not only on Gaochang’s strategic value but also on claims that the inhabitants of Gaochang had originally been “people of the Central Kingdom” (zhongguoren) who had settled there in the Han, thus making it legitimately a part of the ethnic Han homeland that required direct rule. Indeed, the Gaochang ruling house itself claimed to be from the Hedong region of China (modern Shanxi).51 This, however, did not engender trust on Taizong’s part: letters unearthed in the 1960s reveal that the Tang forcibly resettled portions of Gaochang’s ruling house and other prominent families in the Luoyang region to guarantee the good behavior of Gaochang’s elites.52

Parsing the Frontier: Zones, Layers, and the “Loose Rein” Tang conceptions of ethnic geography were based on the dichotomies of inner/outer and Han/non-Han. Yet, at the frontiers of the empire— where ethnic divisions and cultural, military, political, and economic boundaries converged and overlapped—these simple dichotomies blurred and constantly shifted. Although Tang sources, particularly court-centered texts, often give the impression of a single frontier, knowledgeable officials recognized the existence of multiple political, cultural, and ethnic frontiers. One ninth-century description of the roads between Tang-controlled Sichuan and the independent state of Nanzhao reveals that various “wild” (ye) Man tribesmen under little or no central control lived inside the officially demarcated border to a depth of many miles, while taverns at the border maintained Chinese

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customs and their associated settlements are likely to have had Han inhabitants.53 The reality of a layered frontier was reflected in the notion, dating back to the pre-imperial period, of a frontier in depth with concentric zones defined according to ethnic, political, and military criteria. The most important criteria were the social and ethnic profile of the inhabitants and the degree of political and economic control exercised by the central government. The locus classicus from the Tribute of Yu reads: Up to five hundred li from the capital was the royal domain. In the first hundred li the inhabitants handed over the entire grain plant in taxes. In the second hundred li they gave the ears. In the third hundred li they brought the straw but had to provide other services. In the fourth hundred li they handed over the grain in the husk. In the fifth hundred li they handed over the cleaned grain. The next five hundred li constituted the feudal lords’ domain. The first hundred li was the area allotted to high officials. The second hundred li were occupied by the realms of lower-ranking nobles. The remaining three hundred li were occupied by the feudal lords (major land-holding families who were not directly in the service of the dynasty). The next five hundred li formed the domain of pacification. The first three hundred li were administered by ethical and cultural instruction. The next two hundred li were characterized by heightened martiality. The next five hundred li constituted the domain of restraint. The first three hundred li were occupied by the Yi. The next two hundred li were occupied by criminals undergoing the lesser banishment. The next five hundred li formed the uncultivated domain (huangfu). The first three hundred li were occupied by the Man. The next two hundred li were occupied by criminals undergoing the greater banishment.54

The system described in the Tribute of Yu, referred to in later texts as the “five domains” (wufu), divided space in terms of a geopolitical hierarchy that correlates allegiance to the emperor, imperial cultural influence, ethnic and cultural difference, and social status within the empire.55 It is also noteworthy for possessing an implicit taxonomy of non-Han (the relatively more civilized Yi of eastern China, who were rapidly assimilating and acculturating to Han and Chinese norms in the period of the Tribute’s composition, versus the relatively less civilized Man of southern China). This system and numerous variations appear continuously throughout premodern Sinitic literature. In particular, the phrase huangfu, literally “domain of untilled land” or “domain of wastes,” the outermost of the “five domains” of the Tribute of Yu, reappears in various forms in Tang texts as a designation for non-Han lands, denoting lands unoccupied or as yet untamed by Han farmers and connoting uncivilized and alien realms. Lands to the north of the frontier that were occupied by nomads were referred to as “northern wastes” (beihuang), while southern regions that were technically ruled by the Tang but were still occupied by indigenous tribes were designated as

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“southern wastes” (nanhuang), as were lands in South and Southeast Asia, including some occupied by urbanized and agricultural states.56 Additional mythical geographies describing far-off lands accreted over the centuries and had far more cosmological, religious, and popular resonance than the relatively prosaic “five domains.” Most noteworthy was Mount Kunlun, which traditionally stood at the western edge of the world and held paradisiacal dwellings of deities associated with immortality and the afterlife, including the Queen Mother of the West (Xiwangmu), perceived in the Tang as an indigenously Chinese figure, and the Amitabha Buddha, an Indian import.57 Mount Kunlun figured prominently in Tang literature of the exotic, and the name was applied in the phrase “Kunlun slaves” to dark-skinned slaves from Southeast Asia, the Tang’s most magically potent human imports. The first imperial state, the Qin, under the influence of Legalist political thought that encouraged authoritarian rule and administrative centralization, replaced the indirect rule of the enfeoffment system, as exemplified in the second and third of the five domains, with direct rule. The “commandery-county” (junxian) system, known in the Tang as the “prefecture-county” (zhouxian) system, divided the empire into administrative regions under the emperor’s direct control via centrally appointed officials. These regions were then treated in a uniform manner regardless of local cultural, ethnic, or other differences. The rest of the known world became simply “external lands” (waiguo). The founders of the Western Han attempted to institute a modified enfeoffment system, but within several decades it became more or less defunct and the state reinstituted a commandery-county system that essentially persists to the present.58 Both the Qin and the Han attempted to include all those people that they recognized as culturally Chinese, and thus ethnically Han, into their empires. Inevitably, they also included large numbers of non-Han peoples within the boundaries of the commandery-county system. The hope was that the non-Han would be influenced by regular administrative rule and assimilate to their Han neighbors, an outcome that was fulfilled in many cases. However, the Han dynasty, like many other empires faced with significant external threats, recognized that to stake its security and legitimacy on the protection afforded by a thin edge of commanderies against adjacent politically independent alien populations was an insupportable proposition. Attempts to fix a clear distinction between the commanderies of the Chinese state and lands external to it regularly foundered on the fluidity of the premodern frontier zone. Thus, Chinese imperial states, including the Tang, regularly reverted to a frontier in depth, with various zones reflecting gradations of political, economic, cultural, and ethnic distance from the Chinese metropole.

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The Western Han dynasty established a system of “dependent states” (shuguo) along certain sections of frontier to serve as a buffer between the empire proper and the lands of the barbarian in line with a policy often characterized in the sources as “loose-rein” (jimi).59 The shuguo, primarily located on the northern and western frontiers where military threats were the greatest, were loosely organized autonomous polities of non-Han peoples whose leaders were granted titles, subsidies, and trading rights by the Western Han court in exchange for keeping the peace on the border and, in some cases, providing troops for service in Han campaigns.60 The Western Han was, in many cases, not simply contracting alliances with preexisting polities but, rather, was engaging in a process of “tribalization” whereby diplomatic, military, political, economic, and social pressures exerted on the imperial periphery caused the formation of tribal groups and the emergence of tribal leaders who used Han benefits to legitimize their authority. While Western and Eastern Han geographers described the shuguo as consisting of defined tribes with fixed identities, in fact they were the products of a continuous process of ethnogenesis, tribalization, and fragmentation as various internal and external pressures rose and fell, one of the clearest cases being the ethnogenesis of the Qiang in Sichuan.61 In the Western Han and subsequent dynasties, including the Tang, the process of tribalization from above was usually driven by two often mutually exclusive factors: the discomfort of the ruling sedentary polity with the decentralized political structures typical of nomadic or other noncomplex societies, and the ability of the polity to manipulate political, social, cultural, and economic structures within the target societies. In general, it was only powerful sedentary polities with strong cultural or ethnic ties to the steppe and the related ability to project power onto the steppe—such as the Northern Wei and Tang in China and the Ottomans in Anatolia— who were able to unite these factors and achieve, at certain points (e.g., under Tang Taizong), a high degree of tribalization among steppe and other border peoples. However, certain dominant steppe confederations could also promote tribalization among their subject or bordering peoples, as occurred with the Khitans on the Inner Asian steppe under the combined pressures of the Sui and the first Türk Empire in the sixth century.62 Conversely, ethnogenesis that emerged from within politically potent non-Han groups such as the Second Türk Empire were the result of a usually hostile response to pressures from sedentary rivals, mainly the Tang, paralleling cases of ethnogenesis across the Old World steppesown frontier, such as the Gothic ethnogenesis in response to Rome.63 As described by Edward Luttwak, the Roman Empire initially used client states and the threat of force projection with a relatively small standing army in order to maintain hegemonic control over a wide area

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within and beyond its political borders while guaranteeing the absolute security of only the core region. However, as the empire developed and expanded, it became more important to secure all areas within the empire, leading to elaborate border defenses while still relying on large ad hoc armies to deal with major threats and maintain a limited offensive threat. In a final stage, large military forces were established at the frontier in order to contain major foreign incursions. However, this strategy hollowed out the center and resulted in forces that lacked any flexibility or preemptive capacity and thus only engaged barbarians once they had attacked the frontier.64 Although Luttwak’s model has come under criticism by scholars in recent years and the parallels with China are not exact, the pattern proposed by Luttwak roughly matches the evolution of the Tang’s own frontier defense strategies. The first stage corresponds to roughly 630–710, the second stage 710–756, and the third stage the period after 756. The major difference between the Tang and Luttwak’s model is that, following 756, the major military efforts of the Tang were directed toward resolving internal conflicts. Following the Tang’s consolidation of its rule in China proper and the total defeat of the Eastern Türks in 630, there was a brief period during which Taizong dreamt of expanding the borders of his state indefinitely by establishing “loose-rein prefectures” (jimizhou or jimi fuzhou).65 Although by virtue of being labeled prefectures the jimizhou gave the superficial impression of being part of the regular administration of the empire, most of them were close copies of the Han shuguo: relatively autonomous districts ruled by tribal chieftains with Tangbestowed titles and hereditary offices. Depending on their location and the degree of sedentarization, acculturation, and assimilation of the inhabitants, they came under different degrees of influence and supervision from the central government. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the jimizhou and other administrative zones established in the Tang and other periods of Chinese history for non-Han peoples was that the chief vehicles of direct imperial control—taxation and the associated population registers—were usually not administered by the administrative organs that handled these tasks for the commanderies of China proper.66 Tang jimizhou were established on an ad hoc basis, most often in response to particular migrations or submissions of non-Han peoples. Jimizhou territory was often ill defined and even irrelevant. Although the Tang state attempted to demarcate jimizhou territorially along the commandery-county model, they more naturally tended to organize around peoples rather than places. This distinction was acknowledged by the preeminent Tang geographer of the eighth century: “For the Central Kingdom we take the Tribute of Yu as the beginning, while for the

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outer barbarians [yi] the History of the Han is the source; the former records the increase and decrease in commanderies and counties, while the latter narrates the fall and rise of barbarian [fan] tribes.”67 While the form of jimizhou was nominally based on the Chinese conception, derived from sedentary agricultural norms, of territory as the basis of sovereignty, the substance of jimizhou more reflected Inner Asian notions of sovereignty that stressed control over people. The state’s construction of legal and political distinctions between non-Han and Han was closely tied to geographical and administrative factors external to ethnic identity per se, but it nevertheless informed Tang discourse on ethnic difference. In contrast to imperial subjects in regular counties, jimizhou inhabitants did not pay taxes or perform corvée labor, and they were usually not subject to involuntary military service. Rather, as in the case of people from the Han-era shuguo, they were expected to keep the peace, serve as a buffer against politically independent non-Han peoples, and, in some cases, provide soldiers to the Tang imperial army to serve in their own units on specific campaigns, similar to native auxiliaries in the Roman Army. Most jimizhou flitted in and out of existence, and many were beyond even the limited forms of control just described. Some dissolved in response to changing tribal configurations, while others lost meaning as their populations moved into regular counties or moved outside of the range of empire. The central government on occasion converted jimizhou to regular prefectures or vice versa as warranted by the presence of fixed Han populations, the desires and characteristics of the local populace, and changing perceptions of the boundaries of empire.68 The zone of the jimizhou was constantly in flux, with a bewildering mix of tribes with varying ethnic affiliations. Regions such as the Ordos loop, which contained a large number of shifting jimizhou over the course of the Tang, were precisely those areas that were ecological transitional zones between the Inner Asian pastoral and Chinese agricultural economies, thus encouraging in-migration from both macroregions and facilitating rapid shifts in ethnic and political identity. Ethnic change seemingly could occur in any direction in these areas, often correlating with but not necessarily directly related to political control. The Tang, following Han dynasty precedents, created at the macroscopic level a tripartite division of space into the commanderies, the buffer zone of the jimizhou, and the external regions (waiguo). While both Han and non-Han inhabited the first two regions, the role of ethnic difference and thus the salience of ethnicity in the two were quite different. From the perspective of Tang elites and geographies, China proper (the ancient Nine Provinces) was a zone where ethnic and cultural change inexorably moved toward metropolitan norms, although

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there could be temporary reversals due to exceptional political and military disasters, such as the non-Han conquests and migrations in North China of the fourth and fifth centuries. Tang observers at the local level were also to some extent able to look beyond the tripartite division and see an organic order by conceiving of the jimizhou and adjacent border prefectures as part of a single frontier region in depth, with numerous layers reflecting degrees of political and military control, varying social and economic organization, and ethnic affiliation. Certain works that incorporate this perspective contain the Tang’s most sophisticated taxonomies of ethnic difference, integrating idealized schema with direct observation of local customs and social and political organization.69 Service on the frontier, which was extremely common among Tang officials up through the late eighth century, strongly influenced elite perceptions of ethnic boundaries and change within the frontier regions and the empire as a whole. It gave them an appreciation for the great variation in ethnic identity, acculturation, and assimilation. However, the lack of cultural knowledge and linguistic skills among the majority of Tang officials and the ingrained imperial policy of divide and conquer that induced local officials to seek out and, in many cases, create tribes to manipulate may have contributed to the perception of greater ethnic diversity than actually existed. This was most evident in the southwest, where each particular valley or mountain range seems to have been identified with its own distinctive tribe.70 In the last century of the Tang, frontier experience became increasingly restricted to military officers or civilian officials who did not go on to obtain high positions at court. Metropolitan elites became increasingly insensitive to variations in geography and ethnicity, contributing to a hardening of views regarding ethnic difference that reached a culmination in the Northern Song.

Legally Bounding the Ethnic Other: Migration, Settlement, and “Citizenship” The most important frontier policy concerns for the Tang state, besides security and trade, were the control of population movement within and across the border zones and the disposal of incoming migrants through settlement, deportation, or other measures.71 The dynasty confronted a wide variety of cases: ethnic Han who had voluntarily or involuntarily moved outside Chinese territory and wished to return; captives from both sides of the border who had been resettled in their captors’ homelands, and, in some cases, later repatriated; slaves from all points of the globe imported into the Tang; professionals (merchants, clerics, students, diplomats, and translators) who specialized in or benefited from border crossings and desired to move freely and settle wherever they

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wished; and, most problematic for the state from the viewpoint of security, organized communities of non-Han who offered their political submission to the Tang. This last type of group demanded either recognition as subordinate but autonomous entities in their current territories or, more threatening to the boundedness of the Chinese state, sought to migrate into Tang territory and even become incorporated into the regular Tang civil structure. In all these cases, the Tang’s efforts to maintain its own security and cohesiveness led it to define ethnic boundaries to aid in the disposition of peoples. Movement of individuals, Han and non-Han, within the empire was highly regulated and restricted by statutes that appear to have been regularly enforced at the local level. Slaves and individuals occupying a range of semiservile statuses were subjected to the greatest degree of control. The state registered both urban and rural populations at the ward and village levels, respectively, for the sake of security and also as the basis for extracting resources through taxes, corvée labor, and military service. Population and tax registers recorded the names, ages, and gender of all the members of a household and contain detailed information about landholding. Ethnic identity and ancestry do not appear because the registers, whose function was primarily economic, existed only for regular commanderies where registered non-Han commoners were not perceived to pose an existential threat to the Tang state. Indeed, the chief distinction recorded in registers was whether or not one’s household was a fully registered household (bianhu). Bianhu adult males had rights to land distributed by the government and obligations to pay tax and/or provide corvée labor and/or military service. Proportionately smaller obligations, duties, and rights applied to the elderly, children, and women. Non-bianhu households might be attached in a servile position to a household or another type of officially recognized economic institution (temples, shops, and so on). In some cases, residents of regular administrative units could be exempted from tax and corvée obligations, including recent immigrants (who might be non-Han). In the case of jimizhou dwellers (virtually all non-Han), although limited census taking was performed and some population figures are available in the surviving sources, they were not considered bianhu because their population registers were not transmitted to the Ministry of Revenue.72 Consequently, they did not have the same obligations as those imposed on Tang commoners. Indeed, exemption from these obligations was frequently a political necessity in arranging for the submission of non-Han tribal groups. While the distinction between registered and unregistered people was based not on ethnic differences per se but rather on administrative considerations, stereotypes of non-Han unruliness and low pro-

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ductivity must have contributed to the decision not to tax or impose corvée in jimizhou. The Tang state closely regulated the freedom of movement of both free and servile persons. City ward and village gates were locked between dusk and dawn.73 Persons on long-distance journeys were obliged to carry travel documents that were constantly checked at strategic passes, gates, and places of lodging.74 These restrictions multiplied in frontier regions where the state hoped to restrict in particular the volume of spies and contraband trade in items of strategic value to hostile tribes, such as weapons and agricultural implements.75 Although this system frequently broke down, especially when warfare or famine led to mass migrations, the state clearly perceived that its interests were best maintained through keeping its subject population, particularly the non-Han element, relatively stable and fixed. The most common term used to denote the settling of migrants and often applied to newly submitted nonHan, anzhi, literally “to pacify and place,” explicitly evoked stability and serenity.76 Although the emphasis on restricting movement likely promoted the persistence of ethnic divisions, particularly in areas under relatively strong government control, ethnic intermingling persisted, even among fairly immobile populations. Given the important security role of the frontier and the potential for instability, state-mandated legal distinctions between Han and non-Han were the most significant and elaborate when it came to migration and resettlement, most of which occurred across or close to frontiers. Regulations on the taxation and registration of immigrants recently submitted to Tang political suzerainty and settled on Tang lands routinely established a separate category for non-Han. The legal texts, while using a range of terms to designate non-Han, often refer to the non-Han as huawai, “outside transformation,” that is, beyond the reach of the civilizing influence of the emperor and the Chinese political and cultural order (as defined by Confucian elites) for which he stood.77 The statutes always contrasted huawai who were migrating into the empire with returning Han—designated as “fallen under the barbarians” (mofan) or variants78—and clearly distinguished the two categories in terms of their privileges and obligations vis-à-vis the state. Tang legal discourse thus largely constructed non-Han ethnicity in terms of savagery and distance, highlighting the geographic and cultural dichotomies between inner and outer. On paper, the state gave newly submitted non-Han immigrants significantly better terms than their Han counterparts for submission and resettlement. Han who “returned after having fallen under the barbarians” were given up to five years of tax remittance, depending on how long they had been under non-Han control, while non-Han migrants were

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automatically given ten years’ remittance.79 This difference, which held for most of the Tang, suggests that non-Han were viewed as in greater need of imperial suasion to guarantee good behavior and transform them into true subjects of the empire. The one exception occurred during the early Tang, when both Han and non-Han were granted ten years’ exemption, no doubt reflecting the young state’s need to build up its population registers in China proper and stabilize its frontier.80 Local officials were also commanded to give both Han and non-Han immigrants food and clothing. The officials were expected to reestablish the returned Han as bianhu either in their original places of registration or, if none existed, in areas where they had kin. Non-Han, however, were ideally to be settled and registered in lightly populated districts.81 The scaled tax exemptions for Han immigrants indicates that the Tang state viewed the remissions as incentives for submission, with returnees needing greater incentives the longer they had been under nonHan influence and had presumably undergone acculturation and assimilation to non-Chinese and non-Han norms. Equally, the sliding scale likely reflected a perception that the more influenced by non-Han society a group was, the longer it required to become economically productive and politically pliable, capable of and willing to shoulder stateimposed burdens. Indeed, the full ten-year remittance was, in practice, applied mainly to Inner Asian nomadic pastoralists, while non-Han peoples in the south and southwest who practiced forms of agriculture similar to their Han neighbors, and whose submission usually did not entail economically and socially disruptive migrations, were commonly only granted three-year exemptions.82 Therefore, the Tang did not grant tax remissions based on ethnic differences per se but adjusted them pragmatically, according to economic and security considerations. No doubt variations also reflected Tang leverage: the fact that nomads could and often did simply move out of the Tang orbit when it pleased them was a powerful disincentive for the state to levy taxes. The legislated practice of settling non-Han subject peoples in lightly populated regions, often in newly created jimizhou or in border prefectures near their previous residences, similarly was pragmatically directed to enhance frontier security. The state preferred to avoid placing newly submitted non-Han in close contact with the Han, as such contact was believed to cause conflict and instability through provocations on both sides. Furthermore, the policy filled the frontier zone with subject peoples, providing a sturdier buffer against hostile forces. Assimilating non-Han into the Han people and Chinese culture was clearly not a primary goal of these regulations, and from the eighth century on fears of “barbarization” of Han populations likely further diminished incentives intentionally to intermingle Han and

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non-Han, at least on the frontier. Conversely, by encouraging Han returnees to settle in their former domiciles or, at least, to register with relatives, the state sought to reintegrate them into Han society as quickly as possible. Although ad hoc attempts were made to settle nonHan in predominantly Han areas, Tang law clearly distinguished between Han and non-Han in their capacity to assimilate to mainstream ethnically Han and culturally Chinese society, reinforcing the tendency that pervades Tang ethnic discourse to establish boundary mechanisms between Han and non-Han.

Non-Han Legal Status in the Empire Once the non-Han individual or community had settled inside the Tang Empire, the transition from “outer barbarian” to full-fledged member of the empire could be extremely problematic, even if the non-Han was registered and subject to the same economic controls as the ordinary Tang subject. Considerations of genealogy, culture, physical appearance, and political affiliation all could come into play to define a non-Han as an outsider, regardless of economic or social status. According to one legal code, the descendants of non-Han who had submitted to the Tang state could become “naturalized” from the state’s perspective: “All offspring of [non-Han] who have submitted are identical to commoners [baixing] and are not considered barbarian [fan] households.”83 Although the code uses baixing—literally “hundred surnames,” most familiar in the colloquial term “old hundred surnames” (laobaixing), meaning the common people—as a category for taxation, the term also had much broader implications in the Tang of membership in a politically and culturally Chinese state. Indeed, baixing status was the closest equivalent in the Tang to the Western concept of citizenship. Dou Jiande, a prominent general during the Sui-Tang interregnum, described his background as follows: “I have been a baixing of the Sui for several decades, and the Sui rulers have been my lords for two generations.”84 This remark contrasts Dou’s impersonal relationship with the Sui state as a baixing to his feudal personal relationship with the Sui emperors. However, premodern China, unlike the Roman Empire, lacked a concept of citizenship that unambiguously attached the individual to a political unit and defined certain rights attendant upon that status. Moreover, Chinese polities almost never adopted the same relatively laissez-faire attitude toward cultural difference that the Roman state had toward its own citizens, viewing culture and other markers as key indicators of the divide between Self and Other.85 The status of baixing, at least as far as tax and corvée were concerned, may have been applied to submitted non-Han following their ten-year

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remittance period, as this stipulation appears in a Japanese law code based on the Tang law code.86 While an equivalent passage does not exist in any surviving Tang regulation, the notion that baixing status could be acquired over time by ethnically non-Han households was implicit in the spirit of Tang law and seems to have been borne out in practice on the local level. For example, a document from Turfan defines a member of the non-Han Chumi tribe as a baixing.87 State intervention in local affairs was, in the Tang as in most premodern states, most comprehensive in resource extraction. Thus, if the state could safely levy full tax and corvée from non-Han peoples, then those non-Han were legally considered baixing and subject to the appropriate regulations. If, however, the state did not feel confident in placing a full burden on non-Han peoples due to economic or political factors, then its officials showed flexibility on the grounds that non-Han were different from regular baixing and required special treatment, in part but not entirely because of qualities linked to ethnicity. The Tang and its predecessors had traditionally remitted or reduced tax burdens on their Han subjects in particular contexts, including pragmatic concerns over popular unrest and ideological displays of suasion and beneficence central to Confucian kingship. Concretely, measures ranged from tax relief following natural and man-made calamities to subsidies to encourage agricultural production in previously untilled areas. These same impulses applied to the special treatment given to non-Han, but circumstances that were deemed exceptional for Han—disordered social structure and reduced productivity after disasters, limited production in marginal or recently opened agricultural lands—were viewed by the authorities as the norm for non-Han peoples. Tax obligations in some instances could be different for Han and nonHan peoples living in the same administrative region, even a regular prefecture, with no apparent suggestion that non-Han status lapsed after the passage of time or generations. For example, tax burdens for autochthonous southern non-Han peoples in far southern prefectures (presumably where non-Han were particularly numerous and influential) were half those of the rest of the populace.88 As in the case of recent migrants, these reduced tax rates were based on assumptions that nonHan were not as economically productive as Han and were more resistant to paying taxes: “In places in frontier or remote prefectures where there are various barbarians [yilao], their tax and corvée burdens should be calculated according to the circumstances and do not need to be the same as those of the Han [huaxia].”89 This suggests the degree to which ethnic differences and related legal distinctions were established, particularly by frontier officials, along a continuum rather than divided according to the simple dichotomies framed by Confucian theoreticians at

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court. Although the state might assert simplistic definitions of ethnicity in court debates over cultural and strategic policy when the dynasty’s legitimacy and image were at stake, pragmatic concerns and subtle gradations of ethnic difference often won out when it came to local stability and taxes. Tang taxation scales distinguished between different non-Han ethnic groups according to their distinctive socioeconomic profiles and not cultural or ethnic divisions per se, further evidence that Tang economic policies toward non-Han subjects were guided by pragmatic concerns and an appreciation for ethnic differences that transcended the simplistic Han/non-Han dichotomy. For example, whereas both Turkic nomads and Iranian merchant households were similarly divided into grades based on how much property they owned, the former were taxed in sheep and exempted if they served in the Tang military for more than thirty days a year, while the latter were taxed in cash.90 The state also made similar distinctions and accommodations for ethnic Han in cases where local customs and socioeconomic conditions, but not ethnicity per se, deviated significantly from the norm. However, the imperial center assumed that deviations from the norms were most likely to occur in border or peripheral regions, areas of greatest non-Han concentration and ethnic and cultural diversity: Emperor Xianzong ordered in 820 that tax collection be adjusted according to the type and amount of materials produced in different regions of the country, with border areas the most affected.91 Besides legally distinguishing between some types of non-Han through variable tax and corvée obligations, the state also divided nonHan who dwelt in the Tang Empire between subjects—referred to as chen, “subjects,” or baixing—and temporary or permanent resident foreigners. Official sources commonly refer to the latter as waiguoren, “people from external lands” (and the modern Chinese word for “foreigner”). The distinction between the two groups was quite clear in some cases, such as the waiguoren status of non-Han merchants from West, South, and Southeast Asia on the southern and southeastern China coast. The merchants stayed in Tang ports like Guangzhou for relatively short periods or were part-time residents based on trading cycles. They had a very different relationship with the Tang state and society compared to non-Han who had settled on a permanent basis in Tang territories, regardless of their political or economic position. In many of the latter cases, such as the Sogdian communities spread through North China, what might have once been considered collections of waiguoren had, by the Tang (after several centuries of existence), evolved into complex communities with many professions—including farmers and laborers—represented and containing peoples of disparate ethnic origins,

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who were now regularly lumped by the state and outsiders under the dominant (usually the oldest) ethnic group.92 In many instances, only crises or other specific contexts reified the distinction between non-Han subjects of the Tang and resident foreigners and embodied it with social and political significance. When during periods of social and political turmoil aliens were perceived to threaten the integrity of the state, resident foreigners, such as visiting monks like the Japanese Ennin, but not non-Han subjects of the empire, were subject to “release and return” (fanghuan or fanggui) by the state, that is, sent back to their ostensible countries of origin. The Tang central government applied this measure most extensively during the Huichang suppression of Buddhism, motivated in part by Wuzong’s xenophobia, inflamed by Daoist jingoists. The authorities also applied fanghuan in a more routine fashion under less acute, though often politically charged, circumstances. The Tang government routinely subjected foreign envoys and rulers to fanghuan after they had spent a set amount of time at the capital. This was partly pragmatic, as the free room and board provided by the state to officially accredited missions and the opportunities for trade, study, and pilgrimage afforded by a stay in Chang’an regularly led foreign dignitaries and their retinues—often consisting mainly of merchants—to overstay their welcome, attested to by frequent edicts mandating en masse returns. The state also periodically “released and returned” nonHan tribal chieftains hailing from the jimizhou and beyond, sometimes after they had served for periods at court or in the Tang military. The court hoped that these foreign elites, having acculturated to Tang cultural and political norms, would serve as loyal imperial vassals or allies in their home regions. This strategy was pursued aggressively with the royalty of polities in strategic areas such as the Korean peninsula and along the various trade routes into Central and Western Asia.93 Despite the rules and the state’s intentions, however, numerous foreigners were able to carve out exceptions and change their status, often becoming officials permanently attached to the Tang bureaucracy. The pattern of fanghuan suggests that Tang elites and the state assessed their ability to transform non-Han to be limited as long as non-Han retained their organic connections to their homelands and did not sever them through conscious acts of renunciation, as performed by non-Han peoples migrating into the empire who accepted “subject” status. In addition to envoys, who were unambiguously resident foreigners, there were many other categories of non-Han whose residency status was more ambiguously defined but who were regularly subject to fanghuan and thus implicitly were waiguoren. Foreign Buddhist monks—who often stayed in China’s vibrant monastic communities indefinitely—were not

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only subject to mass expulsion during state-mandated suppressions but could also be expelled for committing crimes or otherwise behaving in ways that invalidated their clerical status, a punishment different from that applied to Han or resident non-Han monks in the same situation. The Tang court also on occasion mandated the fanghuan of human tribute and slaves of foreign origin who had been purchased illegally.94 While most illegal non-Han slaves discovered by the authorities were probably confiscated by the state (and then redistributed to favorites) or used as a pretext to fine the owners, the well-publicized fanghuan of slaves—often to Korea—were calculated displays of imperial virtue (similar to imperial amnesties at the establishment of a new reign period) or diplomatic sops. Non-Han who had initially come to China as students or diplomatic hostages but had stayed for lengthy periods lasting up to decades were also routinely expelled during periods of crisis in the capital. However, waiguoren in all the categories above, if they could avoid deportation, could potentially stay in China permanently, and their descendants could, in theory, be fully integrated into Tang society or, at least, lose their foreigner status. It seems likely that many could become ordinary commoners (baixing) by actively submitting and becoming a registered household (bianhu), but we lack enough specific cases to judge in what circumstances this was possible. In most cases, waiguoren were not registered for tax and corvée purposes like the mass of Tang Han and non-Han subjects, although they were subject to taxation and other forms of regulation. For example, foreign merchants shared the same rights of inheritance as their Chinese counterparts and faced the same potential pitfalls: if a merchant died in China, his property could be confiscated by the state if it remained unclaimed after three months,95 encouraging the formation of close ties within foreign merchant communities and likely resulting in the establishment of geographically extensive networks based on both real and fictive kinship ties. In absolute numbers, most of those non-Han who submitted and were subsequently registered did so en masse, with their entire community or tribe following the lead of their chief. The received wisdom among Tang elites was that the basic non-Han unit of affiliation above the family—especially for non-Han who did not follow Han socioeconomic models, such as the nomadic pastoralist Türks or the sedentary but “primitive” agriculturalist Lao, who did not practice settled agriculture along Chinese lines—was the buluo, most often translated as “tribe,” or the smaller clan (zu, shizu), and not the Chinese-style lineage group identified both by clan name and ancestral place. As nonHan groups were usually not associated with specific ancestral places (other than a vague homeland) in Tang discourse, especially imperial

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discourse, this reinforced the perception that tribal peoples could be alienated from their homelands through migration and submission. This perception significantly diminished the likelihood that tribal peoples could be categorized as resident aliens—who were most often from, by Chinese standards, relatively “civilized” polities—and thus subject to fanghuan. Although tribal non-Han could be moved around from place to place to meet the economic and political needs of the empire, as indeed ethnic Han often were, they were only forcibly moved out of the Tang Empire in exceptional circumstances, such as following a rebellion or in the face of external military pressure like that placed by the Second Türk Empire on Empress Wu.96 Normally, their presence not only often served immediate security and economic ends but also legitimized the Tang emperor as a virtuous ruler able to attract the submission of “all under Heaven.”

Slavery and Ethnic Difference The Tang state regularly distinguished between the free (liang) population and the servile (jian) population in a range of economic, political, social, and cultural contexts.97 While Tang laws did not specifically link unfree status and ethnic identity and there was no dearth of Han slaves, the large, and probably disproportionate, numbers of non-Han slaves in China contributed to Tang elite discourse and even popular opinion closely associating slavery with cultural and ethnic barbarism and a complex relationship between slavery and ethnic difference. The non-Han peoples from Northeast Asia, in particular those from the Korean peninsula and the “two barbarian peoples” from China’s northeast border region, the Tatabï (Ch. Xi)98 and the Khitan, were closely associated with the use of slavery in jokes, insults, and epithets.99 Not surprisingly, they made up a significant percentage of the slaves in Tang China. Indeed, the northeastern border region had a long history of external domination from either China or Mongolia going back to the Qin dynasty, and groups such as the Khitan were perceived by Tang officials and Türks alike as naturally occupying a servile position.100 The slaves from the northeast seem to have been preferred as personal servants to imperial elites throughout the empire and were thus more visible and had greater symbolic value than Turkic or Thai slaves, who would have tended to remain on the frontier performing menial tasks on estates or serving in the army. Low levels of social organization, a frontier situation conducive to raiding, and a high rate of population growth were probably the main factors that caused the northeast to become a prime source of slaves. Certain northeast groups, such as the Malgal (Ch. Mohe) and the Khitan, who were tall and had reddish-

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blond hair, were distinctive looking and probably possessed a certain cachet for their masters.101 The Romans, another relatively short and dark people, shared the Han attraction for large red- and blond-haired slaves as personal retainers and were similarly both repulsed and impressed by the large physique and reddish hair of the Germans, whom they regularly enslaved and employed as soldiers, most prominently in the imperial Praetorian Guard. The Lao, South China non-Han, were also frequently enslaved by the Tang. Unlike the case with slaves of northern origin, Tang elites discursively constructed slavery as a central institution of Lao and other southern aboriginal societies. While they recognized that external pressures from the Tang state and frontier society was a root cause of the enslavement of the Lao, ethnic Han frontier officials still perceived the Lao practice of selling their children and relatives as having cultural roots that transcended any political, economic, or social factors and thus identified these peoples as “slave” peoples.102 Ethnic stereotypes—often reflecting skills associated with particular non-Han groups—generally determined the value of non-Han slaves and how they were used. One of the most common tropes, that of the Inner Asian non-Han skilled at animal husbandry, reflected and drove the presence of non-Han herders and grooms. A Tang hymn recited by the bridegroom at his wedding ceremony includes the following requirements for the ideal household: “Han slaves to administer the granary and treasury and Hu slaves to supervise the cattle and sheep.”103 Han slave owners naturally had a sophisticated appreciation for different ethnic groups’ skill sets and thus, as with frontier officials, they established more sophisticated ethnic taxonomies than typically depicted by literati and court-centered discourse as reflected in the hymn. Koguryo, in Han eyes a sedentary and relatively civilized land judged by its political system (modeled in large part on China’s) and level of urbanization, produced slaves that could be given the same tasks as Han slaves. In one instance, a Koguryan female slave was in charge of a household’s treasury. However, in a likely warning against granting a non-Han slave so much power (and also against interactions between slaves and free persons of the same ethnicity), the source relates how the slave murdered her master and then hid with the assistance of a Koguryan, who had become a naturalized Tang subject. Both were ultimately captured and executed.104 The association of slavery with non-Han ethnicity resulted in large part from state action. Many non-Han slaves in Tang China were prisoners of war or civilian captives taken by the imperial army and either retained as state or court slaves—female relatives of leading rebels, Han and non-Han, were frequently made to serve as maids at court— or distributed as rewards to officers and officials.105 Under the brutal

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conditions of frontier warfare, Tang soldiers often killed non-Han male prisoners and presented the captured women and livestock to the court, sometimes distributing a share of the booty to non-Han tribal allies.106 Tang armies were also heavily involved in the slave trade, motivated both by the necessity for labor and for profit. Such practices were on occasion condemned by the central government and restricted by local civilian officials, but these regulatory efforts were rare, and local efforts to ban army purchases of slaves required central government approval.107 Slaves were frequently an item of tribute from foreign lands and certain areas within the empire, particularly the south and southwest. Local Tang officials habitually presented as tribute the autochthonous people of Daozhou (in present-day Hunan), not explicitly identified as nonHan but noted for their short stature and undoubtedly considered somewhat less than human and therefore ethnically Other. A Han official appointed to head Daozhou finally prohibited the practice in an act of Confucian noblesse oblige, earning a fawning response from his grateful charges according to a Bo Juyi poem.108 Likely following Inner Asian and Near Eastern precedents, Tang emperors and generals used bodyguards of foreign origin who were either slaves or in a semiservile position. Early Tang emperors also had a significant number of companions and court officials of non-Han ethnicity or ancestry with whom they had a close bond that went beyond formal bureaucratic relations. The personalized yet subservient relationship these bodyguards and companions established with the emperor had long cultural roots in Inner Asia and the Near East and contributed to the emperor’s legitimacy in the eyes of his non-Han subjects from these areas. Indeed, prior to his rebellion, An Lushan replicated the former type of practice in his own camp by establishing a crack unit made up of captured Khitan and Tatabï troops whom he adopted as his sons; many members of his retinue were non-Han slaves.109 The closest example at the Tang court to this kind of behavior was the household staff cum nascent elite guard formed by Li Chengqian, Taizong’s son and heir apparent prior to his downfall. Known for adopting many Inner Asian cultural practices, Li Chengqian’s guard did not follow Chinese models of palace administration but rather Inner Asian traditions of an elite guard corps or comitatus bound by ties of vassalage to the ruler, which became highly elaborated in the imperial guard of the thirteenth-century Mongol qaghans. Such traditions were widespread among non-Han in the Tang Empire, particularly the Tang Army’s non-Han soldiers and generals, who often referred to themselves as the emperor’s slaves and conceived of their relationship to the state as a personal one with the emperor and royal fam-

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ily.110 For Inner Asian nomads during the Tang, the use of the term slave to describe the position of otherwise free individuals relative to their ruler was, however, quite circumscribed. It was used mainly in selfreference and was restricted to rather formal situations. Most famously, in 646 a delegation from the Tiele, a Turkic steppe confederation, requested that the Tang emperor Taizong take the title of “Heavenly Qaghan” (tian kehan) on behalf of “us slaves,” and they promised that their sons and grandsons would henceforth be the emperor’s slaves.111 Although this custom of gaining status by asserting a master-slave relationship with a powerful ruler was common throughout Inner Asia and the Near East, it was quite foreign to the Han elites, who viewed themselves as loyal subjects (chen) of the emperor but never as his slaves, even figuratively. They would have seen taking the role of his slaves as unacceptably diminishing their status and associating themselves with the dregs of society. Although there is little in the Tang sources regarding Han elite attitudes toward the Inner Asian equation of subject with slave and ruler with master, their reaction was probably similar to the disgust felt by the Greeks and the Romans toward similar behaviors displayed by their main rivals, the Persians of the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sassanian empires. The hostile feelings of the Greeks and Romans toward acts such as the proskynesis, the kissing of the feet or garment hem of the ruler, were partially rooted in Western notions of liberty and republicanism and antipathy to monarchical despotism, but they also derived from a general cultural aversion to self-denigration and a belief that shared moral values transcended imperial institutions. This latter set of attitudes was certainly shared by the elites of China brought up in the Confucian tradition, which fostered an ideal of a respectful relationship between rulers and officials. While the Tang state, via tribute and warfare, enslaved some non-Han peoples, it also directly or through the initiative of local officials restricted the slave trade and prohibited the enslavement of other nonHan peoples, particularly Koreans and autochthonous inhabitants of southern China and Southeast Asia.112 It did so in some instances to enforce the principle that free people could be enslaved only by the state. The state also reserved for itself the right to free slaves. One statute even promised freedom for all non-Han (huawai) slaves who submitted to the Tang, even if their non-Han masters had previously submitted.113 Thus, just as the Tang state used its powers of enslavement to reinforce its political primacy, it used its powers of manumission and prohibition of certain forms of slavery to make the same point. The Tang state and its elites, who perceived their own practices of slavery to be regulated in accord with ethical and moral norms, also asserted

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the legitimacy of Tang rule by invoking Confucian principles to condemn the wide use of slaves by non-Han peoples native to southern China, such as the Lao. As the southerners allegedly indiscriminately enslaved people regardless of their social standing and propinquity, thereby proving their cultural inferiority by violating the Confucian values of filiality and respect for social authority, the Tang saw itself as justified in imposing its political rule and Chinese cultural and social norms.114 Economics and realpolitik also figured in some actions against slavery. The Tang court may have restricted the use of Korean slaves—even issuing a blanket prohibition on the purchase of Sillan slaves in the ninth century—in order to cement relations with Silla, its chief ally on the peninsula, as well as to constrain the economic activities of pirates and smugglers.115 Prohibitions of enslavement of native non-Han peoples in southern China, which were both centrally mandated and locally initiated, may have reduced ethnic tensions—the slave trade was a byproduct and a driver of intertribal warfare and informal frontier raids conducted by Han settlers and local military units—and the likelihood of rebellions. The bans likely also increased the number of registered households and thus the pool of taxpayers, soldiers, and corvée laborers. Edicts forbidding the use in the northern and western frontier regions of slaves from hostile non-Han groups—one edict ordered all Tibetan and Uighur slaves in border prefectures to China’s deep south—seem to have been motivated by narrower security concerns over hostile infiltrators.116 In sum, although Tang laws strictly prohibited the enslavement of free nonhostile non-Han persons, they were enforced only partially, and more often for pragmatic reasons than for reasons of principle. The ease with which the state participated in the enslavement of non-Han peoples ultimately reinforced distinctions between Han and non-Han by demonstrating that the free status of non-Han was more conditional than the free status of Han.

State-Sanctioned Non-Han Communities The Tang state facilitated the persistence of ethnic boundaries by actively establishing or passively permitting self-governing and often ethnically homogenous non-Han communities, the most common type being the jimizhou. Many jimizhou had supervising Han officials, but local control normally devolved to non-Han leaders—holding both honorific titles and substantive offices from the Tang court—who, at least initially, maintained traditional tribal organizations. A significant number of non-Han units in the Tang armies, many of which were recruited from the jimizhou, similarly retained their tribal

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leadership and organization.117 This in part reflected the circumstances of their recruitment: non-Han soldiers frequently served as auxiliaries under the direct command of their traditional tribal chiefs and were not subject to fixed terms of service or forced integration into regular army units.118 Han and non-Han units, whether under the command of Han or non-Han generals appear to have largely functioned effectively together, although there were periodic incidents when one group would feel discriminated against, in at least one case (in an eighth-century rebellious army) leading to Han soldiers killing their non-Han commander.119 The state and Han elites had an extremely high opinion of the fighting qualities of non-Han soldiers because of their distance from Chinese society, particularly urban society, which was perceived as unmartial and decadent, echoing comparisons between Romans and Germans made in the first century c.e. by Tacitus in Germania and between Abbasids and Turks by medieval Islamic historians (who also valorized the Turks for being orthodox Sunnis).120 This perception doubtless played an important role in the state’s preservation of non-Han jimizhou enclaves as reservoirs of high-quality troops. Ethnically homogenous relatively fixed non-Han communities, common in North China during the Northern Dynasties due to frequent inmigrations of non-Han, appear in the Tang in diminished numbers and more specialized forms. Monoethnic non-Han religious communities, such as Korean monasteries on the east coast of China observed by Ennin in the ninth century,121 and civilian settlements, such as Sogdian villages in the Dunhuang region and Ordos loop,122 were scattered throughout China and condoned by the state. The government also gave official recognition to certain self-governing non-Han communities, mainly those consisting of trading peoples, such as Persians and Arabs, embedded in large cities. These latter communities, known as “barbarian districts” (fanfang), had leaders who combined religious, administrative, and economic functions and were, at least in some cases, selected by popular acclamation according to their native traditions. The Tang court even granted these communities limited judicial autonomy by establishing that if all the parties to a legal case were members of a single non-Han ethnic group, then the case could be tried according to the customs of that group, although Tang courts likely handed down the actual sentences.123 These communities often functioned as nodes of trade diasporas, defined by Philip Curtin as embedded ethnically foreign communities that depended on foreign networks and privileged access to or even monopolies in imported trade goods.124 During the Tang, the most prominent diasporas were those of the Koreans, who controlled a large share of the trade between China and Northeast Asia, and the Sogdians, who played

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a similar role with trade to Central and West Asia.125 Both communities guarded their privileged position jealously and, though often operating in a low-key fashion, could come to the attention of the authorities when they aggressively sought to defend their positions, thus revealing fault lines between various non-Han ethnic communities. In the mid-eighth century, a Koguryan monk named Ruhai falsely accused (in a Japanese monk’s account) a group of Chinese and Japanese monks preparing to go from China to Japan of collaborating with pirates. Ruhai’s alleged lies were exposed, and the local authorities defrocked and beat him as punishment and then forced him to return to Korea.126 Ruhai’s actions seem to have been a direct response to accusations from the Chinese and Japanese monks that Ruhai and others who opposed their mission were not sufficiently learned. However, the root cause of the dispute was likely the Koguryans’ desire to protect their role as middlemen for Sino-Japanese economic and religious relations. Despite the Japanese monk Ennin’s largely positive account a century later of the role of Koreans in China—their network of monasteries and lay communities supported Ennin in his travels throughout China—the Ruhai incident lays bare the tensions between Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans over the Koreans’ dominance of the East China Sea shipping routes. The largest and economically most prominent Tang fanfang were in the port cities of Guangzhou and Yangzhou (near the mouth of the Yangtze) with their fairly cohesive communities of foreign traders. As in most premodern trade entrepôts, local trading diaspora leaders, that is, the fanfang leaders, were in charge of registering ships, regulated commerce, and served as official middlemen between the foreign merchants and the state.127 However, in the political capitals of Chang’an, and Luoyang there were no distinguishable fanfang recognized by the government due to the large size, geographic spread, and heterogeneity of the non-Han population in the capital cities and throughout northern China. Nevertheless, there were numerous non-Han organizations in the capitals that were associated with particular ethnic groups and had some state imprimatur—most notably temples, churches, and other religious institutions that required official recognition and sponsorship to ensure their survival—around which local non-Han of similar ethnic and geographic backgrounds coalesced. For example, the majority of Sogdians in Chang’an were clustered around the two major markets, particularly the western market where much of the trade with Central Asia was concentrated and where many of them undoubtedly worked. Not coincidentally, four of the five Zoroastrian temples and five of the six temples of Central Asian origin in the city were also located in those areas.128 Luoyang also had a fairly significant population of Sogdians and other Central Asians, as well as a sizable population of Koreans.129 Fan-

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fang overall became clearly defined and regularized in the Song when resident foreigners in China became much more concentrated in particular areas.130 The prominence of state-centered mapping of ethnic and geographic space and of state-sanctioned ethnic boundary mechanisms in the political, economic, military, and legal realms shows both the influence and the limitations of ethnic discourse produced by Han literati elites in terms of Tang imperial governance of non-Han peoples. On the one hand, the discursive construction of non-Han martiality, savagery, loyalty, and cultural distance played a significant role in how the state constructed political, economic, and legal distinctions to deal with non-Han populations and individuals who were perceived as a potential challenge to the status quo. Historical and mythical metageographical constructions of ethnicized space played a significant role in how imperial elites defined China and not-China and, consequently, in state debates and decisions on imperial strategy and the incorporation or exclusion of territories and peoples in the empire. Classical constructions of the transformative influence of Chinese kingship influenced the management as well as the definition of frontier zones. Yet, when it came to state administration, particularly at the local level, informed officials and elites and even the court itself demonstrated a sophisticated appreciation of real ethnic taxonomies and variation and, while continuing discursively to construct ethnic boundaries, pragmatically dealt with non-Han groups with a holistic appreciation for particular geographic, cultural, demographic, and political contexts.

State Ideologies of Separation and Assimilation One of the central questions running through state-centered discourse on ethnic boundaries throughout the Tang dynasty, particularly in the largely expansionist first half of the dynasty, was the degree of ethnic inclusiveness appropriate for the empire. A strong tension between an inclusive vision of a truly cosmopolitan empire and an exclusivist assessment stressing the need for a high degree of internal ethnic unity to preserve the integrity of a Han-centered realm pervades scholarly writings and court documents. In the Sinitic sources, these themes surfaced most frequently in periodic debates on the disposition of specific non-Han groups that had submitted to Tang rule. They also figure in occasional theoretical discussions on the integration of the generic ethnic other in mainstream Tang cultural and social life. Contemporaneous Inner Asian sources—primarily the eighth-century funerary inscriptions of the Second Türk Empire, the so-called Orkhon Inscriptions—likewise

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deal with ethnic inclusiveness, but they approach the subject via myths of ethnogenesis and rhetoric on national security. Two opposing views of ethnic difference lay at the heart of Tang discourse on this subject. The assimilationist view saw politico-cultural boundaries of the ethnic Han and culturally Chinese Self as flexible and able safely to incorporate non-Han without threatening the integrity of the Self. In its most direct form, assimilationist discourse asserted all peoples’ common humanity and similar nature. Radical forms of assimilationism conceived of the Han and Chinese ethnocultural complex as so powerful and attractive as to be infinitely absorbent and thus capable of assimilating and acculturating non-Han without transforming the Han people and Chinese culture in the process, eliminating the most common threat posed by contact with the Other. The separatist approach viewed the boundary between Han and nonHan as nearly absolute. Contact with non-Han, especially in the realm of culture, threatened the purity and identity of the Han Self, particularly as the transmitter of Chinese culture. Separatist rhetoric argued that non-Han groups should preferably be moved outside the geographic and political boundaries of China. If allowed to dwell in close proximity to the Han, ethnic Others needed to be subject to special restrictions to avoid disrupting the integrity of the Han Self. Separatist discourse was often, but not necessarily, hierarchical, with the Han at the top. That is, it could posit a “separate but equal” relationship between ethnic groups, though it often explicitly asserted the inferiority of the Other. The Türks of the Second Empire were unabashed separatists with regard to Tang China and the Han. This position arose not only out of cultural differences but also out of the immediate historical context. The authors of the Orkhon Inscriptions were revanchist founders of an intensely nationalistic imperium whose central narrative, around which their ethnic consciousness was constructed, was the defeat of their putative ancestors, the First Türk Empire, and their decades-long subjection to and eventual rebellion against the Tang. As for the Tang itself, state-centered ethnic discourse accommodated both assimilationist and separatist views, often simultaneously. Like stereotypes, these views served as ideologies in reserve that were drawn upon whenever needed, usually to justify a specific policy recommendation or to comment on imperial policies in general terms. As a rule, the actions of the state often belied its assimilationist rhetoric, leading to the conclusion that such rhetoric often served particular exigent goals within the broader context of a separatist-oriented ethnic policy. First, assimilationist rhetoric aimed to persuade powerful non-Han groups or individuals of the good intentions of the Tang state. Second, it strived to limit the destabilizing effects of prejudice and ethnic friction, especially

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when expressed in the local administration of ethnically mixed populations. Third and perhaps most commonly, it helped construct the image of the Tang dynasty as ruling in accordance with the principle of “the empire is open to all” (tianxia wei gong) that Tang emperors had used from the beginning to legitimize their rule.131 Tang ethnic policy and rhetoric did not emerge in a vacuum. Sui founder Wendi, who came from the same social and cultural milieu as the early Tang emperors (Wendi’s wife was the first Tang emperor’s aunt), made extensive use of assimilationist rhetoric. In an early edict, he reminded his generals prior to an attack on the Türks that their opponents were equally as human as they were: “They have round heads and square feet and are of the human race.”132 While he ordered his generals to kill all who resisted, he also commanded them not to harm their prisoners and to conduct them to a safe remove. While this gesture may have simply been militarily appropriate in the circumstances, Wendi also made broader gestures toward pan-ethnic unity under the umbrella of the Sui Empire. In response to a conciliatory letter from the Eastern Türk ruler, Wendi first flattered him as the greatest ruler among “the non-Han [fan] to the north” and then added, “Although there was peace before, we were still two states; now that we have entered into a ruler-subject relationship, this will be conducive toward becoming a single body.”133 Wendi was quite successful in settling surrendered Inner Asian peoples in areas under Sui control and then utilizing them as buffers against nomadic attacks, following the strategy dating back to the Han dynasty of “using barbarians [yi] to control barbarians.”134 Wendi’s resettlement policy was enunciated in fairly pragmatic terms and predicated on keeping different groups separate in order to maintain the peace, but it did not rule out the possibility of ultimately assimilating the nearer non-Han peoples. This theoretical acceptance of non-Han as potential equal partners in the realm is attributable in part to Wendi’s social and genealogical background and was to persist into the early Tang. The majority of both the Sui and the Tang founding elites were frontier generals of ethnically mixed ancestry belonging to a class of mestizo northern frontier military elites who were, by and large, untroubled by ethnic difference per se. This elite, which had formed the core military and political cliques of the preceding dynasty, the Northern Zhou, itself a state with a non-Han royal house, had frequent though often antagonistic dealings with their nomadic neighbors. Consequently, their approach to war and peace on the frontier was pragmatic and flexible, and they were inclined to view Inner Asian leaders as potential allies, subjects, and even marriage partners rather than intractably hostile and unregenerate barbarians.

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In contrast, Wendi’s son, Emperor Yangdi, had a troubled relationship with his family’s ethnic background and assumed a far less tolerant attitude toward ethnic difference. Yangdi became an aggressive patron of southern China’s Han literati and culture, which was ostensibly more representative of “pure” Chinese culture following the long occupation of the north by non-Han dynasties prior to the Sui. He married a member of the southern Chinese aristocracy and, for much of his reign, lived in the southern city of Jiangdu (modern Yangzhou).135 There are many indications that he intensely resented non-Han political and cultural influence, a bias that extended to his own immediate family and court circle. In 630, Taizong, eager to assert his own assimilationist credentials, accused Yangdi of prejudice: “Sui Yangdi was, by nature, prone to suspicion and defensiveness. He put his faith solely in heterodox beliefs and was extremely prejudiced against non-Han [hu] to such an extreme that he called Hu beds ‘intersecting beds’ and referred to the Hu melons as ‘yellow melons.’136 He built long walls in order to avoid non-Han, but he was finally killed by Linghu Xingda at Yuwen Huaji’s bidding.”137 Taizong made this remark in the same year that, following the dissolution of the Eastern Türk confederation, the majority of the nomadic tribes in eastern Inner Asia and many of the sedentary states from the Western Regions formally submitted to the Tang and requested that Taizong take the title of Heavenly Qaghan to mark his suzerainty over the steppe and oasis peoples.138 Taizong was undoubtedly using any opportunity to emphasize his tolerance and assimilationist credentials and distance his ethnic and foreign policies from those of Yangdi’s to legitimize his rule over his new subjects. Regardless of the political motives of Taizong’s own rhetoric, there are numerous well-attested incidents of Yangdi’s separatist bent. Once, Yangdi responded to a proposal by a client Türk qaghan to “lead his tribes in changing their clothing to become identical to those of the Han [huaxia]” by saying that he did not want the Türks to assimilate but wanted them to serve as a distant buffer against hostile nomads further north.139 The chief Sui foreign policy expert, Pei Ju, used assimilationist rhetoric but was able to counteract Yangdi’s instinctive separatism and prejudice against non-Han only by appealing to Yangdi’s greed and grandiosity. Pei outlined a plan to defeat the major nomadic powers astride the Inner Asian trade routes and bring all the lands immediately to the west under Sui suzerainty, and he concluded by saying, “The melding together of non-Han [rong] and Han [xia] is within our grasp!”140 Yangdi’s own interest in this plan, however, derived from his desire to control the luxury trade—which provided economic and, more important, social, political, and cultural capital—and emulate past expansionist emperors like Qin Shihuang and Han Wudi.141

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Tang Taizong has the best reputation of any Chinese ruler in history for assimilationist policies and rhetoric. Numerous statements attributed to him express common themes: the unification of the inner (nei) and outer (wai) realms, the joining together of the autochthonous non-Han peoples in the north (Hu) and south (Yue), the common humanity of all peoples, and the equal treatment of Han and non-Han by the Tang state.142 Taizong’s most celebrated expression of the last theme was made to his advisers near the end of his reign when he was busy assessing and codifying his legacy: “From antiquity on, although monarchs have pacified China [zhongxia], none has been able to bring the non-Han [rong] into submission. Although my talent cannot equal the ancients, my accomplishments have surpassed theirs . . . since antiquity every ruler has honored the Han (zhonghua) and denigrated the non-Han (yirong). I alone love them as one. Therefore, the tribes have all cleaved to me as if I were their father and mother.”143 Despite this and similar boasts, Taizong’s success in gaining the submission of peoples outside the traditional boundaries of China was only one of degree when compared to the success of some of his predecessors. The earlier Han, Northern Wei, and Sui dynasties had at periods also extended their polities into the steppes and oases of Inner Asia and the mountains and jungles of southern China and Southeast Asia. Taizong was unique, however, in his great stress on assimilationist rhetoric to justify and account for his accomplishments. The submission of non-Han peoples had usually been attributed by previous dynasties to the transforming power of the ruler’s virtue. Indeed, Taizong and his advisers, particularly the archetypal Confucian minister Wei Zheng, utilized this argument as well, no doubt because of its resonance with Tang elites and the preference of Chinese historiographers for rhetoric with historical parallels.144 Such rhetoric denied agency to ethnic Others, relegating them to a role similar to that played by positive natural portents—good harvests, auspicious animals, and so forth—in that their submission was believed spontaneously to accompany the rule of an enlightened emperor. Aside from using assimilationist rhetoric to influence historical assessments by later literati145 and create an inclusive self-image for Tang elites, Taizong directed the rhetoric toward non-Han audiences themselves, including those beyond Tang political control. In a 639 letter of appointment to the ruler of the Xueyantuo, the most powerful nomadic confederation in Mongolia following the defeat of the Eastern Türks, Taizong wrote: “I dispatched troops who attacked and defeated [Xieli Qaghan of the Eastern Türks]. His tribes all submitted. I overlooked past faults and praised subsequent good behavior. Their chieftains all received offices and titles just like my own officials, and I loved the tribes

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like sons, no differently from the common people.”146 Non-Han who sought imperial favor reciprocated rhetorically, acknowledging Taizong as the “Heaven-appointed father and mother of both Han [hua] and non-Han [yi].”147 Yet, what many scholars have taken to be a consistent policy of assimilation often appears to be rather a discourse of separatism predicated on an idealized equality of Han and non-Han, Chinese and non-Chinese. Early in his reign, Taizong seems to have believed in the potential for the complete absorption of nomadic tribes into the Tang imperium without necessarily hanicizing or sinicizing them. He may have envisioned a truly multi-ethnic and multicultural empire. Thus, he rejected the arguments of most of his civilian advisers either to remove the Türks beyond the boundaries of the empire or to divide them up and settle them deep within China proper. Rather, he approved Wen Yanbo’s proposal to settle the defeated Eastern Türks in frontier zone south of the Yellow River with the implicit goal of political incorporation of the Türks based on a shared frontier heritage that included overlapping ethnic, cultural, economic, and social identity rather than on assimilation and acculturation.148 Such a strategy was undergirded by a notion that membership in the Tang Empire was founded on loyalty and service and direct ties to the throne rather than on monolithic ethnic or cultural identities. Such notions were common to Inner Asian polities as well as the states of northern China in the preceding period, but much less so in the culturally Chinese Southern Dynasties. In this scheme, ethnic and cultural exclusivity actively hindered dynastic expansion. Thus, when Inner Asians in 630 had acknowledged Taizong in unprecedented fashion as the Heavenly Qaghan, this title legitimized his dominion over the Inner Asian steppes and oases and did not overlap with his role as emperor [huangdi], the latter title mostly used to in reference to his rulership over the sedentary peoples of China.149 Yet, following an aborted revolt and assassination attempt in 638 on Taizong by Türks serving in the palace guard, Taizong acquiesced to the plans of Wei Zheng that relocated the nomads to areas more distant from the Chinese heartland.150 More significantly, he abandoned his grand strategy of directly incorporating the Türks and other non-Han peoples into a Tang mestizo ethnocultural sphere. In the 639 letter mentioned above, Taizong responded to Xueyantuo protests over his plan to return their Eastern Türk rivals to the open steppe under a Tangappointed qaghan by arguing for the legitimacy of tribal peoples establishing realms in their appropriate homelands: However, it is the custom of the Central Kingdom not to liquidate your [nonHan] states. Previously when I defeated the Türks, it was only because one

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man, Xieli, became injurious to the common people. Therefore, I brought down his realm and removed him. Truly it was not because I lusted after his territory or wished to profit from his people and horses. From the time that I removed Xieli from power I always intended to enthrone another qaghan, and thus I settled the surrendered tribes to the south of the Yellow River and entrusted them with looking after their herds. My heart is very pleased that their households, sheep, and horses have so multiplied, and I have acquiesced to the appointment of their qaghan so as not to go back on my promise. Now I intend to send the Türks across the Yellow River so that they can restore their territories.151

The policy of not formally exterminating foreign states or peoples, even those of non-sinicized groups, was not by itself a rejection of the policy of assimilation. The Tang state supported the ancestral rites of the defunct royal houses of the Northern Zhou and Sui based on precedents dating back to the pre-imperial period. However, taken with the rest of the passage, the application of this principle to the Türks indicated that Taizong was moving away from assimilation. By preserving the symbols, institutions, and activities central to the persistence of Türk ethnic and cultural identity, he was adopting a policy that might be called inclusiveness, predicated on viewing at least some non-Han groups as separate but equal, as opposed to assimilation, which viewed non-Han as equal but (ultimately) not separate. In this light, much Tang imperial rhetoric, particularly after 638, which has been read as arguing for assimilation, should more accurately be reinterpreted as inclusive. These imperial statements promoted the moral equivalence of non-Chinese cultures and non-Han peoples on the one hand and Chinese culture and Han persons on the other, but without requiring hanicization of the former or the permeability of Han/Chinese boundaries. Such rhetoric straddled the line between separatism and assimilation, allowing Tang subjects who maintained a nonHan identity to feel validated by the imperial state. This discourse of “separate but (relatively) equal” did not challenge the image of the ruling house and many imperial elites—whose own legitimacy relied in part on the effacement of their non-Han ancestry and the abandonment or elision of practices and associations previously identified as barbarian— by suggesting, as a strongly assimilationist discourse would have, that the dynasty was less the inheritor of the mantle of the quintessentially Chinese Han dynasty and more a sinicized version of the non-Han Northern Dynasties. One incident from Taizong’s reign epitomizes the policy of maintaining separate ethnic categories of non-Han and Han while validating the equal potential of both to embody “universal” values: “During the Zhenguan reign period, there was a Türk named Shi Xingchang who was on

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duty at the Xuanwu Gate. While eating his meal he put the meat aside. Someone asked him the reason, and he replied, ‘When I return home I’ll present it to my mother.’ Taizong heard about it and praised him, saying, ‘When it comes to having humane and filial natures, how can one distinguish between Han and non-Han?’ The emperor rewarded him with a horse from the imperial stables and issued an order that the mother be provided with a supply of meat.”152 It is possible to interpret this passage in two significantly different ways. Most obviously, Taizong wished to make the point that both Han and non-Han are capable of acts of humanity and filiality, and, therefore, that traits valued in Chinese culture were not the exclusive preserve of those who were ethnically Han. One can also read Taizong’s remarks in a more sinocentric fashion. They imply that “universal” values like humanity and filiality could only be expressed in ways defined by Chinese cultural arbiters, regardless of one’s cultural or ethnic background. Moreover, Taizong never explicitly asserts that both Han and non-Han have an equal potential to be humane and filial, allowing for the possibility that the entire anecdote, echoing the role of stereotypes discussed earlier, was mainly meant to highlight the exceptional nature of such behavior and goad Han to improve their behavior. While this second reading may have found favor with more conservative Confucian scholars, it is less reflective of the general thrust of Taizong’s imperial discourse on ethnic difference. Many other statements attributed to Taizong argue for the essentially equivalent nature of Han and non-Han and, on the other hand, for the validity of distinctly non-Han or non-Chinese values and modes of behavior. For example, Taizong issued an edict in 638 approving the propagation of Nestorianism and authorizing the establishment of a Nestorian church with twenty-one priests and monks (mostly or all Persian) in Chang’an. The opening lines of the edict, which resemble some of the Buddhist apologia I discuss in Chapter 3, read: “The Way does not have a constant name and sages do not present an unchanging form. They go from place to place establishing their teachings and thereby save all living beings.”153 However, there were dissenting discourses that contended with the imperially sanctioned discourse. Many in the Tang Empire, particularly literate elites who stressed genealogy and cultural achievement, viewed the ethnocultural Self and Other as eternally in opposition and, therefore, the categories of Han and non-Han as inextricably separate. In the debates in 630 over the settlement of the Eastern Türks, those who wished to expel the Türks from the empire and those who desired to absorb them totally into the body of Han commoners (baixing) both viewed nonHan nature (xing) as fundamentally different from Han nature.154 They

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also explicitly argued for the superiority and greater importance of the Han people within the empire. This was expressed in time-honored tropes comparing the relationship of Han to non-Han to that of a tree’s trunk to its branch155 or to that of a body to what is external to the body.156 Others simply argued that the empire’s priorities should always be Han first, non-Han second.157 Beyond policy debates, the “separate and unequal” discourse likely prevailed at many levels of society. The superficially assimilationist discourse arguing for the unity of Han and non-Han reached a peak under Emperor Xuanzong as Tang territorial expansion, military power, and self-confidence reached their height. This rhetoric followed the examples set by Taizong, celebrating the Tang’s imperial accomplishments and the emperor’s ostensible virtue. However, prominent assertions that there was no difference between Han and non-Han occurred in the context of Xuanzong’s most vexing foreign policy issue, Sino-Tibetan relations,158 and hinted at the increasing hollowness of this rhetoric, a hollowness that would be exposed by An Lushan’s rebellion along with the ethnic and cultural fault lines in the empire. The ambiguity between assimilation and separation maintained by the court in the first half of the dynasty was fundamental to the Tang Empire’s ability to accommodate ethnic diversity within its borders and along its frontiers while being able legitimately to claim to be a Chinese and Han dynasty. However, this ambiguity also prevented the dynasty from resolving underlying ethnic and cultural tensions that erupted during the An Lushan rebellion and ultimately contributed to the severe weakening of the state and to the transformation of the empire.

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Varieties of Ethnic Change

Tang society was marked both by class consciousness and by snobbery—reflecting the inherited aristocratic traditions of the Northern and Southern Dynasties—and, increasingly over the course of the dynasty, by social mobility based on the broadening of officialdom, the spread of education, and the overall growth in the principle of meritocracy. The trend toward meritocracy would mature in the Song dynasty. Indeed, scholars have long recognized the Tang as a transitional period between the aristocratic society of the early medieval period and the meritocratic or literati society of the Song and subsequent eras.1 Under the aristocratic society, ancestral and marital ties to established lineages were the essential markers of social status, while in the literati society, state office and educational accomplishment came to be the foundations of social advancement. The Tang court tried to regulate social status by commissioning genealogies and banning exclusive marriage practices, but individuals, families, local society, and the increasingly broad network of national elites took it upon themselves to move up the social scale and, in many cases, restricted entrance to their own social level. Within this intricate framework, people of acknowledged non-Han ethnicity, as well as those of non-Han ancestry who had staked claims to Han ethnicity, occupied virtually all strata. While there was a significant amount of ethnic stratification—the identification of non-Han ethnic groups with specific (often socially inferior or outsider) occupations—non-Han were also able to use various means to stretch, redefine, or transcend their ethnic boundaries in order to achieve status within different levels of Tang society, including the stratum of literati elites.

Kinship and Marriage One of the main strategies of social mobility in the Tang, used by Han and non-Han, was the establishment of a prestigious lineage. Scholars have focused on the efforts of non-Han individuals and families to create fictitious or incomplete genealogies that laid claim to Han ances-

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try.2 This concealment of one’s origins was a key step in the path to hanicization, and it took many forms. At its simplest, and most difficult to detect, it simply involved the changing of one’s surname and often the retroactive changing of the names of one’s ancestors. The famous poet Li Bo, who came from obscure frontier origins, is suspected of having hidden his non-Han ancestry. If one’s ambitions were high, as in the case of non-Han generals, then one would, as so many Han social climbers did, stake claims to a prestigious choronym, historically prominent Han ancestors, or both.3 The Tang imperial clan, also surnamed Li, claimed descent from Laozi while obfuscating its own mixed ethnic ancestry.4 Often the use of Han surnames by non-Han did not involve active subterfuge, as they could be officially sanctioned abbreviations of non-Han multicharacter surnames (such as Yuan for Tuoba in the case of the descendants of the Northern Wei royal family) or obtained through imperial grants. During the decline of the Eastern Han and for many years after the Han’s fall, numerous non-Han clans, including ruling houses from the Xiongnu and other Inner Asian ethnic groups who laid claim to Chinese dynastic status, used the imperial Han surname Liu. They claimed, often justifiably, descent from Xiongnu nobility who had intermarried with or served the Eastern Han royal house and had been granted the imperial surname.5 The use of abbreviations of non-Han surnames first assumed major proportions during the Northern Wei, and many elite clans renamed in that period retained their prominence into the Tang.6 Even though some abbreviated surnames were clearly associated with non-Han lineages, many Tang elites who carried such names steadfastly omitted references to non-Han ancestry without actually inventing fictive ancestors. A more actively deceptive tactic used by non-Han families to obfuscate their ancestry was the use of fictive choronyms with sinicized surnames to claim prestigious ancestral residences, such as Luoyang and Chang’an. Non-Han in the Tang also showed a predilection to change their official residency to the two capitals, no doubt in part to boost their claims to high-status choronyms.7 The foundations for this model of social advancement had also been established in the Northern Wei with the massive relocation of the dynasty’s non-Han elites from the North China frontier zone to the new capital of Luoyang in the late fifth century and their lineages’ subsequent use of Luoyang or Henan in their choronyms.8 Ironically, this move was forced on reluctant non-Han tribal elites whose descendants would later proudly claim Luoyang as their ancestral homes. By the Tang—the fourth generation of dynasties to succeed the Northern Wei directly, though separated from it by less than a

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century—the tendency to efface the non-Han ancestry of dynastic founders and elites was very strong. Official genealogies that recount the ancestries of lineages of mixed-ethnicity founding elites list ancestors with state offices whose names and choronyms were already sinicized and omit more distant forebears with tribal offices and non-Han names. The genealogies typically begin entries on clans with non-Han ancestry either with forebears from the Northern Wei and later dynasties (when non-Han persons would have been most likely to receive official positions and sinicized surnames) or skip back to allegedly Han ancestors from the much more remote (and ethnically Han) Han, Wei, and Jin dynasties, thereby omitting ancestors from the late third, fourth, and early fifth centuries, when North China was politically dominated by non-Han. For example, an authoritative Tang genealogy claims the Dugu clan—an undoubtedly non-Han clan, which played a major role in the establishment of the Northern Zhou and whose women married emperors of the Northern Zhou, Sui, and Tang—had the original surname of Liu.9 Such fictions and maneuverings were prevalent throughout the Tang, judging by numerous skeptical references to claims of ancestry in genealogical works and general social discourse,10 and they may have been necessary for non-Han families of relatively low stature to advance through the middle reaches of Tang society and bureaucracy. Prominent lineages of known non-Han ancestry, however, were accepted among the elites of the Tang Empire,11 if not at the (self-defined) highest stratum of society, which, despite the efforts of the Tang state, continued to be the so-called “Four Clans” or “Shandong Clans” of northeastern China, who were ethnic Han and cultural Chinese conservatives and chauvinists.12 The genealogies of the non-Han lineages did not detail their tribal ancestry but traced their genealogy back to members of the Northern Wei royal family or similar forebears whose social legitimacy was based on political position in a legitimate Chinese, albeit non-Han, dynasty—Sui and Tang historiographers classified the Northern Wei as legitimate not only because of its control of the Central Plain but, more important, also because the Sui and Tang were the social, cultural, and political descendants of the Northern Wei. Tang-era genealogies, for example, claimed that the clan of Minister Zhangsun Wuji was descended from the Northern Wei imperial Tuoba clan, rather than their actual ancestors, the related but lower-status Baba clan.13 It was bad form to refer explicitly to these families’ Inner Asian origins, though it was likely apparent to all. Such families constituted a model of assimilation to Han ethnicity in virtually all indicia while retaining a private and public memory of non-Han origins. This demonstrated the existence of a certain flexibility to ethnic boundaries that was widely ac-

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cepted in the Tang, though such flexibility was periodically challenged by Han snobs who sought to preserve the ethnic and cultural purity of the top echelon of society through the rejection of marriage offers and other tactics of exclusion. Those who openly acknowledged their non-Han ancestry did so to different degrees depending on the social milieu and ambitions of the particular family and the audience.14 Many who openly traced their ancestry to non-Han forebears from outside China often claimed, sometimes legitimately, that their forebears were royalty or otherwise prominent in their homeland. An Lushan’s rival, Geshu Han, doubtless resented An’s comparison of their ancestries because Geshu was ostensibly descended, through his father, from a chiefly clan of the Türgesh confederation, which dominated the central Inner Asian steppe in the eighth century, and, through his mother, from Khotanese royalty. In contrast, An’s mother was a humble Türk shamanka and his father was probably a Sogdian of lowly origins.15 Claims of non-Han noble ancestry had currency in both Han and nonHan Tang society. Many who asserted such claims, such as the Persian royal Aluohan, also touted their political status by foregrounding their official titles—both those specific to non-Han communities (such as fanfang, jimizhou, and non-Han-dominated military units) and those belonging to regular Chinese bureaucratic institutions. The status of those who held state-sanctioned positions in non-Han communities in particular depended on their role as mediators between Han and nonHan—often extending beyond the Tang Empire into foreign lands, as in the case of branches of the Iranian An clan that retained economic contacts in the Western Regions and probably beyond16—and thus inclined them to highlight, rather than efface, their non-Han ties. While such intercultural brokers17 could promote cultural diffusion and change in a number of directions, including toward the politically dominant Han, they also ran the risk of appearing too close to their non-Han contacts and incurring Han hostility and the enmity of the state when those contacts grew powerful enough to challenge state authority, as happened to Sogdians in their dealings with An Lushan in the eighth century and with the Uighurs in the ninth century. Indeed, such conflicts occurred regularly along the Sino-Inner Asian frontier, as merchants often backed political contenders in the frontier zone in order to secure trade routes and establish monopolies and may have been the real force behind the rise of steppe empires.18 Another tactic for dealing with non-Han ancestry that complicated the connection between ethnic identity and foreign ancestry (normally a clear criterion for non-Han identity) was to acknowledge one’s alien origins but claim Han forebears from outside China proper.

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There were two approaches, each with its own implications for identity, ethnic boundaries, and the social class and aspirations of the claimants. On the one hand, one could claim descent from a known historical Han figure, usually male, who had ended up in non-Han territory and intermarried with the local populace. The Western Han general Li Ling, taken captive by the Xiongnu in 99 B.C.E.,19 was the archetypal figure in the Tang and subsequent periods. This claim was usually made by or about relatively unassimilated peoples in the Tang Empire, including groups not subject to the Tang, such as the Kirghiz and Uighurs, who were viewed as impervious to hanicization or sinicization and thus threatening. The claim was usually not made as part of a strategy of social mobility via hanicization but made in order to establish a basis for a political relationship—Emperor Wuzong claimed common kinship with a Uighur leader through their alleged common descent from Li Ling—or to account for ethnographic anomalies.20 One Tang writer explained the appearance of black hair among Kirghiz, who were stereotypically known for their blond or reddish hair and green eyes, as the result of intermarriage between Li and his Han soldiers and female ancestors of the Kirghiz.21 Non-Han who had greater cultural and social pretensions imitated Han counterparts in claiming descent from Chinese culture heroes of antiquity, particularly the Yellow Emperor and King Wen of the Zhou, even while acknowledging their non-Han roots.22 Such assertions did not intend to usurp or broaden the notion of Han ethnicity. Instead, they aimed to garner prestige for the claimant and to give the claimant’s original homeland greater status by including it within the mythical geography of the spread of the descendants of the Yellow Emperor and the Zhou royal house. These claims highlight the extent to which public ethnic identities were predicated on both descent and geography, treated with equal importance in Chinese genealogies. We see comparable phenomena in the ancient Mediterranean. Greek cities of Asia Minor traced their roots not to historical migrations but to the alleged activities of Greek deities and culture heroes in these originally alien landscapes. Likewise, Greek subethnic groups lacking prestigious Hellenic genealogies asserted descent from Apollo and other gods, and “barbarian” towns under the Roman Empire claimed descent from the Trojans, the Romans’ putative ancestors.23 Personal and clan names in the Tang were closely tied to ancestry and, in the case of non-Han, homelands, and thus were key indicia of ethnic identity and change. Patterns of naming among non-Han peoples, both within and outside the Tang Empire, are complex, as surviving names in the almost exclusively Sinitic sources were often simultaneously imposed by Han observers with a bias toward accentuating ethnic differences and

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manipulated by non-Han working toward assimilation to Tang elites.24 There were some relatively straightforward cases: the Tang court usually recognized royal or prominent clans of sedentary states—such as the Nine Clans of Zhaowu from the Sogdian homeland of Transoxania— and some nomadic polities as constituting true clans (xing) and regularly accorded them single-character surnames in line with Chinese models. Some of these surnames, notably those associated with the Sogdians (e.g., Shi and Kang), could often be bestowed on or taken by nonHan with few or no ancestral ties to the homelands that the surnames ostensibly represented. Such a decision could hinge on various factors, such as enhanced prestige for the grantee and confusion on the part of the granter.25 For the most part, however, Tang state and society viewed the majority of non-Han, who were from tribal societies, as inherently lacking surnames. Thus, an early step of assimilation or acculturation of nonHan was often the establishment of a clan identity and name, the latter typically a full or abbreviated transliteration into two or more Chinese characters of the original tribal name. This marked the bearers as non-Han, as most Han clan names after the Han dynasty were either single characters or a limited number of well-known two-character combinations. The second step toward the sinicization of the surname was the abbreviation of the multicharacter surname to a single character, often followed by a third step of adopting or receiving a new surname with a certified Han provenance.26 This process was most transparent and drawn out during the Northern Wei and its immediate successors when the state took an active hand in these transformations. By the Tang the transformation was often abbreviated and opaque. Ostensibly Han persons engaged in large-scale adoptions of non-Han (and vice versa) to establish needed political and military networks.27 The Tang court itself engaged in mass bestowals of Han surnames, particularly the imperial surname Li, to recently submitted non-Han (including entire tribes)28 to reify their political integration into the Tang Empire, drawing on Inner Asian models that used fictive kinship relations to create political bonds. As the potential rewards for social and political advancement through assimilation increased over the course of the Tang in step with overall trends toward greater social mobility, the three stages outlined above could be abbreviated or skipped. Highly competitive and socially sensitive clans that commissioned genealogies increased their efforts to elide the historical record of changes by retroactively altering their ancestors’ non-Han surnames. Given names (ming) were important markers of ethnic identity and transformation. There are six broad categories of given names possessed

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by non-Han living in the Tang Empire: (1) Chinese transliterations of names from non-Han languages; (2) Chinese translations of non-Han names; (3) abbreviations of the first two types of names that present a pseudo-Han appearance; (4) typical Han commoner names; (5) Han names with strong sinicizing overtones, which are overrepresented among assimilating non-Han individuals (similar to the use of the names George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln by recent immigrants to the United States); and (6) typical Han literati names.29 Particular individuals often boast different names from disparate categories, depending on the degree of hanicization asserted by the specific source. Changes in patterns of naming among non-Han families—typically an evolution over generations from category (1) through the intervening categories all the way to (6)—were important indicators of assimilation and possibly social mobility, both between branches of the same lineage and from one generation to the next. Mid-eighth century household registration records of a Sogdian-dominated community in Dunhuang clearly reveal a pattern of sinicization of given names over generations through a direct correlation between age and the use of non-Han names and the fact that fathers with Han given names invariably gave their children Han names, while fathers with non-Han names gave their sons Han names at least two-thirds of the time.30 Surviving genealogies, which were mainly directed at codifying national elites according to elite literati norms, frequently effaced types (1) and (2) and replaced them with (5) and particularly (6). However, bearing out observations by anthropologists and historians that names, as ethnic boundary mechanisms, are often quite conservative compared to cultural behavior and social status, there are also numerous instances of given names of the lower-numbered types persisting as indicia of non-Han identity in some Tang families, despite high degrees of hanicization and sinicization in other indicia and criteria. Marriage patterns and rituals, like names, were significant vehicles for ethnic boundary maintenance and for assimilation and acculturation. Non-Han in the Tang variously practiced ethnic endogamy and exogamy (some, such as the Qiang, moving from endogamy to exogamy following centuries of contact with the Han),31 the former obviously encouraging the persistence of non-Han identity. Endogamy seems to have been particularly frequent among the Sogdians, although declining over time.32 Zoroastrianism, the faith of many Sogdians, likely encouraged their endogamy. However, the Sogdians, many of whom were prominent merchants who relied on connections across the trans-Eurasian Sogdian community, in all likelihood pragmatically utilized ethnic endogamy to maintain commercial networks. Many of

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these endogamous marriages were same-surname marriages or otherwise considered incestuous from the Confucian perspective,33 perpetuating a distinctive Iranian religious and social practice and setting Sogdians off even further from Han. Exogamous marriages and related practices and gender relations could also serve as significant ethnic boundary mechanisms. Even upwardly mobile and assimilating non-Han families did not necessarily fully adopt the marital standards and normative gender relationships of the level of Han society they intended to join. Non-Han of Inner Asian heritage had been known since the Han dynasty for the high ritual and social status they accorded women, eliciting criticism from Han elites.34 Certain families that made claims to membership in elite levels of Tang society by displaying literary ability, holding high office, and marrying with high-class families continued to engage in marital rituals that were nonstandard or influenced by non-Han customs.35 The practice of taking concubines as wives and engaging in liaisons considered incestuous by traditional Chinese standards—practicing the levirate (men marrying their deceased brothers’ wives), marrying in-laws—also continued among elite families that claimed high marital standards and a Han ethnic identity.36 The state mainly prohibited intermarriage between Han and non-Han when the (presumably male) non-Han was a foreigner residing in the Tang Empire rather than a registered subject,37 though such marriages could often be legal so long as the non-Han did not attempt to take his wife out of China. This prohibition likely reflected perceptions that the giving of Han women to non-Han men not subject to the Tang state was a loss of face and an implicit act of subordination, most powerfully signified in the often reluctant practice of marrying Han princesses to nonHan rulers to further political alliances. Though the Tang engaged in this practice, it regularly assuaged its pride by giving women only tenuously related to the emperor. Most documented intermarriages occurred between non-Han men and Han women, probably reflecting both a gender imbalance in the non-Han population, particularly in urban areas with their concentrations of merchant diasporas, and the calculated use by non-Han men of Han brides for social climbing and assimilation.38 In some cases, large bride prices for daughters of prominent Han families facilitated these marriages, though the Han families opened themselves up to condemnation and even state punishment, depending on the current political and social environment.39 In these cases, the circumvention of class boundaries may have been at least as important as that of ethnic boundaries in the degree of opprobrium, given that similar deals involving Han on both sides drew similar disapproval.40 In contrast, many of the

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documented cases of marriage between Han men and non-Han women occurred when the Han men were in socially liminal situations, such as in exile or on the frontier, when class distinctions became blurred or irrelevant for local patronage and status.41 Adoption was another vehicle for crossing or blurring ethnic boundaries. Inner Asian societies regularly used adoption to establish pseudo-kinship ties that facilitated political patronage and social relationships. In contrast, adoption was relatively rare among self-consciously Han elites and was formally limited by Tang law mainly to cases where there was no male heir and the family line was in danger of dying out.42 Among certain court and elite circles, and particularly in frontier military society, however, Inner Asian norms strongly influenced both Han and non-Han adoption practices, reflecting influences from previous dynasties and regular contact with Inner Asian peoples. Thus, Precious Consort Yang notoriously adopted the adult An Lushan, though at his initiative, in part to further her political influence.43 On the frontier, Han military officers adopted promising subordinates to solidify patronage ties. However, the Han officers hesitated to grant the subordinates their own surnames, demonstrating Han concerns about lineage integrity. Most significant, the unprecedented large-scale bestowal of surnames by the Tang imperial family imitated the Inner Asian technique of absorbing defeated enemies or new allies into tribal confederations through the amalgamation of clans. This reflected the Li clan comfort with the manipulation of Inner Asian political symbols, most famously in the use of the title of Heavenly Qaghan. It was also pragmatic, establishing personal links with non-Han elites in a way that legitimized the elites in the eyes of their own subject tribes and tied the elites to the imperium more firmly than if the Tang had simply handed out titles to tribal leaders and incorporated them into an impersonal bureaucratic order. Indeed, the tactic in itself was not a sign of the Tang court’s “barbarization,” for the practice increased over time, reflecting the court’s ever-weakening position vis-à-vis its neighbors, even as the imperial family grew more estranged from its non-Han roots and influences.

Culture Cultural expressions are often the most visible markers of ethnic identity, and cultural differences frequently mirror or at least provide clues to ethnic boundaries. Many cultural expressions—ranging from clothes to rituals and language—and associated stereotypes and prejudices, generically referred to in Sinitic texts as fengsu (often literally translated as “local customs”), were described and categorized in Tang sources ac-

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cording to geography and ethnicity and, occasionally, class.44 While the state often took credit for overall changes in fengsu toward metropolitan norms, attributing the changes to the charismatic influence of the emperor and the gentle persuasion and powerful influence of upright local officials, at the local level cultural and related ethnic changes were highly dependent on local conditions and both state and nonstate actors.45 Sogdians in northwest China adopted some forms of Han burial, but they also retained features from their homeland and also created new forms that may represent a blending of Sogdian and local practices.46 Moreover, not all cultural behaviors were equally significant as indicia and criteria of ethnic identity. Bilingualism—a skill of many inhabitants of Tang China, including some members of the imperial family—is an important sign of the existence of multiple ethnic identities. Bilingual individuals, according to sociologists, can behave quite differently depending on what ethnic and linguistic context they are cued into at any one time. Moreover, they retain complex amalgamated identities whatever context they are functioning within.47 In other words, they possess the ability consciously to select among distinct bounded ethnic identities because of their mastery of distinct repertoires of ethnic behavior. As secondgeneration migrants and inhabitants of frontier zones are often the most fertile grounds for multiple ethnic identities, the prominence of such individuals in Tang cultural and political/military life, respectively, likely contributed significantly to the fluidity as well as the salience of discourse on ethnicity as Tang elites grappled with defining ethnic boundaries. Han literati elites of the Tang, however, considered foreign languages to be unworthy of study, with the limited exception of Sanskrit. Tang educated elites in this respect differed from the educated bureaucratic elites of many of other premodern empires: Romans used Greek and Latin, and elites in the premodern Islamic Near East were regularly conversant in Arabic, Persian, and their mother tongue. The only challenge to the dominance of Sinitic as a vehicle for political, literary, and social discourse came from the emergence of Sanskrit learning in consonance with the rise of Buddhism. Massive translation projects and the even more prodigious creation of new Chinese Buddhist texts, however, limited Sanskrit’s use to highly learned Buddhist scholars, often portrayed as eccentric in part for their knowledge of Sanskrit, though there was a broad awareness of and respect for Sanskrit as a potent sacred language.48 Multilingualism—the norm in most of the premodern world49—in Tang China, while a feature of some dynastic founding elites, large portions of the military, discrete non-Han communities (fanfang, and so

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on), frontier zones (including many areas with majority non-Han populations but where knowledge of Sinitic had been prestigious for centuries), and interethnic brokers, particularly merchants, translators, and a few frontier specialists, does not appear to have been a feature of Han majority regions or the majority of the Tang bureaucracy and literati, with some exceptions.50 The Tibetan occupation of Dunhuang from 786 to 848 led to the emergence of Tibetan-Sinitic bilingualism among the local Han that persisted for decades after the restoration of ethnic Han rule.51 Turkic and Iranian linguistic competence may have been common among North China frontier military families, particularly those of non-Han or mixed ethnic ancestry, but as they moved into mainstream elite Tang society, efforts to preserve their original languages grew increasingly futile. In the early eighth century, a musician from the illustrious mestizo Zhangsun clan performed a tune likely dating back to the Northern Wei in the clan’s original proto-Altaic language, but, after some two centuries of acculturation and assimilation, the words were unintelligible and the music alien.52 Tang elites privileged a form of spoken Sinitic that was based on sixth-century Luoyang dialect, scorning regional dialects.53 It was acknowledged, though seldom mentioned, that many people in the provinces, particularly those outside the Central Plain, spoke languages, including dialects of Sinitic, that were unintelligible to the officials (and vice versa) due to laws that forbade imperial bureaucrats to serve in their native districts. This gap was a factor in determining which peoples were considered Han but not yet fully Chinese, namely, subethnic Han groups. Bo Juyi observed while he was a magistrate in the slowly sinicizing Sichuan hinterland: “Looking down from the high city walls, I can see the wriggling mass of Sichuanese barbarians [man]. How can I implement the state’s commands as long as we have no common tongue?”54 Proper speech, like proper deportment and looks, was one of the keys to gaining and keeping high social status for both Han and non-Han. The most significant linguistic skill for those who wished to ascend to the higher levels of Tang society was literacy in written classical Sinitic, usually understood as competence in the Confucian classics and literary composition. For sinicizing non-Han, the achievement of literacy played a prominent role in genealogical records and other sources that record the fortunes of the family. Successful non-Han military elites, most of them of Inner Asian ethnic ancestry, are regularly noted as having mastered a handful of classical Sinitic texts essential for statecraft and warfare, particularly the Zuozhuan commentary on the Spring and Autumn annals.55 For non-Han who were clearly recognized as foreigners, particularly those hailing from lands to the west and south, including some

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whose families had lived in China for generations, such as Li Yansheng, the achievement of literary ability was in many cases viewed as a rare and wonderful event. The fact that so many Koreans and Japanese were able to study at the highest levels and even pass the civil service exams, as well as the prominence of classical Sinitic education in their homelands, marked off their countries as bastions of civilization in the eyes of the Tang. However, these cases were viewed as exceptional.56 In the general Tang elite worldview, Confucian-oriented literacy was the preserve of the Han, and achieving it was a major stepping stone in the processes of sinicization and hanicization. Conversely, illiteracy, though common among Han, carried with it the taint of ethnic Otherness, and non-Han who attempted to assimilate through a strategy of upward social mobility could be mercilessly attacked for an actual or perceived lack of competence in classical Sinitic, as well as for failings in speaking the privileged form of vernacular Sinitic.57 Religious activity in the Tang was a significant mechanism for boundary maintenance between non-Han minority urban communities—who represented the vast majority of practitioners of foreign faiths (other than Buddhism), including universal religions like Islam, Christianity, and Manichaeism, and exclusivist faiths such as Judaism and Zoroastrianism—and the Han majority, who practiced Daoism, Buddhism, and popular folk religions. The mainly non-Han religions were, for the most part, recent imports to China that were regulated to a certain extent by the state and, with the exception of Zoroastrianism and possibly Manicheanism, were limited in the Tang to major metropolitan areas.58 Religious edifices tended to be located in neighborhoods with large concentrations of non-Han peoples and probably served as the social and economic centers of the particular ethnic communities that they catered to: Zoroastrianism for Persians and Sogdians,59 Islam for Arabs and Persians,60 Christianity for Persians and Eastern Romans,61 and Manicheanism for Sogdians and Uighurs.62 We do not see in the Tang, as in later periods, significant Islamization of ethnic Han populations.63 Religious ceremonies functioned as communal rites that reinforced common ethnic identities and heritages, although local Han commoners and officials would also periodically make offerings at “foreign” temples, such as Zoroastrian temples, as part of their regular rounds (e.g., year-end offerings to ward off evil).64 The positions of religious leader and head of the local ethnic community (the latter often charged with mediating with the state and broader Han society) were often combined, as in the case of the Zoroastrian sabao and the Muslim imam, further reinforcing the link between religious practice and ethnic identity.65 Conversely, Buddhism and Daoism played important roles in socializing

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and assimilating non-Han populations to Han economic, social, and religious norms. The state supported the spread of orthodox versions of these faiths—including sponsoring Buddhist temples in the eighth century in the Western Regions as far as present-day Kyrgyzstan66—as well as state-centered Confucianism, in part to “transform” the masses in line with metropolitan norms, but popular heterodox Buddhism and Daoism propagated by charismatic figures and often syncretized with local cults probably played a more important role in breaking down ethnic divisions and preparing the cultural ground for gradual shifts in ethnic identity. However, locally distinct patterns of ethnic change rooted in syncretism, whether religious or otherwise, often resulted in mutual assimilation—perceived by the center in negative terms—and the formation of local interests and identities opposed to official orthodoxy and central interests. Thus, we often see the ironic situation of assimilating non-Han peoples forming common cause with local Han and rebelling against or being targeted by the Tang state, including in the An Lushan rebellion.67 The recurrence of this situation, particularly in frontier areas, contributed to significant regional, class, and temporal variations in the dynamics of ethnic change. In addition to specific linguistic and religious affinities, certain types of social behavior were also significant indicia of ethnic and related regional identities. The profile of the frontier bravo (see Chapter 2), who engaged in hunting, rowdiness, and forms of rough knighterrantry, fitted both peoples of non-Han ethnicity and those frontier Han strongly influenced by environmental and cultural factors associated with barbarism, particularly the inhabitants of Sichuan and Northeast China. While national elites claimed special privileges and status because of their refined behavior, in fact many local elites, including non-Han who had assimilated to local Han populations but not to the metropolitan elites, did not rely on these literati-centered cultural practices for status but depended rather on local standards of prestige, such as the bravo.68 Food, clothing, and body modification and ornamentation frequently had overlapping ethnic and regional connotations. By the Tang, many foods of Inner and West Asian origin, such as the sesame cakes still referred to today as “barbarian cakes” (hubing), though denoted by names indicating their barbarian origin and frequently purveyed by non-Han peddlers, had become staples of northern Chinese cuisine.69 Some of them, however, had come to be used by metropolitan elites to symbolize the cuisine and culture of the capital in contrast to the “barbaric” deep south. Conversely, certain foods continued as potent symbols of Otherness, such as a dish made from the blood and liver of a freshly killed deer specially prepared by the host of a banquet for the fanjiangs An

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Lushan and Geshu Han.70 Hairstyles and clothing originating outside China, particularly the so-called Hu clothing (hufu)—trousers, lapelled short coat, and boots—suited to the Inner Asian nomadic lifestyle were highly popular among the Tang populace and even at court during certain periods, and they were thus not ethnic markers per se despite their strong association with particular non-Han peoples and lifestyles. However, elites and certain emperors regularly condemned them as signifying a “barbarization” of proper Han morality and deportment, and they played a prominent role in the attempts of self-consciously culturally Chinese and ethnically Han elites to carve out social and cultural distinctions that could preserve gentry exclusivity in the face of an upwardly mobile society.71

Socioeconomic Organizations and Interactions Tang society featured many types of communities, all with their own demographic, economic, administrative, and social profiles. In many instances, the village, the urban ward, and the monastic community— to take the three most common types—had mixed populations of Han and non-Han. There were also a considerable number of villages and monastic communities scattered across China that consisted exclusively of non-Han. While urban non-Han tended to cluster in particular wards, there were no exclusively non-Han “ghettos.” In addition, there were types of communities, such as the floating community of envoys in the compounds of the Honglusi, and, more significantly, tribal groupings, that were exclusively non-Han and for which there were no Han equivalents. At the level of the individual homogenously non-Han village, monastery, or subtribal grouping, the community leader was usually selected from within the community rather than appointed from without. If officials were imposed by the state, this was done at the relatively high county or tribal level; county civilian officials supervised monasteries. Thus, the influence of the state on daily activity and routine administration was minimal. However, the state had the power to impose on agricultural villages and monasteries types of organization and practices, such as land redistribution, that were empirewide and could significantly influence local social organization and perhaps promote hanicization and sinicization. While villages and monasteries were relatively self-contained and self-sufficient there would have been a great deal of contact with Han. Rural villagers were summoned for corvée labor and military service at the county level or could even be moved outside the county. Local elites, at least in the larger towns, participated in ethnically mixed

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social and economic organizations, such as funerary societies and charitable institutions supporting local monasteries. One of the signs of Sogdians’ increased acculturation and assimilation to their Han neighbors in the later Tang is their dramatically increased representation on stelae recording donations to Buddhist causes.72 Non-Han monasteries’ lands and industries were worked by slaves and semifree laborers, many probably Han. In urban wards, many of the non-Han residents either worked for the state or were involved in the commercial and service sectors, creating regular interactions with Han. Nevertheless, many of these villages, monasteries, and tribes retained their distinct ethnic character over generations and even centuries.73 A combination of geographic, demographic, cultural, environmental, and political factors external to these communities probably played a more important role than social organization in ensuring the maintenance of ethnic boundaries, although there are cases of ethnic social stratification, with Han minorities in particular communities occupying the lowest social strata.74 Social mobility was a significant feature of Tang society, and nonHan who possessed the requisite talents, connections, and will to assimilate to culturally Chinese norms could often rise high, and not necessarily through totally effacing their ethnic identity. One example from the mid-sixth century, doubtless repeated throughout the Tang, demonstrates the uneven level of “sinicization” and ability (or desire) to “pass” that could occur even within a single family. A man visiting a minor functionary named Lu of the Northern Qi (whose dynastic clan was non-Han) noticed that a non-Han (huren) was sitting on a chair in Lu’s house and, curious, asked Lu who he was. Lu responded that the man was his cousin and that he, in contrast to Lu himself, was still an “old barbarian” (laohu), a condescending and often pejorative term when applied to others.75 This anecdote shows that while Lu was able to “pass,” his cousin was unable or, most likely, unwilling to, for a variety of reasons, of which his appearance was only the most obvious one (the passage also observes that the cousin’s spoken Sinitic was noticeably nonstandard). Tang society also exhibited significant levels of ethnic stratification, with non-Han disproportionately represented in, and often perceived as representative of, low-status occupations that potentially threatened the social integrity through wielding disproportionate economic (merchants), political (generals and eunuchs), or cultural (musicians, dancers, magicians, and the like) power.76 In some cases non-Han migrants were able to establish themselves in occupational niches only by displacing Han, as occurred in the military. Non-Han also occupied distinct niches relying on occupational stereotypes and the hereditary na-

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ture of many professions. Such professions included medicine (often practiced by Persians and Indians),77 dancing (male and female dancers frequently hailed from Khotan), and tavern keeping. Non-Han often relied for their jobs on Tang stereotypes about particular potencies and characteristics of non-Han peoples that persuaded the general populace that non-Han could perform these functions— fighting, healing, taming animals, and so forth—better than Han. In many cases, these abilities were perceived to diminish as non-Han assimilated and acculturated to the Han majority. This sometimes spurred the self-conscious erection of boundary mechanisms by nonHan already in China who wished to maintain their current positions, while in other cases recent unassimilated migrants replaced the more assimilated non-Han. Prime examples of both phenomena occurred in the Tang military. During the Sui-Tang interregnum and the early part of the Tang, large armies crisscrossed northern China. Many of them, particularly those based on the frontier, had large non-Han contingents, including detachments of Türks dispatched by the Eastern Türk Empire to aid various contending factions (including that of the future Tang emperor) and collect booty. However, the majority of the troops were Han semiprofessional levies, the fubing, settled on agricultural lands and led by professional military families of the north, who, though of mixed ancestry and influenced by Inner Asian culture and society, largely identified with China and the Han. The fubing system continued into the Tang, but by the beginning of the eighth century it was in serious decline.78 The fubing levies were gradually replaced by a professional military class drawn from the mixed Han and non-Han settled populace of the northern frontier—probably more Inner Asian in character than at any period since the fourth century due to massive in-migration of non-Han nomads in the seventh century— and, increasingly, by non-Han tribal peoples nominally subject to the Tang.79 Non-Han and “barbarized” Han from the frontier regions, noted for their skills in archery and horsemanship and generally credited with greater martiality and, indeed, masculinity compared to their Han counterparts, assumed prominent roles in the cavalry formations that provided the Tang armies’ offensive punch. Furthermore, an increasing number of Tang generals of non-Han ethnicity, the fanjiang epitomized by Geshu Han and An Lushan, came to dominate the frontier armies and influence the court and civil administration. Many of them, such as the commanders who dominated the Shuofang Army—the chief force defending Chang’an—before and after the An Lushan rebellion were descendants of chieftains who had been placed in charge of jimizhou in the early Tang.80 These frontier armies were led by men, such as An, who

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continually stressed their non-Han qualities, in large part to demonstrate their continued martiality despite the passage of time under Tang rule. At the same time, these generals continually sought new recruits from the steppe, driven in part by the assumption that such men would possess military abilities superior to those of Han and non-Han soldiers who were products of the Tang side of the frontier zone, much less the Chinese interior.81 The need continuously to replenish their horse stocks and cavalrymen meant that the Tang court, even in its expansionist phase, was likely disinclined to try mass sedentarization of neighboring tribes, unlike some sedentary states, such as the Ottoman Empire, whose evolving military emphasis on infantry and siege warfare resulted in much more thoroughgoing efforts to settle its nomadic subjects and neighbors.82 Tang national elites often socially despised the non-Han soldiers and generals, despite their value to the state. Military skill (wu) had long taken a back seat in Chinese culture to civil skills (wen), despite early Tang emperors’ attempts to foster a balance.83 Unlike in many other empires, the military was not traditionally recognized in China as a social estate. Furthermore, as military careers became a prominent steppingstone to political (and, in some cases, social) advancement during the early and late Tang, vocal defenders of literati culture and privileges naturally sought to discredit them and erect boundaries ostensibly based on Han ethnicity but actually intended to defend class privileges and exclusivity. Such efforts increased ethnic stratification and identified the military more closely with non-Han (particularly Inner Asian) ethnic groups, albeit qualified by the temporary service of Han elites, including civil officials such as the quintessential Han literatus Han Yu, on military campaigns. Other occupational classes that ranked low in traditional Confucian schema and were disproportionately occupied by non-Han—who were nevertheless able to parley their stereotyped abilities in these professions to ascend socially—included merchants,84 monks,85 and slaves. The first two groups were economically linked, as merchants with foreign connections imported commodities such as precious stones and incense that had Buddhist sacral qualities and were essential for Buddhist worship, ornamentation, and patronage.86 Non-Han slaves were often given prestigious positions, serving as personal attendants or entertainers to their masters, taking charge of household activities, or serving as the trainers or herders of valuable animals. Indeed, the ownership of slaves from certain foreign lands, such as Africa, or with rare skills provided social cachet and was an instantly recognizable symbol of status.87 Non-Han slaves thus were distinguished from the general slave populace for their degree of specialization, economic and social

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value, and exoticism. In a sense, non-Han slaves were seen as having become slaves not through faults or weaknesses of their own—because they were criminals or prisoners or descendants of criminals or prisoners—but because they were perceived to be suited to their jobs. This gave non-Han slaves, like their military and merchant counterparts, a certain power and self-worth rooted in the combination of ethnicity and profession. There was thus widespread vertical ethnic stratification according to occupation in the Tang. It is unclear whether there was also significant horizontal ethnic stratification, that is, the formation of interest groups based on common ethnic identities or characteristics within social classes. In the Tang as a whole, regional and clan identities served as the principal social basis for social organizations, patronage networks, and political alliances. Some scholars have explained political alliances in the first half of the Tang in terms of regional blocs characterized in part by distinctive cultural and ethnic profiles.88 The political separatism of northeast China and other frontier areas prior to and following the An Lushan rebellion has convincingly been explained as significantly resulting from their distinctive frontier culture and society and non-Han influences.89 In these specific cases, however, while bonds between particular individuals and families may have relied on common ethnicity and culture, alliance blocs in their totality were never exclusive to a particular ethnic group and, indeed, almost always cut across the Han/non-Han divide to at least some extent.

Patterns of Ethnic Change No single pattern of organization or behavior characterized the nonHan population of the Tang Empire as a whole or even a particular ethnic group. Likewise, boundaries separating Han from non-Han and Chinese from non-Chinese existed along a continuum and varied in their strength and salience. Therefore, ethnic change took place across a range of vectors, with varying results. By synthesizing the relationship between ethnic boundaries and patterns of kinship and marriage, cultural behavior, occupation, and social status, we find that three broad trends in ethnic change characterizing the non-Han population of the Tang emerge. The first trend, gentrification, was the assimilation of non-Han families to the educated civil elite of the Tang, the shi. This typically required a literary education, regular office in the civil bureaucracy (or at least aspiration to such and the fulfillment of many of the preconditions), family rituals and personal behavior meeting Confucian standards of decorum and morality, and marital ties with prominent Han

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clans.90 Standards varied regionally, particularly in the early Tang when Han elites from southern China looked askance on the North China political elites, viewing them as insufficiently acculturated to Chinese norms.91 At a certain stage gentrification also entailed the adoption of given names conforming to literati standards. Surname changes were probably also frequent, though subsequent fictional or misleading genealogies and epitaphs make these gentrified families nearly impossible to spot as non-Han. Besides the option of state-bestowed surnames, many gentrified non-Han families changed their surnames themselves, sometimes to flatter a patron. In other instances, families reverted to previous surnames, ostensibly out of filiality and family pride, but in actuality confidently to signal a change in social status and identity. Gentrification was the least common, most protracted, most selfconscious, and most difficult mode of ethnic change, but it is also the most salient in the sources, produced as they were largely by and for the gentry. Thus, scholars have often viewed gentrification, which usually led to the most thoroughgoing forms of hanicization and sinicization as the mode of ethnic change. Yet, a more common type of assimilation among non-Han elites in Tang was militarization, assimilation to the military elites of the empire. This entailed preserving and developing one’s martial skills while serving in the Tang military—often remaining for generations on the frontier—and establishing patronage ties with Han and non-Han officers in military and civilian branches. Militarizing non-Han became acculturated to frontier mores that combined aspects of Chinese culture and the culture of local non-Han (not necessarily ethnically identical to the militarizing non-Han). Literati elites often viewed frontier culture as irredeemably “barbarian,” corrupting of the frontier Han populace, and fueling separatism in the case of the northeast and, to a lesser extent, the northwest. The general trend in frontier regions with ethnically mixed populations, however, appears to have been toward a homogenous regional culture that elided ethnic differences and thus served to assimilate non-Han but not gentrify them according to metropolitan norms. Militarizing non-Han tended to select or be bestowed with sinicized “patriotic” given names that often reflected their status as new or relatively new subjects of the Tang and the centrality to their worldview of the state-centered concept of loyalty—as opposed to the society and class-centered concepts of filiality and propriety that were at the heart of gentrification.92 This ostensible state-centeredness of the frontier elites could also legitimize naked self-interest, as in the case of the Shatuo Türk Li clan, who used their service to the last Tang emperors as the springboard to found their own dynasty, naming it the Later Tang in self-

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justification. Fundamental and growing differences between military and civil elites led to ethnicized disputes over the course of the Tang, such as when Han civilian ministers like Li Linfu blocked the appointment to high civilian office of non-Han military men partly on ethnic grounds. Many non-Han families that underwent militarization eventually assimilated to Han military elites and became local elites on the frontier or wherever their military service had taken them, often raising their social position. Their hanicization was frequently total, but their sinicization was only partial due to the relaxed and heterogeneous standards of the frontier and other heavily militarized areas, such as that around Chang’an. The most common type of ethnic change, but also the least visible, was localized hanicization: a steady assimilation to Han ethnic identity and acculturation to local Chinese culture (which might differ from metropolitan and thus, by elite standards, normative Chinese culture) without any of the attendant changes in social status that characterized gentrification or, in certain cases, militarization. Local hanicization occurred to many non-Han at the lower levels of society who lacked occupational skills or other qualities that made them valuable to the Tang state such that the state moved either to preserve their non-Han status or actively to integrate them via gentrification. Local hanicization, though not necessarily a conscious process, often entailed major social and economic changes, such as sedentarization, the adoption of new techniques of food and textile production, and the replacement of tribal social organization with village and clan structures. In the case of the Qiang living to the north and west of Chang’an, gentrification of Qiang elites who moved to the capital and around China to serve the state occurred first, beginning in the Sui, while local hanicization of Qiang commoners occurred over the course of the Tang as local rebellions broke up traditional villages and culture, leading to mixed Han-Qiang villages and the Qiang adoption of Chinese Buddhism.93 Cultural changes were also diverse, including, but not limited to, language and religion, and were major vectors of ethnic change as boundary mechanisms between non-Han and their Han neighbors gradually dissolved.

Migration and Frontiers Migration was a significant vector for ethnic change and interethnic interaction throughout the Tang.94 The most contentious debates over the migration of non-Han peoples into the empire occurred in the early 630s over the Eastern Türks and in the early 840s over the

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Uighurs.95 Although the two situations had some similarities—both confederations had been the dominant power in the Inner Asian steppe, both had lost power through a combination of military defeats, natural disasters, and internal political dissension, and both retained a fairly high degree of cohesion and large number of followers at the time of their migration—conditions in the Tang were entirely different in the two eras.96 The different proposals for the disposal of the Türks and the Uighurs and the solutions finally adopted—settling the Türks on the frontier zone and decisively incorporating them into the empire for decades versus allowing one portion of the Uighurs to stop temporarily adjacent to the frontier and accepting its formal submission while keeping it at a political remove and then attacking and defeating another portion—reflected not only the two periods’ different approaches to ethnic difference but also the varying degrees to which ideal outcomes had to be reconciled with the practical limits of state power at the time. The state’s options were often much less constrained by practical limitations when dealing with a special type of migrant, captives—both prisoners of war and civilians—because of their relatively small numbers. Significantly, the Tang and its neighbors—Tibet, Nanzhao, and various Inner Asian steppe confederations—held debates closely resembling each other on the disposal of captives, with a range of similar albeit contingent outcomes. Because captives were usually seized in manageable numbers and had frequently lost their social cohesion, the various polities often judged that it was feasible to move them deep within their own territory, suggesting a goal of emptying the frontier zone of potentially hostile peoples.97 Many of the documented cases for the Tang occurred later in the dynasty when non-Han on the frontier were viewed more as a potential threat than a potential benefit, a very different view from that held during early periods.98 In these cases, however, assimilation and acculturation do not seem to have been a goal, as these captives were frequently used in prisoner exchanges as part of diplomatic relations. Ironically, non-Han captives and slaves who stayed on the frontier and served in the Tang military in the short term often preserved their own ethnic identity or assumed the relatively congenial mantle of the dominant non-Han ethnicities on the frontier—as in the case of Khitans and persons from various northeastern non-Han peoples who were adopted by and assimilated into An Lushan’s personal cortege, itself heavily influenced by Türk and Sogdian traits—but in the long run they probably did undergo a more thoroughgoing shift in ethnic and cultural identity as they were absorbed into frontier society. The Tang’s frontiers, particularly in the north, were important zones

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of ethnic change, characterized like most premodern imperial frontiers by populations of mixed ethnicity undergoing tribalization and ethnicization. The fluidity of the Tang frontiers was accentuated by the fact that they were also dumping grounds for criminals from China proper, increasing the instability and probably heightening interethnic tensions while reinforcing the perceived relationship, in the eyes of the state and Tang elites, between the frontier, barbarity, and slavery. There was similarly a proportionally greater use of slave and semifree bonded labor on both sides of the frontier, given endemic warfare, the relatively heavier presence of government installations (postal stations and military colonies) that relied on coerced labor, and the difficulty of attracting voluntary migrants from the interior to provide logistical support to the frontier armies.99 The ethnically mixed populations on the frontier were fertile grounds for acculturation and ethnic change, though often not to norms as defined by the Tang state and elites. Indeed, representatives of the state frequently expressed concern about the direction and potentially destabilizing results of cultural and ethnic change on the frontier, perceiving moves away from accepted Chinese norms as inevitably leading to Han becoming more like non-Han both culturally and ethnically.100 However, the frequent, often worried, references in state edicts and memorials to mixed (za) frontier populations, with the implication that close and regular contact between Han and non-Han on the frontier was fueling mutual acculturation and assimilation, do not necessarily signal the existence of ethnically integrated communities. Rather, based on available evidence from Dunhuang and Turfan documents, it appears that individual villages were often ethnically homogenous, with ethnic heterogeneity occurring at the county or subcounty level.101 One of the most important factors behind the persistence of non-Han ethnic identity in frontier zones with a significant Han population was continued contact with the non-Han homeland. Cheng Yue argues, for example, that following the severing of direct ties with Central Asia in the mid-eighth century, the assimilation of Sogdians, who had maintained a distinct identity in northwest China entrepôts for centuries while the trade routes were open, proceeded rapidly.102 Ikeda On’s study of one particular Sogdian community suggests that the hanicization of a non-Han community could be fairly speedy, within five or six generations, particularly if facilitated by regular intermarriage, political turmoil, state demands of corvee and military service away from the community, and the adoption of agriculture.103 A common pattern of settlement whereby ethnically homogenous frontier communities came into close contact and led to overall heterogeneity,

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and regular interethnic contact occurred when tribal non-Han populations settled outside the walls of military bases and semimilitarized settlements that housed ethnically mixed garrisons and Han civilian settlers.104 This setup, reminiscent of militarized frontier settlements in the American West and the Roman Empire, served practical military and economic needs. The tribesmen provided the settlers and soldiers with needed pastoral products (wool, mutton, milk, and horses) and also served as military auxiliaries in exchange for agricultural products—fitting the model of sedentary-pastoral interdependence proposed by Khazanov—and military protection from more powerful tribes. However, the potential for conflict was always there, fed by mutual suspicion and envy, with both sides often perceiving that the Tang court played favorites to their disadvantage. This pattern of very localized ethnic homogeneity within greater ethnic heterogeneity on the frontier, at least among settled civilian populations, seems to have been the product both of voluntary processes—members of a single ethnic group seeking out and settling among people of their own group, often following a mass migration— and the state-organized system of migration and settlement that relocated whole communities to meet particular economic and political goals. The state does not appear to have sought to separate out different ethnic groups from the ethnically mixed populations in those areas in the frontier zone that were under regular commandery-county administration. The frontiers were sites of constant conflict, discussed earlier, that not only posed threats to political and economic stability and potentially threatened the Tang’s strategic position but also engendered state concerns regarding ethnic change and interethnic conflict. Regular admonishments of local commanders over endemic frontier skirmishing against non-Han groups judged by the center not to pose an existential threat to the empire were partly motivated by a realpolitik appreciation of the destabilizing effects of ethnic conflict and paternalistic concern for the victims. Yet often a greater worry of the court was that endemic warfare led to unregulated exchanges of peoples and economic growth (from the sale of loot and slaves, where local Tang commanders could frequently be complicit in banditry and the unauthorized activities of their soldiers) that broke down the ethnocultural boundaries the state sought to impose.105 The court usually blamed the frequent rebellions in frontier regions, some ethnically motivated, on poor leadership and official corruption that led to the exploitation of the non-Han peoples and ultimately goaded them to violence.106 Only in rare instances were interethnic tensions endemic to frontier society—such as the exploita-

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tion of the natives’ labor and natural resources by Han settlers, and other local internal dynamics—much less Tang imperial ideology, invoked by the Tang sources as the source of organized violence.107 The Roman Republic shared similar attitudes and practices, justifying its “beneficent imperialist” self-image by prosecuting corrupt governors.108 The Tang state, led by sinocentric court elites, preferred to see itself and its local agents as the sole actor and the local population as passive and reactive—thus willing to respond to low-cost efforts at suasion by virtuous local officials109—rather than admit the extent to which the maintenance of ethnic and other boundaries was beyond its control. In fact, however, strong local power bases in remote regions often led to regional political stratification along ethnic lines, with certain ethnic groups controlling others, in contravention of the state’s desire to regulate power relationships via bureaucratized hierarchies based on court-bestowed ranks. Following the early decades of the dynasty, especially after the An Lushan rebellion when military force was focused on dealing with autonomous regional warlords inside China proper, the Tang sought to establish closed and stable borders in a process similar to that described by Luttwak (in the context of the Roman Empire) as the final stage of the evolution of imperial frontiers. The Tang stressed such efforts on frontiers that bordered on rivals organized along lines similar to itself: Tibet in the west and Nanzhao in the southwest. In the numerous treaties that were signed between the Tang and these two states, the three governments sought to create peaceful frontiers through prisoner exchanges and other measures reducing border conflict and building mutual trust. The states enhanced border controls and separated hostile ethnic groups to limit friction and also prevent espionage. Indeed, the Tang law codes, formulated earlier in the dynasty, already revealed intense concern over spies and sensitivity to the role of shifting ethnic identities and loyalties in spying.110 Concerns over security resulted in evaluations of ethnic groups in frontier zones based as much on political loyalty as on ethnographic considerations of culture, economy, or society. The first criterion often played a decisive role in distinguishing between “cooked” (i.e., amenable to cultural suasion and ultimately political direction by the state) and “raw” non-Han in debates over which non-Han peoples ought to be included in the empire. The most detailed taxonomies and descriptions of frontier regions reveal a constant tension between the two main variables—cultural development (i.e., “civilization”) and political loyalty—due to their frequent lack of correlation. This incongruence was particularly glaring in the southwest, where Nanzhao and some of its tribal allies were at a distinctly higher stage of social and

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cultural organization than many of the frontier peoples that served the Tang. The disjuncture between political allegiance and cultural characteristics of non-Han groups became particularly acute in cases of political conquest or strong political intervention from outside the frontier zone. In some instances, ethnic and cultural change in the direction of the new hegemonic force was effected, as in the transmission of religious observances from the Central Plain to Dunhuang.111 In other cases, however, resulting threats to ethnic identity led to the elevation of boundary markers that did not challenge the new political order, such as the persistence of ritual observances, and thus ethnic identity, among Han in the northwest following their subjugation to Tibet in the latter half of the eighth century.112 Despite, or perhaps because of, frequent condemnations of acculturation and assimilation to non-Han and non-Chinese norms, Tang elites envisioned themselves as resistant to such pressures and valorized behavior like that of the Han under Tibetan rule. Tang literary discourse on the archetypal figures of ethnic Han male and female captivity in Inner Asia—General Li Ling and the palace lady Wang Zhaojun, both from the first century B.C.E.—focused on their longing for the Chinese homeland and their distaste with their barbarian surroundings, reassuring elite audiences of the cultural superiority and emotional ties that were the foundations of their Han and Chinese identities.113 Another possibility on the frontier was the creation of new ethnic and political identities and loyalties to local power holders, such as An Lushan’s creation within his frontier armies of a distinctive identity and culture mainly drawing on non-Han influences.

The State and Ethnocultural Change The Tang emperors, despite their own “barbarian” activities, such as hunting and polo114 (regarding which they would occasionally tolerate officials’ Confucian criticisms), devoted attention and effort to culturally transforming the “peripheral peoples” (Han and non-Han) of the empire. The dual processes of sinicization and civilization had largely identical methods, goals, and results, differing only in the perceived ethnicity of the target. When the objects of transformation were non-Han, the goal would be expressed in terms of getting them to “employ a Chinese style” (xi huafeng) or follow “Chinese customs” (zhonghua fengsu), equating Chineseness (zhonghua, huaxia, hua), and implicitly Hanness, with the metropolitan high-culture norms being inculcated. When the targets were considered ethnically Han, through descent and geography, but culturally falling short of imperial standards largely defined by Con-

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fucian norms—Hisayuki Miyakawa refers to the process as “Confucianization”—though with considerable influence from Buddhist and Daoist institutions, the court and its officials used terms like “educate and transform” (jiaohua) that lacked ethnic implications and implied universality.115 While distinctions in customs were dependent on environmental influences and were marked to a great extent by geographic borders, there was also a strong perception that customs could vary according to politically and militarily determined fault lines. The second-century official Cai Yong wrote, “The Qin built the Great Wall and the Han erected fortifications, thereby separating the differing customs [su] of outer and inner.”116 This formulation was repeated over the centuries. Its natural corollary was that customs could change depending upon changes in the political situation, particularly changes in the ethnic and cultural identity of the rulers. Sinicizing and civilizing entailed a range of processes. Economically, sedentarization, urbanization, and the growth of agriculture and manufacturing were promoted, particularly when they enhanced taxation. Culturally, the state and literati elites who were at the forefront of these efforts saw moral education and ritual—the institution of proper rites of marriage and capping (the Confucian ceremony of manhood), and the regular celebrations of ancestral sacrifices—as the keys, though they did not dismiss material culture.117 This emphasis accorded with the Confucian ideal of top-down transmission of culture to transform hearts and minds, as opposed to Legalist enforcement of outer obedience using socioeconomic incentives and punishment. The stereotypical civilizing or sinicizing figure in the Tang sources is the literati magistrate sent from the capital who transforms the rude denizens of a backwater by establishing schools, instructing the locals how to farm, weave, and build houses, and guiding them morally through his model behavior. Wang Yifang, an early Tang Han chauvinist who questioned the literary abilities of officials with non-Han surnames and ancestry and was demoted to a post in southern China, had native chieftains attend his lectures on Confucian classics and performances of Confucian rituals.118 There are also many cases of militarysponsored “civilizing” on the frontier, often to promote weaving and other activities that logistically supported frontier garrisons, a pattern of frontier economic development being driven by the local military’s needs that also occurred in the Roman Empire.119 Buddhist (and probably some Daoist) institutions were also instrumental in raising literacy rates among the middle and lower classes and played an active role in establishing Chinese social norms and religious orthodoxy among non-Han peoples. The Tang state’s best-known sinicizing and civilizing institutions

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were academies established in the capitals and major cities to educate the children of Tang and foreign elites.120 Many of the former were students of non-Han ancestry who, with the authorities’ assent, aimed to assimilate further and climb socially by acquiring prestigious Confucian learning and thence gaining office, the avowed purpose of the academies. Some of the foreigners who attended these schools were royalty sent to the court as hostages.121 The Tang court educated them and appointed them to court positions, hoping that they would eventually return to their native lands to assume power as Tang puppets or at least sympathizers. Many foreign students also came voluntarily, most from the relatively “civilized” states of Japan and the Korean peninsula.122 A number reached important positions in Tang society and officialdom, some even achieving the Tang equivalent of citizenship and almost completely assimilating to Tang society. There are some similarities between the Tang acceptance of foreign bureaucrats acculturated to Chinese norms through the academies and the Muslim oikoumene of Ibn Battuta’s time where experts skilled in Islamic statecraft found employment from North Africa to Southeast Asia. However, non-Han of foreign origins who succeeded in the Tang civilian bureaucracy were a tiny minority and only gained legitimacy through education in the Chinese heartland. The Tang state’s admission of foreign students was done both out of idealistic notions and to smooth its international relations, with occasional ancillary benefits to the home society when skilled foreigners stayed to work in China. According to Confucian notions of kingship, the emperor, as the Son of Heaven, demonstrated his moral virtue by attracting worthy men into his service. Therefore, the training of foreign scholars and their subsequent service as officials—many of whom left works praising the cultural attractions of China—legitimized the dynasty in the eyes of Han elites. Furthermore, Tang rulers and elites were quite concerned about what foreigners thought of China. Far from dismissing foreigners’ opinions, they were eager to cultivate positive attitudes of admiration and awe both out of pride and out of a pragmatic assessment that signs of weakness invited attack or exploitation.123 Just as the Tang state and elites saw ethnic and cultural change by the generic non-Han (as opposed to those valued by the dynasty for their skills associated with their particular type of non-Hannness) toward metropolitan norms as desirable, they generally viewed change in other directions in a negative light. These changes, which later scholars have referred to as “barbarization,” consisted mainly of acculturation by Han to cultural behaviors and material culture that were perceived as markers of non-Han ethnicity, such as marriage rites and clothing.124 Such ac-

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culturation was actively condemned when engaged in by Han.125 The perpetuation of non-Han cultural practices by non-Han inhabitants, however, even those who were acknowledged as citizens (baixing) or subjects (chen) of the empire, was largely overlooked in silence. In a limited number of cases, the court voiced its support. This was ideologically justified by the separatist argument that each ethnic group’s own customs were ideally adapted to that group. However, such deliberate gestures by the state were usually intended to justify temporary policies or were gestures with clear political motivations, such as the encouragement in the early Tang of Inner Asian steppe burial rites for a former Eastern Türk qaghan, who had previously submitted to the court, in order to placate lingering resentments among the qaghan’s defeated followers and to demonstrate Emperor Taizong’s legitimacy as the Heavenly Qaghan of Inner Asia. In general, changes in material culture or behavior that suggested a breakdown in ethnic boundaries, in whatever direction, were often perceived by the state as threatening when such boundary crossing posed a danger to social stability or public security.126 Such perceptions were often highly contextual. Thus, when non-Han wore Chinese clothing on the frontier, this was viewed as a positive development indicating the progress of sinicization. However, when non-Han wore Chinese clothing in Chang’an, the state and Han elites perceived this development as a threat, as it allowed undesirable non-Han elements to escape detection and remain in the capital. By and large, while the Tang sources regularly display great confidence in the staying power and attractions of Chinese culture and, implicitly, Han ethnic identity, they also paint a picture of anxiety with regard to the perceived acculturation of Tang society, particularly by the literate elite and the court (who also produced the greatest criticisms of this trend), to non-Chinese norms through various cultural traits, particularly the use of ethnically non-Han clothing and hairstyles. Yet, this attitude clearly conflicts with the overall popularity of much of non-Chinese culture, suggesting that the Tang populace as a whole willingly adopted it. Tang ethnic discourse on culture more than any other ethnic theme thus reveals the extent to which this discourse was fundamentally an elite discourse, concerned not only with defining Chineseness and Hanness writ large to preserve the empire and fulfill the Confucian mission of civilization, but also in many cases with carving out social and cultural distinctions that would preserve the exclusivity of the gentry in the face of upward mobility. In fact, condemning palace women and even the royal family (such as the attacks on Crown Prince Chengqian) for encouraging “barbarization” suited the elitist pretensions

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of a segment of the literati that still considered the Li clan to be frontier bumpkins. Thus, while cultural themes received perhaps the greatest degree of attention of any type of ethnic discourse over the course of the dynasty, the cultural and ethnic boundaries it sought to establish were the most often contested and arguably the most often ignored by other elites and the mass of commoners. Nevertheless, the construction of a selfconsciously Chinese framework within which various cultural traits were evaluated in terms of deportment, martiality, hierarchy, and other standards, took firm root in the Tang and was able to reach a high level of development among both elites and the general populace in subsequent periods. The Song dynasty witnessed an explosion of ritual texts, the emergence of strong clan organizations in parts of China, and the clear subordination of the military to civilian authority. This argues for a measure of success of Tang ethnic discourse in establishing cultural awareness and ethnic loyalty among Han, thereby guarding against unwanted acculturation and assimilation to non-Chinese and non-Han norms that were not so apparent during the Tang itself.

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One of the chief difficulties in studying the construction of ethnic difference in the Tang Empire is the absence of works in the Tang corpus that explicitly address ethnic and cultural identity at an abstract level, with the partial exception of the polemical discourse on the alien origins and nature of Buddhism examined in Chapter 3. While a consciousness of ethnic difference informed a wide range of Tang discourse, as the variety of sources cited in this book attests, ethnicity as such was neither the topic of any established genre of Chinese writing nor conceived of in a coherent fashion. Rather, Tang authors examined it piecemeal as it arose in the salient issues and existing literary genres of the day. Ethnicity per se was not so much consciously invoked as implicitly understood as a foundational element in the Tang worldview. Thus, the jigsaw puzzle of Tang sources reveal and discursively construct an underlying mental framework for ethnicity shared by Tang elites and much of the general populace that was rarely or never consciously expressed as a whole. Indeed, there are only two, relatively brief, Tang works entirely devoted to an exploration of the nature of Han and non-Han identities. Both works—“The Chinese heart” by Chen An and “Announcement on drawing the barbarians inward” by Cheng Yan—were composed by Han literate elites and date from the second half of the ninth century, the waning years of the Tang. Because of their late date and their unique position in the Tang corpus, the two works both sum up and, to a great extent, break with previous ethnic discourse.

The “Chinese Heart” and the Flowering of Han Self-Awareness Chen An1 wrote “The Chinese heart” (“Hua xin”)2 in the 850s or 860s in the guwen style popularized by Han Yu and Liu Zongyuan (773–819) in the early ninth century. Chen was born in and spent most of his life near Quanzhou, a major port city in Southeast China (known to Marco Polo as Zaytun more than four hundred years later). There Chen would have come into contact with many non-Han traders and may have had some connection to the West Asian community from which came the subject

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of his text. In both these works, the Sinitic term hua is used in almost all its possible senses—geographic, cultural, ethnic, and political—covering the semantic range that I have analytically broken down in this book between China, Chinese, and Han. The fluidity of hua in these two texts and the way in which the two works play with notions of cultural and ethnic identity makes a consistent use of the terms Chinese and Han impossible. Rather than use the clumsy locution “Han/Chinese” or some variation, I have chosen in many instances simply to use “Chinese,” though this term is freighted with both ethnic and cultural implications. Here is “The Chinese heart” in its entirety: At the beginning of the Dazhong reign period (847–860), the military governor of Daliang,3 the Duke of Fanyang,4 recommended the Dashi5 man Li Yansheng to the court. The emperor ordered the Ministry of Rites to put his talents to the test. He established his reputation by passing the Preferred Scholar [jinshi] exam in the second year of Dazhong. However, none of the candidates recommended in the normal fashion received an appointment. Someone said, “Daliang is a large metropolis and its governor is a great worthy. He was appointed by a Chinese [hua] ruler and relies on the Han people for his salary. Yet, when he recommends people, he seeks for talent among the barbarians [yi]. Does this mean that there is no Han worthy of praise? Should only barbarians be employed? I am extremely perplexed by the governor’s actions.” I would like to respond thus: The governor genuinely recommends talented persons and does not show favoritism. If one speaks in geographic terms, then there are Han and barbarians. If one speaks in cultural [jiao] terms, then are there not also Chinese and barbarians? Han and barbarians can only be distinguished by their hearts [xin]. One must examine their inclinations in order to distinguish the different types of hearts. If one is born in the central prefectures [zhongzhou] and one’s behavior violates propriety and righteousness, then one’s physical form is Han but one’s heart is that of a barbarian. If one is born in a barbarian region but one’s behavior conforms to propriety and justness, then one’s physical form is that of a barbarian but one’s heart is Chinese. When Lu Wan6 and Li Shaoqing7 rebelled, were they not barbarians? Did not Jin Midi’s8 loyalty make him Chinese? When you look at it this way, all depends on inclinations. Now, as for Li Yansheng, although he came from beyond the seas, he became known to the governor because of his command of the Way. The governor consequently was astounded and recommended him. This sort of action encourages the barbarians and causes all those who are illuminated by the sun and moon to conform to the transforming power of culture. We should consider his heart to be Chinese and not simply look at his geographic origins and consider him a barbarian. It is for this reason that I have written “The Chinese heart.”

“Announcement on drawing the barbarians inward” (“Nei yi xi”),9 by the otherwise virtually unknown Cheng Yan, probably dates to the late 890s. Like “The Chinese heart,” it is composed in the guwen style. The title is open to at least two readings. I interpret nei as a verb referring to the sinicization and hanicization of non-Han. However, nei can also be

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read as an adjective meaning “inside.” In this case, nei yi would mean “inner barbarians,” referring to those who, in the context of the entire work, are “outwardly” Han but have the hearts of non-Han. This latter reading makes the last sentence of the text more forceful in that it now directly targets “inner barbarians.” Here is a translation of the complete essay: There have long been diverse barbarian [siyi] peoples who have been multilingual and have come to China [zhonghua]. They admire the humanity, righteousness, loyalty, and honesty of China. Although their origins lie in alien regions, they are able speedily to direct their hearts toward China [hua]. Therefore, I don’t refer to them as barbarians [yi]. There are people of the Central Kingdom who have long stubbornly resisted kingly transformation. They have forgotten humanity, righteousness, loyalty, and honesty. Although their origins are in China, their hearts skulk among the barbarians. Therefore, I don’t refer to them as Chinese. They have not been banished to the barbarians by the state. Rather, they themselves are responsible for their hearts wallowing in iniquity. Should we not then stop referring to people as Chinese just because they are named Chinese, and stop referring to people as barbarian just because they are named barbarian? There are people who are named Chinese but who have barbarian hearts. There are people who are named barbarians but who have Chinese hearts. The former, who, though living in the Central Kingdom, have knowingly abandoned humanity, righteousness, loyalty, and honesty, are none other than barbarians of the Central Kingdom. There is no need for the barbarians to invade us. Those who disobey the orders of the Central Kingdom, who arrogantly act without authorization and do not accept royal authority, and who discard humanity, righteousness, loyalty, and honesty, are incompatible with social norms. How can they not be barbarians of the Central Kingdom? Those of the barbarians who look inward and admire China, who delight in our humanity, righteousness, loyalty, and honesty, and who desire to be part of human society, how can they not be the Chinese of the barbarians? Mark my words. There are those called barbarians who are not barbarians. Then, there are people with the name of Chinese who fail to measure up to those called barbarians.

The two essays’ understanding of Chineseness is consistent with that of educated elites from the mid- and late Tang, as they identify a certain set of behaviors as being inherently civilized, and, therefore, culturally Chinese (hua). However, in contrast to the Northern and Southern Dynasties, when ancestry and kinship played a crucial role in determining and expressing ethnic identity, and the earlier part of the Tang, where social status and objective cultural attributes were the chief markers of ethnic identity, both of these late Tang works use abstract cultural values and, ultimately, political loyalties to demarcate the line between the Han/Chinese Self and the non-Han/non-Chinese Other. That is, they decisively challenge the equation of Chinese with Han and of non-Han with non-Chinese or “barbarian.” Indeed, while the two pieces invoke

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the four major themes of ethnic difference—geographic and ancestral origins, physical form, culture, and political behavior—neatly encapsulating Tang ethnic discourse, they paradoxically make the strongest statement in the Tang sources for distinguishing between Self and Other through the cultural opposition between Chineseness and nonChineseness by transcending strictly ethnic differences. Granted, Han polities going back to the pre-imperial period had on occasion labeled hostile political entities that were ethnically indistinguishable from them as ethnically or culturally Other, but this tactic was a narrow rhetorical device of self-legitimation rather than a coherent ideological argument about the nature of ethnic and cultural definition of the Self.10 By arguing for a non-ethnic definition of Self and Other but using the vehicle of ethnicized discourse to do so, the two works establish a new benchmark for conceptualizing the notion of China itself that undergirded the decisive shift to the increased boundedness of China in the Song. While these essays can be read as bolstering the traditional argument that Tang society treated cultural behavior as a far more significant marker of ethnic identity than other ethnic markers, they suggest something else entirely. The essays indicate that, in fact, the commonly accepted means in the Tang to distinguish non-Han from Han were geography, ancestry, cultural practices, and physical form. “The Chinese heart” is particularly explicit in this respect. However, the essays then argue for moving beyond these labels and names, implicitly invoking the Confucian universal imperative to “rectify names” (zhengming), that is, establish the proper relationship between names and the categories they denote. They establish a definition of Chineseness that is as much about identifying traitors to the nation from within as it is about incorporating ethnic non-Han from without, thereby refining and bringing into sharper focus the idea of China itself without fundamentally questioning the opposition between barbarism and Chineseness and the solidity of strict ethnic categories. Comparing Chen and Cheng’s attitude toward ethnic boundaries with Taizong’s statements more than two hundred years earlier about treating Han and non-Han as one, we can see the devolution of the confident moves toward ethnic pluralism in the early Tang to a weary acceptance in the late Tang of the need for non-Han allies while simultaneously shoring up the crumbling political situation with stricter definitions of the Chinese Self—particularly as they applied to political (i.e., protonationalistic) orientations—that were to carry over into the Song and later periods in the form of the greater boundedness of both Chinese and Han self-identities. Chen Yinke has argued that the guwen movement, of which our two authors seem to be a part, was intrinsically “antibarbarian” and that its followers, often unconsciously, adopted this pose.11

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However, these essays, at least, seem to argue for a more nuanced understanding, namely, that ethnicized guwen rhetoric of the period, though expressing concern about the various threats posed by non-Han to the Han body politic and ethnic, was at least as concerned with creating a coherent Chinese and Han Self that could in turn valorize and incorporate valued non-Han. Chen and Cheng both argue that ideal moral behavior is taught, not innate, and that one’s place of origin and physical appearance are not reliable indicators of whether or not one possesses moral values and is thus truly Chinese, as opposed to simply ethnically Han. The term jiao, translated in “The Chinese heart” as “cultural,” has the primary meaning, “to teach.” It often broadly connotes cultural methods of socializing and civilizing, as in the phrase jiaohua, “teaching and transforming,” used to describe the incorporation of peoples into the Chinese cultural oikoumene. Therefore, the dichotomy of geography versus culture proposed by Chen is one not only of physical versus mental environments but, more important, also of inherited versus learned traits. Indeed, as discussed previously, the Han were very familiar with the issue of nature versus nurture. Most thinkers through the Tang considered nature (xing) and culture to be equally essential ingredients in determining thought and behavior, while only a few, notably the Han dynasty’s Wang Chong, viewed heredity and the physical environment as decisive.12 Cheng further distinguishes geography from cultural and ethnic identity by distinguishing between the geographic and political term zhongguo, translated here as “Central Kingdom,” and the ethnocultural term hua, which can be translated as China, Chinese, or Han. The behavioral norms promoted by Chen and Cheng as “Chinese” are initially delimited using the traditional attributes of the Confucian gentleman, the junzi. These attributes of the moral exemplar were established in Chinese discourse at least as early as the period between the fifth and third centuries b.c.e., the date of composition of the earliest known Confucian classics, and were enshrined by educated Han elites as universal ideals. Chen An’s “propriety and justness” and Cheng Yan’s “humanity, righteousness, loyalty, and honesty” simultaneously functioned in the ninth century as rhetorical clichés and the core ideals of the Tang educated elites that were disseminated throughout society as “Chinese” norms of thought and behavior. Furthermore, Chen and Cheng’s use of the guwen style and Chen’s reference to the Way (Dao) identifies them as likely intellectual inheritors of Han Yu, who, as I discussed in Chapter 3, was ahead of his time in his strident attempts to define boundaries between Han and non-Han, Chinese and non-Chinese. Their language and ideas also associate them with early strains of neo-Confucianism, the dominant stream of intellectual thought in the latter half of the Song

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and a cornerstone for defining Han ethnic and Chinese cultural identity in the Song and subsequent periods. The two essays, which probably represented the views of growing numbers of literate elites of the late Tang, claim that individuals who lacked the geographic origins, ancestry, and physical characteristics of the ethnic Han could lay claim to a Chinese “heart” if they adopted the Confucian package combining personal morality (humanity, righteousness) and propriety. The “heart” (xin), which could also be translated as “mind,” whether Chinese or barbarian, seems to come very close to the notion not only of a worldview or psychology but also of identity itself, where identity has been conflated with individual learned behavior, idealized though it may be, rather than inherited attributes.13 In this sense, the two works seem to support the arguments of Chen Yinke and other modern scholars that cultural considerations were fundamental to identity, but the immediate historical context of the essays—the growing political and social threats to the elite literati classes’ power and unity—and their recognition of continued fundamental ethnic differences suggests rather that political imperatives had forced the elite social classes to highlight ethnic oppositions in order to solidify a Chinese self-identity that went beyond ethnic boundaries to embody “universal” values. The essays also reflect concerns that did not exist in the first half of the Tang, when the absorption and assimilation of unsinicized nonHan mostly took place outside the “Central Kingdom,” China proper (i.e., the Nine Provinces). More important, Tang elites in the earlier period could look from the vantage point of military superiority (following Taizong’s defeat of the Eastern Türks) and recent experience of ethnically non-Han but sinicized political power (under the Northern Zhou) with relative equanimity upon non-Han who showed relatively little inclination to sinicize or hanicize and not fear that their mere existence threatened the state and Chineseness. This confidence was entirely lacking during the increasingly chaotic final decades of the Tang. The concept of a “barbarian heart” was not new to the second half of the ninth century, though the term itself does not appear in official or court-centered texts.14 The eponymous narrator of a late eighth- or early ninth-century story, “The old man from the eastern district,” bemoaned the growing influence of non-Han peoples and mores in Chang’an: “These days the northern barbarians have settled here and there in the capital region. They take [Han] wives and have children. In Chang’an the young men have barbarian hearts.”15 He goes on to describe changes in clothing styles toward Inner Asian models among the younger generation. Thus, the “barbarian heart” in that period referred to the underlying psychological and behavioral changes that were associated with cultural tastes (for clothing), inherited traits (from their mixed parent-

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age), and, implicitly, rowdy and crude behavior associated with the northern frontier. Although he does not explicitly question the Han identity of Chang’an youth, the implicit threat that “barbarization,” acculturation to non-Chinese norms, posed to the political and cultural security and thus the overall integrity of the Han people was a constant concern of the state and most Tang elites. Indeed, the sources of nonHan population and non-Han cultural influences in Chang’an during this period were extremely varied, including Uighurs, Sogdians, and Tibetans from areas to the northeast, northwest, and west of the capital.16 However, these concerns were most often expressed in political terms, befitting the state-centered nature of most surviving discourse, as in the association in most Han court-centered elites minds of Northeast China’s defiant autonomy following the An Lushan rebellion with its adoption of non-Chinese customs.17 We also find “barbarian heart” appearing a century earlier in a passage from the 711 epitaph of the Persian immigrant Aluohan: “He was also selected to serve as the acting Pacifying Commissioner18 to all the barbarians [fan] in Fulin (the Byzantine Empire), and he erected a stele on the western border of Fulin that still stands there proudly. He disseminated and transmitted the sagely teachings; they truly appealed to the non-Han heart [fanxin].”19 In this case, then, “heart” refers to a people’s religious inclinations or public opinion. Aluohan’s epitaph appears to adopt a Han-centered approach to describing ethnic difference by using loaded terms like fan, with its fairly strong connotations here and elsewhere of “barbarian.” The epitaph’s contents, doubtless strongly constrained by the conventions of traditional Sinitic funerary epigraphy and probably composed by a Han literatus, cannot be assumed to transparently reflect Aluohan’s self-image. Nevertheless, given Aluohan’s position within Tang society, the epitaph in all likelihood accurately reflects the deceased’s view of non-Han peoples who were unrelated to his own ethnic group, particularly those outside the Tang Empire or of a lower social status than himself, as only so many “barbarians.” Aluohan was a former Persian aristocrat who became an important leader of the non-Han community in Chang’an, as demonstrated by his leading role in the construction of a massive “celestial pillar” funded by the capital’s foreign community and presented to Empress Wu in 695.20 He received offices and titles commensurate with his position as a nonHan local leader who served as a middleman between his community and the state but did not formally join the Tang bureaucracy. Like Vajrabodhi, Aluohan was not ashamed of his non-Han ethnicity. Indeed, most of his honors and achievements were the direct results of his status within non-Han society, paralleling the experience of many others—fanjiang, entertainers, common soldiers, grooms, and so on—whose place

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in Tang society depended on their non-Han identities and their ability to negotiate both Han and non-Han communities. However, his prestige within Tang society also rested, in life and death, on distancing himself from the mass of “barbarians.” Thus, his epitaph engages in the same kind of ethnic ranking and taxonomizing, placing Aluohan’s Persian identity in a privileged position, as Buddhist hagiography did with the Indian monk Vajrabodhi. The usages of “barbarian heart” that predate the ninth-century essays of Chen An and Cheng Yan thus did not focus on abstract notions of morality and loyalty as inculcated through education. Rather, they saw non-Han nature and identity manifested in objectively observable cultural markers and innate responses. They indicated the widespread though implicit view that the relationship between ethnic identity and cultural practice was largely static: ethnic groups, guided by their innate “hearts,” naturally engaged in certain behaviors and customs. In contrast, the works by Chen and Cheng, which belonged to the genre of essays on contemporary events that demanded argumentation and the assertion of a scale of normative and deviant behaviors, were already predisposed to a self-conscious approach to the question of Chineseness and the cultural Other and naturally challenged the static view. In this, too, their model appears to be the essays of Han Yu detailed in Chapter 3, particularly “The original Way.” Neither essay claims that the cultivation of a Chinese heart effaced accepted criteria of ethnicity such as place of origin or indicia such as appearance. Li Yansheng, regardless of his education and attainments, was, to his defenders and detractors both, still a man from Dashi, from “across the seas,” even though it is likely that he was born and raised in China and possible that his family had lived there for generations. Cheng’s unnamed non-Han with Chinese hearts were likewise still non-Han by virtue of criteria similar to those specified by Chen. To a large extent, the new approach at the end of the Tang to distinguish between being objectively non-Han and subjectively non-Chinese can be understood in terms of a reformulation of the classic trope of nonHan as having “faces of men and hearts of beasts.” That is, in the final decades of the dynasty emerged a greater concern with cultivating certain non-Han—those with faces of barbarians and hearts of Han— who were seen as sympathetic to the goals of the Tang elites, while tightening the definition of Chineseness to exclude perceived Han traitors (traitorous in many cases because of their alleged barbarization)—those with faces of Han and hearts of barbarians. Thus, in the face of political, social, and cultural crises, both “objective” ethnic criteria and subjective ethnic and cultural indicia, and the relationship between the two, came under increasing scrutiny in the attempt by

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elites to define a more coherent Self in the face of a variety of threatening Others. In actuality, the ostensibly objective ethnic criteria of ancestry and homeland were as open to manipulation and false claims as any cultural or behavioral indicia, as discussed in Chapter 6, but the various forms of discourse examined in previous chapters largely left the former category unquestioned. While indicia such as political loyalty continued to function as ethnic markers in the late Tang, in the context of the existing political conditions they became, in a sense, the true criteria of identity. Identification with the state had become charged with ambiguity and increasingly subject to challenge, so related criteria and indicia were scrutinized and debated at an unprecedented level, overwhelming or incorporating ethnic and cultural criteria and indicia. Claims of identity, whether made on one’s own behalf or imposed upon others, were at least as dependent on context as they were on any inculcated identities and inherited markers. Though this state of affairs may have always obtained to some degree, it became much more important in the succession of challenges that beset the Tang following the An Lushan rebellion, particularly in the final decades of the dynasty. Just as the Persian invasions of the fifth century B.C.E. were the turning point for the formation of Greek identity,21 so the crises of the mid and late-Tang, where Han elites perceived the chief sources of the threat to be nonHan, were critical not only in the evolving construction of ethnic difference but also in the formation of the Han Self. The belief that non-Han, acknowledged as the ethnic Other even while living in China, could possess a Chinese ethos superior to some or even many Han was a new development in the late Tang. Granted, Sinitic texts had envisioned idealized non-Han states loosely modeled on Confucian principles since at least the Han dynasty, and selected nonHan individuals of the past, such as Jin Midi, were held up as models of behavior, while non-Han contemporaries were praised for exhibiting normative Chinese behavior. For example, Emperor Taizong highly praised the Tibetan minister Mgar ston rtsan for declining the emperor’s offer of an imperial princess to be his wife on the grounds that the Tibetan king had not yet received his own Chinese princess bride (showing loyalty to his ruler) and that Mgar ston rtsan’s own Tibetan wife had been betrothed to him by his parents (showing filiality).22 However, these ideal states, discussed in Chapter 5, were constructed in remote spaces and were no more real than Western utopias. Similarly, model non-Han were viewed either as freakish exceptions, flawed in other respects, or as honorary Han who had been subject to the transformative power of Chinese culture. What is new in the two essays is the explicit argument that non-Han

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“barbarians” could still be non-Han but be superior to Han because they were better Chinese. Furthermore, while Chen An retains some of the exceptionalism common to previous discourse on idealized non-Han personages by focusing on the single figure of Li Yansheng, Cheng Yan treats the phenomenon of the “Chinese” barbarian as a general one. More important, both contrast the “Chinese” barbarian with the failed Han, the Han who is not fully Chinese. The message regarding the content of Han ethnic identity and the importance, but also the limitations, of defining it relative to Chineseness is profound and far-reaching. On the one hand, Chen and Cheng argue that one can be Han or non-Han regardless of one’s ethos, one’s behavior, or one’s morality. On the other hand, they maintain that non-Han can make powerful claims to “Chineseness” through their own actions and attitudes, often highlighted by the failure of the state’s policies of pacification and transformation of both Han and non-Han populations. In doing so, the notions of Chineseness, Hanness, and China itself are highlighted and defined. Though there are many similarities between the two pieces, their differences are equally revealing. In particular, “Announcement on drawing the barbarians inward” makes loyalty to the Chinese state—represented by the “Central Kingdom” and divorced from any specific ethnic or cultural identity—the crux of the Sino-barbarian divide. The core of Cheng’s thesis in “Announcement” is that all who are loyalists are, rhetorically speaking, Chinese, and all those who are rebels or traitors are non-Chinese barbarians. Although the earlier “The Chinese heart” does cite examples of political loyalty and disloyalty—a nonHan loyalist and two Han rebels from the Han dynasty—to illustrate its thesis, the central argument is explicitly about culture and implicitly about genealogy, rather than about loyalty per se. Both “The Chinese heart” and “Announcement” recognize that nonHan who are loyal are still ethnically non-Han, the latter explicitly constructing them as a special category of non-Han—“the Chinese of the barbarians”—mixing together cultural and ethnic identity. “Announcement,” however, does not address issues of assimilation, cultural or otherwise, as “The Chinese heart” does. Indeed, the former’s “Chinese of the barbarians” are not necessarily those, like Li Yansheng, who absorbed Chinese mores and culture and were the cultural, if not social, equals of the educated Han elites. They are simply those who “delight” in Chinese ways and who “desire” to be part of “human society.” In other words, they merely had to pay lip service to elite Chinese values while maintaining their loyalty to the throne, rather than necessarily engaging in a high degree of sinicization (which in many cases would have reduced their value as defenders of the Chinese state). “Announcement” focus on loyalty is intimately tied to the political

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events of its era. The immediate context of the essay was almost certainly the Tang court’s controversial use of Li Keyong as its principal military support. Li was ethnically a Shatuo Türk and heir to a military family that had served the Tang on the northern political and cultural edges of the empire for several generations.23 Due to his military and political skills, as well as the strength of his tribal following, he was able to assemble a multi-ethnic army that fought effectively against local bandits, large-scale uprisings, and autonomous warlords, particularly the rebellious Han general Zhu Wen. It was probably Zhu whom Cheng Yan had in mind as the archetypal “barbarian of the Central Kingdom.” Li himself maintained a prickly independence vis-à-vis the Tang court. This autonomy, combined with his often-boorish behavior and unconcealed disdain for the educated Chinese civilian elite, as well his non-Han ethnicity, made him the object of suspicion and occasional attacks by court officials. In one memorial, Li complained to the throne of poor treatment, particularly the constant labeling of him and his family as “barbarians.”24 The Uighur fanjiang Pugu Huai’en had voiced similar complaints over a century earlier and, unlike Li Keyong, had ultimately revolted against the Tang.25 Cheng’s “Announcement” thus was not only a general statement on the nature of Chineseness, as discursively constructed by a member of the literate elite, but also specifically served as a defense of Li and a criticism of the knee-jerk cultural chauvinism still practiced by some, if not many, literati. Cheng implicitly acknowledged that non-Han who resembled Li were, in most respects—cultural, genealogical, and physical— “barbarians.” Yet, the sole criterion that mattered in this time of chaos and fragmentation was loyalty. For Cheng, loyalty ultimately superseded all other concerns and became the touchstone for distinguishing Self from Other.

Ethnicity and the Narrative of Chinese History The discursive construction of ethnic identity and ethnic difference in Tang China does not only have important implications for the understanding of Tang social, cultural, and intellectual history. More broadly, an examination of the many ways in which ethnicity was salient in Tang discourse and social action leads to tentative conclusions regarding the place of the Tang within Chinese history, particularly the history of the evolving notion of China itself.26 Oppositions between Han and non-Han ethnicity and between Chinese and non-Chinese culture were central to the creation of the unified Chinese geopolity as a functioning state and as an ideal that bound the unified state together and spurred its reestablishment during periods of

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division (which became progressively shorter over time). In the Tang, probably more than any other period of Chinese history, these oppositions depended on the discursive construction and social reification of all the themes of ethnicity traced in this book—genealogy, culture, the body, and politics—and not simply on issues of culture and degrees of sinicization, as conventional wisdom regarding the Tang would have it. While the relationship between Chinese culture and Han ethnicity has always been complex and contingent, it was never more so than in the Tang, when the metropolitan elites who were the major purveyors and definers of Chinese culture were plagued by challenges from within and without, perceived and real, to their own cultural and ethnic homogeneity and dominance. Ethnic anxiety and conflict played out as much in cultural and social realms as it did in the more studied political and military realms, underscoring the importance of ethnic difference as a frame for understanding a range of discursive phenomena, social developments, and political actions in the Tang. The Tang is also noteworthy in the sweep of Chinese history for the relative multiplicity of voices present in the criticisms, expressions, and definitions of ethnic difference that infused all modes of discourse. Within the common stereotypical frameworks and oppositions that informed both elite and popular understandings of ethnicity, individuals were able to assert themselves to achieve very different goals and establish innumerable shades of identity. The ambiguity of ethnic boundaries, which created anxiety among literate elites but presented opportunities to the state and a whole range of social, cultural, political, and ethnic actors, was also at its peak in the Tang, at least in comparison to other self-defined ethnically Han dynasties in Chinese history. This ambiguity contributed to the salience of ethnicity throughout the period in the wide range of discursive genres and subjects discussed in this book. The Tang conjuncture of unprecedented power and unity within the framework of the cultural and geopolitical entity of China (implicitly identified with the Han ethnic group), a heightened consciousness of the Chinese/non-Chinese opposition, and the extraordinary salience of both the boundedness and ambiguity of ethnicity, I would argue, made this period the key turning point in the emergence of a unified ethnocultural China, both as a reality and as an ideal. Earlier scholars have argued convincingly that the Tang marked the transition between China’s medieval and early modern period in economic, social, and cultural terms. We ought now to add to the significance of the period the key shift in the nature of China and Chineseness, a shift from a model of ethnic pluralism and cultural imperialism that characterized many premodern empires (e.g., Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman) to a model of eth-

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nic and cultural exclusivity that was the hallmark of the protonationalist sentiment that infused the literati of the Song dynasty and laid the groundwork for the emergence of the modern Chinese nation. This shift was far from absolute in the Tang, but if we weigh the two trends, particularly as expressed in the discourse and social actions of elites and the state, the balance seems to have irrevocably tipped from one to the other during the course of the dynasty. The Tang was thus not simply a period of “great China” but an epoch that provided the foundation for modern Chinese to conceive of a China, great or otherwise.

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Appendix A

Chinese Dynasties

Dynastic/Period Name Sage-kings Xia Shang Zhou Qin Western Han Xin interregnum Eastern Han Three Kingdoms Western Jin Eastern Jin (South China) Sixteen Kingdoms (North China) Former Zhao Cheng Han Later Zhao Former Liang Former Yan Former Qin Later Yan Later Qin Later Liang Southern Liang Northern Liang Southern Yan Western Liang Xia Northern Yan

Ethnicity of Royal Clan Han? Han? Han? Han? Han Han Han Han Han Han Han

Dates 26th–22nd c. B.C.E.* 21st–16th c. B.C.E.* 16th–11th c. B.C.E.* c. 1045–256 B.C.E. 221–207 B.C.E. 206 B.C.E.–25 C.E. 9–23 25–220 220–280 265–317 317–420

Xiongnu Di Jie Han Xianbei Di Xianbei Qiang Di Xianbei Xiongnu Xianbei Han Xiongnu Han

304–329 304–347 319–351 314–376 349–370 351–394 384–409 384–417 386–403 397–414 401–439 400–410 400–421 407–431 409–439

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Appendix A

Dynastic/Period Name Southern Dynasties (South China) (Liu) Song Qi Liang Chen Northern Dynasties (North China) Northern Wei Eastern Wei Western Wei Northern Qi Northern Zhou Sui Tang Zhou interregnum Five Dynasties (North China) Later Liang Later Tang Later Jin Later Han Later Zhou Ten Kingdoms (South China) Northern Song Southern Song (South China) Liao (North China) Jin (North China) Yuan Ming Qing Republic of China People’s Republic of China *Traditional dating

Ethnicity of Royal Clan

Dates

Han Han Han Han

420–479 479–502 502–557 557–589

Xianbei Xianbei Xianbei Xianbei Xianbei Han Han Han

386–534 534–550 535–556 550–577 557–581 581–618 618–907 690–705

Han Shatuo Türk Shatuo Türk Shatuo Türk Han Han Han Han Khitan Jurchen Mongol Han Manchu

907–923 923–936 936–947 947–950 951–960 902–979 960–1127 1127–1279 907–1125 1115–1234 1206–1368 1368–1644 1644–1911 1912– 1949–

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Appendix B

Sui and Tang Emperors

For the dates of the reigns and reign periods of the Tang dynasty, see Kroll 1987. All references in the text to Tang Xuanzong are to the emperor who reigned 712–756. Posthumous Name (Sui) Wendi Yangdi Gongdi (Tang) Gaozu Taizong Gaozong Zhongzong Ruizong (Zhou) Zetian Huanghou (Tang) Zhongzong Shaodi Ruizong Xuanzong Suzong Daizong Dezong Shunzong Xianzong Muzong Jingzong Wenzong Wuzong Xuanzong Yizong Xizong Zhaozong Aidi

Reign Dates 581–604 604–617 617–618 618–626 626–649 649–684 684 684–690 690–705 705–710 710 710–712 712–756 756–762 762–779 779–805 805 805–820 820–824 824–827 827–840 840–846 846–859 859–873 873–888 888–904 904–907

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Abbreviations

ALSSJ BJYJ BMSY BQ BS BSLT CFYG CGJ CHC 1 CHC 3 CQZZ CXJ CYQZ DGZJ DHSHJJ DHSSDZ DSXZ DTXY DTXYJ DYZB Ennin FDLH GHMJ GSB HCLQJ HHS HJAS HS HYDCD JJSL

An Lushan shiji Bo Juyi ji Beimeng suoyan Bilge Qaghan inscription (in Tekin 1968) Bei shi Bo shi liutie shileiji Cefu yuangui Changgu ji Cambridge History of China, volume 1 (ed. Twitchett and Loewe) Cambridge History of China, volume 3, part 1 (ed. Twitchett) Chunqiu Zuozhuan zhu Chu xue ji Chaoye qianzai Dongguan zou ji Dunhuang shehui jingji wenxian zhenji shilu Dunhuang shishi dizhi canjuan kaoshi Du shi xiangzhu Da Tang xin yu Da Tang Xiyu ji jiaozhu Duyang zabian Nit-Tô guhô junrei gyôki no kinkyû Ji gujin Fo-Dao lunheng Guang hong ming ji Xin jiao Tang guoshi bu Han Changli quanji Hou Han shu Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies Han shu Hanyu da cidian (ed. Luo Zhufeng) Sui-Tang Wudai jingji shiliao huibian jiaozhu

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Abbreviations

JTS JWDS KT LJ LTBQJ LY MS MYXF NHJG QTS QTW SGSZ SJ SJZ SS ST STJH T. To TD TDBS TDFZ TDHS TDZLJ TGSB THY TLD TLSY TPGJ TPYL TYL WS WYYH XSJC XTS YFSJ YHJXTZ YHXZ YQJYY YWLJ YYZZ ZGZY ZZTJ

Jiu Tang shu Jiu Wudai shi Kül Tegin inscription (in Tekin 1968) Li ji jijie Li Taibo quanji Lunyu jishi Man shu jiaozhu Mayi xiangfa Nanhai jigui neifa zhuan jiaozhu Quan Tang shi Quan Tang wen Song gaoseng zhuan Shi ji Shui jing zhu quanyi Sui shu Shi tong quan yi Sui-Tang jia hua Taishô shinshû daizôkyô Tonyuquq inscription (in Tekin 1968) Tong dian Tangdai biansai shi xuanzhu Dunhuang Tulufan Tangdai fazhi wenshu kaoshi Tang da heshang dongzheng zhuan Tang da zhaoling ji Tang guoshi bu Tang hui yao Tang liu dian Tang lü shuyi Taiping guang ji Taiping yulan Tang yu lin Wei shu Wenyuan yinghua Xiangshu jicheng Xin Tang shu Yuefu shi ji Yuanhe junxian tuzhi Yuanhe xingzuan Zhengxu yiqie jing yinyi Yiwen leiju Youyang zazu Zhenguan zhengyao Zizhi tongjian

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Notes

Introduction 1. Laris 1997. 2. Vajrabodhi (669–741) was a key propagator of Tantric (esoteric) Buddhism in China and was the teacher of Amoghavajra, the most influential Tantric monk of the Tang. 3. SGSZ 1, pp. 4–5. Unless otherwise indicated, all translations are the author’s. This story may be apocryphal, as there is no supporting evidence to indicate that such an edict was issued at this date. More complete historiographic and bibliographic discussions of this and subsequent citations can be found in Abramson 2001. 4. “Han” denotes individuals who were ethnically Han (sometimes referred to by other authors as ethnically Chinese or ethnically Han Chinese) in that they shared real and imagined ancestral ties stretching back many generations, shared myths and cultural practices common throughout the core regions of the Tang Empire, and were considered by themselves and outside observers (usually educated elites) to be Han. “Sinitic” refers to the totality of written and vernacular languages often referred to as Chinese. The vast majority of Tang sources are written in literary Sinitic, which is also referred to as classical Sinitic. See Chapter 1 for a more extensive discussion of terms used to denote ethnic, cultural, and linguistic identities. 5. It is virtually impossible to find genuine non-Han voices speaking as ethnic outsiders in the Sinitic sources. Their ostensible utterances are usually reported secondhand, often using well-established tropes for Han writing in the voice of non-Han, while their own writings, such as the poetry written by Japanese and Korean literati resident in China, are usually mediated by genre conventions and thus homogenous with comparable writings produced by Han authors. Occasional glimpses, however, are possible, such as in Amoghavajra’s remarks or in the memorial written by the non-Han general Pugu Huai’en protesting his loyalty (see Chapter 2). 6. ZZTJ 212, p. 6765. The name of Tibet in the Tang Sinitic sources is transcribed with Sinitic characters that some scholars read as Tufan and others as Tubo. 7. Su 1967, p. 597; Ren 1978, p. 51; Xie 1978, pp. 8–9; Chen 1980b, pp. 168–169. 8. This category of people and its individual members are loosely referred to

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in many of the Tang sources (including the legal codes) as shi, following the traditional division, dating back to the Confucian classics of the sixth to third centuries b.c.e., of free people into four classes: gentlemen (shi), farmers (min), artisans (gong), and merchants (shang). The status of shi was not legally well defined in the Tang. Though it was not congruent with holding office or official rank, it strongly correlated with office-holding families, and virtually all shi had at least to claim their goal to be state service (Yamane 1988, pp. 293–297). The shi largely sought to define themselves through genealogies and registers defining the relative prestige of clans and through endogamy. The state in general supported these efforts by creating a number of clan registers and encouraging those of the “same kind” (tonglei) to intermarry (TDZLJ 110, pp. 521–522). However, it also sought to discourage unduly elitist practices that excluded the imperial family and its supporters. Western scholars have referred to the shi as “literati,” “gentry,” or “Confucians,” though none of these terms works very well to describe the heterogeneous group. What they certainly shared was a degree of literacy and education and an appreciation of Chinese culture that they defined through a corpus of texts including but not limited to the Confucian classics. These texts conveyed historical myths, political and moral philosophy, and codes of behavior and ritual. For convenience, I shall refer to the shi as a whole as “literati elites,” “educated elites,” or some variation. For definitions of the shi, see Johnson 1977, pp. 5–17; Ebrey 1978, pp. 15–33; Holcombe 1986; Mao 1990; Bol 1992, pp. 32–48; Holcombe 1994, pp. 81–83. 9. For example, one member of the Tang elite referred to a native of southern China in these terms when discussing marriage (BMSY 6.99, p. 46). 10. Bosworth 1973. 11. Abramson 2001, chapter 6. 12. “Song Gao panguan congjun fu Hexu xu,” QTW 325, p. 1457. 13. Miao 1974; Chan 1978a, pp. 93–124; Chan 1978b; Owen 1996, pp. 459–477. 14. JTS 103, p. 3212. 15. Barth 1969, pp. 16–17; Salovesh 1978; Sarbaugh 1988; Chappell 1993, p. 271. 16. For culture and ethnicity generally, see Armstrong 1982, Barth 1969, Keyes 1981, Light 1981, Epstein 1978, Francis 1976, Royce 1982, Smith 1986, Tonkin 1989. 17. For the case of the Sogdians, see Cheng 1994a. 18. Ebrey 1978, pp. 4–7; Tanigawa 1985, pp. 31–32. 19. Pang 1996, p. 186. 20. Kohn 1995, pp. 161–162; Hihara 1978; Hihara 1984; cf. Ochi 1994. 21. Chen 1996, p. 381; cf. Hirokane 1984. 22. Chen 1980b, passim. 23. For the regional groupings of Tang elites, see Twitchett 1973. 24. See Mair 1989. 25. See Twitchett 1992 for the sources of these texts and the process of their compilation. Chapter 1. Ethnicity in the Chinese Context 1. There are at least two qualitative differences between modern and premodern historiography that influence the study of ethnicity. First, concepts such as industrialization, urbanization, capitalism, and nationalism that have been of

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paramount importance in the study of ethnicity in the modern period are irrelevant or of limited utility for the premodern period. Second, premodern historians lack the sources necessary to investigate the mental and material worlds of masses and individuals that inform research on modern ethnicity. 2. The work of scholars on ethnic identity in the ancient Mediterranean offers many parallels and insights, particularly Hall 1997 and Malkin 1998. 3. Proschan 2001; cit. Atwill 2003, p. 1101. 4. Smith 1986, p. 46. 5. Smith 1986, pp. 70–73. 6. Rawski 1998 and Crossley 1990 argue that ethnicity is anachronistic. Elliot 2001 and, implicitly, Atwill 2003 favor the use of ethnicity as an analytical tool. 7. For the origins and early usages of hu, see Chen 2005, pp. 19–102. Chen’s analysis of the term’s complex evolution and multiplicity of usages (political, ethnic, and territorial) up through the Han dynasty, particularly its application to many distinct ethnic groupings, is a useful caution against indiscriminately using textual references to reify specific ethnic identities. 8. For the concept of the barbarian, see Sinor 1957 and Meserve 1982. For a non-Han description of his own ancestry as “barbarian” (fanyi), see Peterson 1971, p. 436, n. 29. 9. For recent scholars’ use of Han and non-Han to designate ethnic groups prior to the emergence of modern conceptions of ethnicity in China around 1900, see Atwill 2003. 10. Chen 1998. 11. Honey 1988, pp. 419–420. 12. Boba 1967, pp. 15–17, 102–112; Pritsak 1981; Golden 1982b, pp. 89–90. 13. For an example, see Abramson 2001, p. 353, n. 171. 14. See Harrell 1995b and Brown 1996b. 15. Crossley 1990. 16. Wu 1991, p. 170. 17. Brown 1996a, p. 43. 18. Harrell 1996, p. 8. 19. Harrell 1995a. 20. Yao 1959; Wang 1982; Zhao 1994, p. 41. 21. Ebrey 1993. 22. Chen 1980a; Chen 1980b; Schafer 1990; Cohen 1991; Honey 1992. 23. Fan 1980; Cen 1982b; Tian 1996. 24. Chen 2005, pp. 267–321. 25. Wu 1989. 26. Honig 1992, pp. 11–16 and passim. 27. Seiwert 1987; Cohen 1991. 28. Malkin 1998. 29. Schermerhorn 1970, p. xiv; Keyes 1981. 30. Francis 1976, p. 8; cf. Keyes 1981, p. 9; Smith 1986, p. 230. 31. Patterson 1977, p. 10; Light 1981, p. 55. 32. Prakash 1990. 33. For a more extensive discussion of ethnicity, see Abramson 2001, pp. 30ff. 34. For jokes and insults, see Abramson 2001, pp. 75–125. 35. Crossley 1990. 36. Crossley 1990, p. 26. 37. Bentley 1993. 38. Lattimore 1940; Smith 1986, pp. 34ff.; Wolfram 1988.

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39. Chappell 1993, p. 267. 40. Fried 1975; Ferguson and Whitehead 1992. 41. De Vos 1975, p. 24. 42. Abramson 2001, pp. 293–355 passim. 43. QTW 223, pp. 996a–b; THY 34, p. 734. The practice in the southwestern city of Chengdu—witnessed by the author in 2003 and 2004—in the past several years of young people gathering in the center of town on Christmas Eve and pummeling each other with inflatable plastic bats may be an unconscious modern-day revival of the Cold Food Festival, with its wintertime carnival atmosphere and association with little understood foreign practices. 44. Germania 18–19 (see Tacitus 1970, pp. 116–118). 45. McMullen 1988. 46. Barth 1969. 47. Broom et al. 1967; Kozlov 1978; Yinger 1986, p. 31. 48. The Armenians present an excellent example. The boundaries that Armenians and non-Armenians have used to define the Armenian community, whether they stress law and religion (as in the case of the Ottoman Empire) or culture and genealogy (in the United States), have changed depending on numerous contingent factors, but the Armenian ethnic group has persisted, and the fundamental criteria for membership (descent) have hardly been altered. 49. The most important Tang work on the ethnic geography of the south, the History of the Man (Man shu), describes hundreds of tribal names/ethnonyms of the form of “x Man,” where x can be a place, color, name of the clan of the chief, or even a cultural feature associated with the particular group, such as the Naked Man (MS 4, p. 99). Here Man is, of course, a completely different word from the English “man.” 50. Van den Berghe 1981, p. 216; Padilla 1980b, p. 48; Berry 1980, p. 22. 51. Padilla 1980a; Padilla 1980b. 52. For the historiography of sinicization, see Abramson 2001, pp. 56–70. 53. For this schema of motives for acculturation, see Woolf 1998, p. 111. 54. Von Glahn 1987; Zhao 1994. 55. Zhou 1990. 56. Fang 1989, p. 434. 57. Lattimore 1940. 58. Von Glahn 1987, pp. 216–219. Chapter 2. The Ambiguity of the Non-Han 1. Berger and Luckmann 1966, p. 43; Royce 1982, pp. 158–159. 2. QTS 214, p. 2242. For a detailed examination of jokes and insults, see Abramson 2001, pp. 75–125. 3. Wang 1978, pp. 311–370; Liu and Zhou 1983, pp. 47–48. 4. Zhang 1987, pp. 118–119; Fang 1989. 5. Pritsak 1981, pp. 73–86. 6. Mair 1994, p. 631. 7. Ishida 1961. 8. “Lyric no. 3 on the girls of Yue” (“Yuenü ci wushou zhi san”), QTS 184, p. 1885; cit. Owen 1981, p. 130. 9. Ishida 1948, pp. 2–90 passim; Schafer 1963, pp. 50–57; Xie 1978, pp. 192–207; Xiang 1981, pp. 60–75; Fu and Fu 1989, pp. 132–184 passim.

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10. THY 32, p. 695. 11. ZZTJ 216, p. 6889. 12. “Traveling and hunting” (“Xingxing qie youlie bian”), LTBQJ 3, p. 181; cit. Sun 1982, pp. 80–81. 13. JTS 152, p. 4077. 14. Song 1987; Lai 1988; Arakawa 1992, especially pp. 47–56; Rui 1993; Cheng 1994a; Gao 1994; Cheng 1995; and Jie 1995. 15. ZZTJ 242, p. 7799. 16. JTS 37, p. 1377; THY 31, pp. 663–674 passim; TLD 4, pp. 117–119; TLSY 8.87, p. 177. For difficulties enforcing these laws, see JTS 91, p. 2939; TYL 8.1020, pp. 707–708. 17. JTS 93, pp. 2985–2990; XTS 111, pp. 4153–4156. 18. ZZTJ 212, p. 6741. 19. CQZZ, Fourth year of Duke Cheng, p. 818; cf. Legge 1991, p. 354. 20. JTS 109, pp. 3294–3295; XTS 110, pp. 4121–4122. 21. ZZTJ 201, pp. 6337–6338. 22. ZZTJ 226, p. 7280. 23. Mengzi zhushu 5B, p. 2705c; cf. Legge 1970, p. 251. 24. Reed 2000, p. 363. 25. For the early roots of the association in Chinese texts between the ethnic Other and animality, see Sterckx 2000, pp. 39–45. 26. White 1991, pp. 1–21 passim; Oinas 1993. 27. Eberhard 1942, 1968; Sage 1992; Kleeman 1998. 28. This saying first appears in the Book of rites (LJ 7, p. 183). The text of the Book of rites explains the saying by noting that it is improper to forget one’s roots and that a fox that faces its ancestral hill while dying demonstrates the valued quality of humaneness (ren). 29. JTS 104, p. 3213; cf. Pulleyblank 1955, p. 110. 30. CXJ 29.13, p. 717; TPGJ 447–455, pp. 3652–3719; YWLJ 99, pp. 1707–1708; Eberhard 1986, pp. 117–118. 31. Hammond 1987, pp. 230–234; Kang 1999. 32. White 1991, pp. 123–179. 33 Ögel 1971, pp. 40–50 and passim; Sinor 1982; White 1991, pp. 135–137; Tujue jishi, passim. 34. Eberhard 1968, pp. 461–466; White 1991, pp. 171–174; cf. Mair 1998. 35. XTS 107, p. 4072; cit. Maeda 1993, p. 66. 36. Li Zhuo, “Prose-poem on the palace ladies’ mounted acrobatics” (“Neiren maji fu”), QTW 536, p. 2412a. 37. Chapman 1993, p. 16. 38. Abramson 2003. 39. Rawson 1998, p. 28. 40. Abramson 2001, p. 386, n. 81. 41. Shaanxi Sheng Bowuguan et al. 1974a, pl. 14. 42. Han 1997, pls. 77–92; Shaanxi Sheng Bowuguan et al. 1974b, pls. 17, 18, 20. 43. XTS 125, p. 4400; QTW 255, pp. 1142a–b. 44. For the horse trade, see Zhang 1990, pp. 71–84; Ma and Wang 1995, pp. 157–170. 45. “Looking things over” (“Yu mu”), DSXZ 7, p. 602. 46. I purposely exclude the tradition, originating in China with the Warring States/Han descriptio mundi, the Classic of mountains and rivers (Shanhai jing), of

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fantastic descriptions of extremely distant or mythical foreign peoples, such as “dog men” and people with only one foot. 47. QTW 539, p. 2425c; JTS 138, p. 3782. 48. Dudbridge 1995; Campany 1996, especially pp. 365–394. 49. Elephants were believed to mourn for their dead, one of the most important signs of humanity in the Han worldview (CXJ 29.2, p. 699). 50. CXJ 26, p. 721. 51. LY 3, p. 85; Legge 1971, p. 148. 52. Spring 1993, pp. 107–108. 53. In Li Jingliang’s “Biography of Li Zhangwu,” a Central Asian monk identifies a bestowed jewel as coming from heaven (TPGJ 340, p. 2701). 54. Li Po, “Up into the clouds music” (“Shang yun yue”), LTBQJ 3, p. 205. 55. See the descriptions of the Han general Wang Jun (TPGJ 301, p. 2392; JTS 93, p. 2989) and the non-Han general Li Keyong (BMSY 17.269, p. 132). 56. Zheng 1998. 57. Campany 1996, p. 245. 58. Kang 1999; Abramson 2001, pp. 382–383. 59. For a typology of Tang tales about foxes, see Blauth 1996. 60. JTS 75, pp. 2642, 2648; JTS 78, pp. 2696–2697; QTW 144, pp. 640b–c; ZGZY 4.12, pp. 131–148; ZZTJ 196.10, pp. 6189–6192. 61. Chen 1996, pp. 385–388. 62. JTS 78, p. 2697. 63. Yang 1969. 64. ZGZY 8.34, p. 257; CHC 3, p. 143. 65. CYQZ 2, p. 23; CYQZ 5, p. 64. 66. THY 96, p. 2033. 67. JTS 199B, p. 5358. 68. Yuan Zhen (779–831), “Hypothetical judgment on the barbarian guest requesting fish” (“Feng fanke qiuyu pan”), QTW 653, p. 2938a. 69. ZZTJ 214, p. 6813. 70. JTS 109, p. 3292; XTS 110, p. 4118. 71. Peterson 1971, p. 452. 72. Ma 1990, p. 235; Zhang 1986a, pp. 318–319. 73. Zhang 1986a, p. 314. 74. Peterson 1971, p. 445. 75. CHC 3, pp. 503–507; Wang 1978; Zhang 1987. 76. ZZTJ 228, pp. 7345–7346. 77. Yinhua lu 1, p. 1. 78. ALSSJ 1, p. 5; cf. Tangshi lunduan 2.8–9, pp. 673b–674a. 79. Bombaci 1965; Fletcher 1979–1980, pp. 236–243; Mori 1981; Golden 1992, pp. 4–5. 80. JTS 121, p. 3491; XTS 224A, p. 6375. The Malgal (Ch. Mohe) were a people, likely Tungusic speaking, who were located in southern Manchuria during the late Northern Dynasties, Sui, and Tang, and whom Chinese texts identify as the precursors of the Jurchen (the Tungusic founders of the Jin dynasty in the twelfth century). See Wada 1958. 81. ZZTJ 230, p. 7407. The ritualized consumption of enemies was a regular practice in the Tang, particularly among military men and in cases where revenge was the main motive for the killing. Occasionally the flesh of a prominent executed prisoner would be distributed, such as with the widely reviled official Lai Junchen (d. 697), when people fought to get scraps from the corpse (TPGJ 267, p. 2100).

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82. KT E.6–7; Tekin 1968, p. 233. 83. TD 185–200; THY 94–100; JTS 194–199; SS 81–84; XTS 215–222. 84. SS 84, p. 1866. 85. SS 83, p. 1843. The Tuyuhun were a Mongolian-speaking nomadic people who, in the Sui and early Tang, ruled a powerful seminomadic confederation that controlled much of modern Qinghai, Gansu, and western Sichuan (Molè 1970; Beckwith 1987, passim). 86. JTS 199B, p. 5346. 87. JTS 141, p. 3847; JTS 186A, p. 4843. 88. JTS 199B, p. 5358; SS 30, p. 888. 89. Cartier 1981. 90. ZZTJ 182, p. 5669; cf. Wright 1978, pp. 190–191. 91. Moses 1976; Best 1982; McMullen 1987; Hevia 1995, especially pp. 9–25, 118–133. 92. “Discussion on the Jincheng Princess’s request to present books” (“Jincheng Gongzhu qing cishuxiang yi”), QTW 299, p. 1340c; cf. JTS 196A, pp. 5221–5222, 5232–5233. 93. Yu Xiulie, “Memorial requesting that books not be sent to Tibet” (“Qing buci Tufan shuxiang shu”), QTW 366, pp. 1644b–c. 94. DTXY 12, p. 472; cf. XTS 112, pp. 4163–4164. 95. ZZTJ 263, pp. 8573–8574. 96. Mengzi zhushu 2B, p. 2681c; cf. Legge 1970, p. 176; cit. Bischoff 1976, p. 158. 97. Sinor 1978; Jagchid and Symons 1989. 98. Di Cosmo 1994; Khazanov 1994. 99. Beckwith 1991. 100. Fletcher 1986; Barfield 1989. 101. ZZTJ 206, p. 6516. 102. Giraud 1960, pp. 49–52; Xue 1992, pp. 463–518. 103. ALSSJ 1, pp. 6–7. 104. ZZTJ 216, pp. 6902–6903. 105. Cui Rong, “Discussion on disbanding the Four Garrisons” (“Ba Sizhen yi”), QTW 229, p. 978a. 106. Song Jing, “Memorial remonstrating against the construction of tombs in contravention of regulations” (“Jian zhufen yuzhi shu”), QTW 27, p. 923c; JTS 96, pp. 3033–3034. 107. JTS 17A, p. 512; JTS 171, p. 4453. 108. ZZTJ 190, p. 5969. 109. Isaacs 1975, p. 49; Chapman 1993, p. 40. 110. Abramson 2001, pp. 322–327. 111. JTS 75, p. 2632; JTS 180, p. 4683. 112. Zhang Zhongsu, “Frontier song no. 1” (“Saixia qu wushou zhi yi”), TDBS, p. 258. 113. JTS 196B, pp. 5249–5250. 114. JTS 103, p. 3192; JTS 196B, p. 5255. 115. For China, see Barfield 1989; Jagchid and Symons 1989. More generally, see Ferguson and Whitehead 1992; Khazanov 1994. 116. “South of the walls we fought” (“Zhan chengnan”), LTBQJ 3, p. 177; cit. Sun 1982, pp. 106–107). 117. Drompp 1987. 118. Liu 1967; Chan 1978, pp. 21–22; Wang 1992.

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119. JTS 55, p. 2245. 120. XTS 223A, p. 6348; JTS 106, p. 3240. 121. Liu Kang, “Memorial requesting the execution of Cheng Yuanzhen” (“Qing zhu Cheng Yuanzhen shu”), QTW 458, p. 2070b. 122. Wang Zhongsi, “Memorial on pacifying non-Han peoples” (“Pingding zhufan zhang”), QTW 363, p. 1630b. 123. “Satire no. 3” (“Ganfeng zhi sanshou”), CGJ Waiji.2, p. 38; cit. Frodsham 1970, p. 256. 124. ZZTJ 222, p. 7134. 125. Tang Taizong Li Weigong wendui yizhu 1, p. 44. 126. CHC 3, pp. 464–468. 127. “Wang Chengxiu,” TPGJ 240, p. 1860. 128. Zhang 1986a, pp. 246–261. 129. CHC 3, p. 426. 130. “Northern expedition” (“Beizheng”), DSXZ 5, p. 402; cit. Cui 1994, p. 355. 131. ZZTJ 212, p. 6743. 132. Khazanov 1994. Chapter 3. Buddhism as a Foreign Religion 1. Ch’en 1964; Ch’en 1973; Gernet 1995; Liu 1988, pp. 139–173. 2. For the Tang and early Song as the key period of the “sinification” of Buddhism in China, see Sen 2003, pp. 132–141 and passim. 3. Some basic terms in Chinese Buddhism, such as kaishi (Bodhisattva, literally “enlightened gentleman”) and chujia (“to leave home,” i.e., become a monk or nun), were neologisms, while others, such as biqiu (monk), were transliterations of Indian terms (Skr. bhikshu) that are likely to have sounded strange to the Han ear. 4. Zürcher 1959, pp. 254–285; Ch’en 1964, pp. 121–194 passim; Kohn 1995. 5. For government policy, see Li 1981 and Weinstein 1987. The debates between Daoists, Confucians, and Buddhists are discussed in Luo 1955, pp. 159–176. 6. Weinstein 1973; Wright 1973. 7. Lu and Xu 1992; Zürcher 1959, pp. 255–256. 8. Ch’en 1956; Gernet 1995, pp. 307–308. 9. Zürcher 1959, especially pp. 231–239; Reinders 1997a, 1997b; Weinstein 1987, passim; Tonami 1988, pp. 39–47). 10. Prior to the establishment of the Tang, Li Yuan (the future Tang emperor Gaozu), as well as other contenders for power surnamed Li, proclaimed their descent from Laozi and the associated figure of Li Hong to take advantage of contemporary popular prophecies that a messianic figure surnamed Li would rule the empire (Seidel 1969–1970; Bokenkamp 1994). 11. Forte 1976; Guisso 1978, pp. 26–50; Chen 1992b; Sen 2003, pp. 94–101. 12. Benn 1987; Tonami 1988; Barrett 1996, pp. 54ff. 13. Weinstein 1987. 14. ZZTJ 201, p. 6356; ZZTJ 200, p. 6303. 15. For an overview of the Sino-Indian relationship, see Sen 2003. 16. Wang 1934; Zürcher 1959, pp. 288–320; Kohn 1995, pp. 11–17. 17. Ch’en 1964, pp. 184–186; Wang 1934, pp. 204–206; Zürcher 1959, pp. 308–320.

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18. Wang 1934, p. 205; CFYG 51.19a; “Edict proscribing the Sutra on the conversion of the barbarians” (“Jin Huahu jing chi”), QTW 17, pp. 83b–c). 19. Memorial to Xuanzong dated September 7, 736 (Kaiyuan 24.7.28), in THY 49, p. 1006. 20. JTS 79, pp. 2714–2717; XTS 107, pp. 4059–4062; cf. Wright 1951. 21. JTS 79, p. 2716; ZZTJ 191, p. 6002. 22. This Fu Yi was a minister of Han Mingdi and no apparent relation to the Tang Fu Yi. 23. Lü Guang was sent by the Former Qin to conquer the Tarim basin. He defeated the state of Kucha in 384 and captured the famous Indian Buddhist translator Kumarajiva. However, the Former Qin had already collapsed in 383. Lü Guang set himself up as an emperor, founding the Later Liang (386–403) in modern Gansu and eastern Xinjiang (Mather 1959). The Later Liang became an important center of Buddhist activity revolving around Kumarajiva. 24. Places frequented by evil or petty men were often referred to as “fish shops,” as both give off a bad odor (HYDCD 12, p. 1216). 25. QTW 133, p. 591a–c. This memorial, entitled “Memorial requesting the abolishment of the Buddhist law” (“Qing fei Fofa biao”), was presented on July 15, 621. 26. QTW 133, pp. 591c–592a. 27. Bingham 1941; Wechsler 1974; Wang 1988, pp. 88–115; CHC 3, pp. 155–168. 28. Barrett 1996, pp. 27–28. 29. Wright 1973, pp. 245–246. 30. Anti-Buddhist polemicists often believed that the translators of Buddhist texts, who were mainly non-Han born outside China, willfully mistranslated the texts. Many early Tang translators, such as Xuanzang, obtained the original texts in India precisely to render translations that were more faithful than those of the early translators, who had often been handicapped by poor Chinese skills and a predilection for adapting the text for a Chinese audience over accuracy. 31. According to an apocryphal story that originated in the third century and reached its definitive form by 500, Emperor Mingdi of the Eastern Han (r. 58–75) dreamt about a golden man who was identified by one of his ministers as the Buddha. The emperor then sent envoys to the country of the Rouzhi to obtain Buddhist texts, thus marking the “official” introduction of Buddhism into China (Zürcher 1959, p. 22; Ch’en 1964, pp. 29–31). Until recent times, both Buddhists and their critics accepted this account as fact. The Rouzhi, known in Western sources as the Tocharians, were a nomadic people originally dwelling in Gansu who moved westward in the second and first centuries b.c.e. and established the Kushan Empire in the region of northwestern India known as Gandhara. They maintained suzerainty over large portions of modern Xinjiang for centuries (Narain 1990, pp. 151–173). In the second half of the first century c.e., Chinese sources indicate that the Eastern Han did send envoys to the Kushans, who were among the most important early disseminators of Buddhism into Central and East Asia, providing the kernel of truth to the story. 32. JTS 79, pp. 2715–2716 (cf. QTW 133, p. 592; ZZTJ 191, pp. 6001–6003; DTXY 10, p. 397). Various sources date the memorial between 624 and 626. 33. JTS 79, p. 2717; THY 47, p. 979; ZZTJ 192, p. 6029. These remarks date from shortly after Taizong’s enthronement and were a response to the new emperor’s praise of Buddhist teachings. 34. JTS 79, p. 2717; dated 639.

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35. FDLH 1, p. 378c. 36. Hartman 1986; Bol 1992, passim. 37. Nienhauser 1986, p. 107. 38. HCLQJ 39, pp. 456–458; cf. THY 47, pp. 982–984. The memorial was written in February 819. Xianzong’s response to Han Yu’s lèse majesté was severe, but he was ultimately dissuaded from ordering Han’s execution by the pleas of his ministers and bureaucracy. The emperor instead exiled him in the same month to serve as a prefect in the far south (Hartman 1986, pp. 84–85). For a complete translation, see Owen 1996, pp. 598–600. 39. ZZTJ 240, pp. 7756, 7758; THY 47, pp. 981–982; cf. Sen 2003, pp. 64–76. 40. HCLQJ 11, pp. 171–175. For a nearly complete translation, see de Bary et al. 1960, pp. 376–378. This work was probably written in the summer of 805 (Hartman 1986, p. 145). 41. Rong and Di here are used as generic terms for non-Han living to the west and north, respectively. Jing and Shu were states in the middle and upper Yangtze region that, at the time of the composition, were considered barbarous and nonHan by the self-identified Chinese (zhongguo) states of the North China plain. 42. “Preface to seeing off the Buddhist master Wenchang” (“Song foseng Wenchang shi xu”), HCLQJ 20, p. 286. 43. “The Girl of Mount Hua” (“Huashan nü”), HCLQJ 6, p. 102. For a complete translation, see Mair 1994, pp. 222–224. 44. FDLH 2, p. 381a. 45. “Seeing off Reverend Hui” (“Song Hui shi”), HCLQJ 2, p. 30. 46. Ennin 4.Huichang 4.9, vol. 4, p. 95; Reischauer 1955, p. 351. 47. Ennin 4.Huichang 3.6.13, vol. 4, p. 8; Reischauer 1955, p. 332. 48. GHMJ 13, pp. 183a–194c. 49. GHMJ 13, p. 184. 50. THY 47, p. 980; cf. JTS 127, p. 3580. 51. GSB 1, p. 24. 52. McMullen 1995. 53. FDLH 2, p. 380a. 54. See Abramson 2001, pp. 222–223. 55. “Edict placing Daoist priests and nuns above Buddhist monks and nuns” (“Daoshinü guanzai sengni zhi shang zhao”), TDZLJ 113, p. 537; FDLH 2, pp. 382b–383a. 56. “Edict on registering wandering monks and nuns” (“Tiao liusengni chi”), TDZLJ 113, pp. 542–543). 57. ZZTJ 209, pp. 6622–6625. 58. “The sons of Mr. Wei” (“Weishi zi”), TPGJ 101, p. 676. 59. SGSZ 23, pp. 583–591; DYZB 3, pp. 59–60; THY 47, p. 838; XTS 18, p. 5354; Kieschnick 1997. 60. HCLQJ 39, p. 457. 61. Zürcher 1959, pp. 281–282; THY 41, p. 872; ZZTJ 195, p. 6149; cf. Abramson 2001, p. 227, n. 83. 62. For hairstyles, see Abramson 2001, Chapter 6. For tearing or cutting the hair and face, see Grenet 1984; Cai 1992, pp. 112–114; Lü 1994, pp. 225–226; Lerner 1995, p. 184; Yao 1995, p. 60. For demonstrations of loyalty, see Chapter 2 and JTS 187A, p. 4885. 63. Kawakatsu 1990, pp. 9–26; Ebrey 1990; Ögel 1988, pp. 71–107 passim, 209, 215; Roux 1984, pp. 262–266 and passim; Grenet 1984; Esin 1980, pp. 113–114, 137. 64. THY 47, pp. 984–985; TDZLJ 103, p. 543. Cf. Ch’en 1964, pp. 231–232.

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65. Ennin 4.Huichang 3.6.13, vol. 4, p. 8; Reischauer 1955, pp. 331–332. 66. THY 49, p. 1007. 67. The archetype of this sort of foreign monk was Fotudeng, who came from the Western Regions to North China around 310. Using displays of magic, he soon became a close adviser to the non-Han ruler Shi Le, in great part due to his alleged abilities to provide rain and predict military and political events. For an overview of his career, see Wright 1948. 68. THY 62, pp. 1270–1271. 69. See “The monk of Dongyan Temple” (“Dongyansi seng”), TPGJ 285, pp. 2273–2274. 70. Schafer 1963, p. 50. 71. Helms 1988; Helms 1993. 72. Kieschnick 1997, pp. 67–111, especially pp. 80–88, 110. 73. Liu binke jiahua lu, p. 16; STJH 2, pp. 13–14; TPGJ 285, pp. 2268–2269; ZZTJ 195, p. 6150; cf. Xie 1978, p. 333. 74. See his biography in SGSZ 1, pp. 6–13, tr. Chou 1945; cf. Ch’en 1964, pp. 335–336. 75. Ji wen, pp. 50–51; TPGJ 448, pp. 3665–3666. 76. “Record of a strange nighttime occurrence at Dongyang” (“Dongyang yeguai lu”), TPGJ 490, pp. 4023–4029. 77. JTS 198, pp. 5306–5309; TD 193, pp. 5260–5262; Mather 1992; SJZ 1–2, pp. 3–18; Petech 1950; Geng 1990, pp. 1–99; Cartier 1988. 78. Zürcher 1959, p. 266; cf. Sen 2003, pp. 8–12. 79. GHMJ 11, p. 169a. 80. Liu binke jiahua lu, p. 13; TYL 6.750, p. 519. Jambudvîpa was one of the four great continents that, in Indian Buddhist cosmology, made up the human world. Buddhists in the Tang commonly took Jambudvîpa to refer to China itself, as Jianxu does, and often used it in rhetoric celebrating the virtues of pro-Buddhist rulers (ZZTJ 204, p. 6466; cf. Forte 1976). 81. FDLH 2, p. 380a. 82. GHMJ 11, p. 168b; cit. Wang 1934, p. 205. 83. GHMJ 13, p. 183b. 84. Victor Mair, written communication, 27 November 2006. 85. Sen 2003, pp. 10–12, 55–101. 86. Wang 1934, p. 203. 87. YQJYY 22.17b; Xuanying, Yiqie jing yinyi 4; cit. HYDCD 2, p. 141; GHMJ 11, pp. 168a–175a passim. 88. GHMJ 11, p. 169c. 89. GHMJ 11, p. 169c. 90. Xuan Yi, Zhen zheng lun 2; cit. Wang 1934, p. 213. 91. See Abramson 2001, p. 268, n. 70. 92. DTXYJ 1–4, pp. 48–376 passim. 93. Mather 1992. 94. SJZ 1–2, pp. 3–18; Petech 1950; cf. Geng 1990, pp. 1–99. 95. Cartier 1988. 96. TDZLJ 113, pp. 537–543. The total number of edicts is twenty-five. Cf. Abramson 2001, p. 241, n. 119–121. 97. Xingyun Dashi et al. 1988–1989, pp. 1620, 2507, 3939. 98. Gernet 1995, pp. 291–293. 99. ZZTJ 224, p. 7196. 100. Yang 1998; cf. Boucher 2000.

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Chapter 4. Deep Eyes and High Noses 1. A great deal of the material in this chapter is adapted from Chapters 5, 6, and 7 of Abramson 2001. This same material formed the basis for Abramson 2003, but while the current form of this chapter represents a new reworking of the original material from Abramson 2001, it is also indebted to the refinement of some ideas that occurred in the writing of Abramson 2003 thanks to that work’s editors, Nicola DiCosmo and Don J. Wyatt. 2. Davis 1992, p. 25; Hendrickson 1996, pp. 2, 8. 3. DTXY 13, p. 510; TPGJ 255, pp. 1986–1987; JTS 185B, p. 4811. 4. Abramson 2003. 5. For Daoist and Buddhist monks practicing physiognomy, see TPGJ 224. 6. For the most Tang famous physiognomists, see Chen 1993, pp. 68–76. 7. DYZB 1, p. 17. Physiognomists also claimed to predict which woman would give birth to the next emperor (TYL 6.824, p. 574). 8. ALSSJ 1, p. 1; des Rotours 1962, pp. 13–14, n. 4; TYL 3.377, p. 251. 9. BMSY 19.308, p. 146; CYQZ 4, p. 45; JTS 135, p. 3713; cf. Abramson 2001, pp. 80ff. 10. Ershiwu deng ren tu, p. 3b. 11. See A new account of tales of the world (Shishuo xinyu). 12. BMSY 5.76, p. 35. 13. For modern understandings of li, see Zito 1994, especially pp. 103–110. 14. Dien 1962, pp. 43–55; Ebrey 1978; Holcombe 1986; Holcombe 1994, pp. 81–83. For post-Tang understandings of li, see Bol 1992, pp. 238–246; Ebrey 1991. 15. China Cultural Relics Promotion Center 1992, pl. 89; Masterpieces 1971, no. 14. 16. Han 1997, pls. 65, 66. 17. Zhang Hongxiu 1991, pl. 188. 18. Mahler 1959, pl. 17b. 19. This posture and this expression are extremely common, particularly among riders and grooms. See, for example, Han 1997, pls. 34–35. 20. Han 1997, pls. 18–20, 36–37, 81–83. Bulging eyes are generally less evident in murals, probably due to differing conventions in sculpture and painting when it came to depicting non-Han. However, see Han 1993, pl. 42. 21. Han 1997, pls. 34–35, 77–78, 93–94. 22. Zhang 1990a, pp. 102–103. 23. TPGJ 87, pp. 567–568; YYZZ 3.175, p. 45. 24. Zhang 1990a, p. 86. 25. TD 192, p. 5225. 26. “Lu Yanmeng,” TPGJ 256, p. 1995. 27. Zhang 1990a, p. 104. 28. For hairstyles as an ethnic marker, see Abramson 2001, pp. 333–340. 29. Zhang 1990a, p. 107. 30. SJ 8, pp. 342–343; cf. Du Fu, “Lament for a king’s grandson” (“Ai wangsun”), DSXZ 4, p. 311; cit. Schafer 1963, p. 72. For early depictions of Hu physiognomy, see Chen 2005, pp.. 195–265 passim. 31. Han 1997, pl. 19. 32. Jin et al. 1984, no. 27. 33. Jin et al. 1984, no. 30. 34. Su et al. 1989, no. 103. Both figures carry swords and official tallies, but the

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non-Han figure grasps both in one hand each, while the Han figure holds the tally in both hands, with his sword hung at his waist. This signals the non-Han figure’s greater martiality and lack of propriety (etiquette demanded holding the tally in both hands in the presence of a superior). 35. Abramson 2001, p. 373, n. 45. 36. YYZZ Xu 4.87, p. 232. 37. ALSSJ 3, p. 43. 38. See Härtel and Yaldiz 1982, pls. 95, 107–111, 131, 136; Azarpay 1981. 39. Esin 1970, p. 99; von Gabain 1973, p. 160. 40. ALSSJ 3, p. 42. 41. MYXF 107, p. 37. 42. Weng 1993, p. 83. 43. ALSSJ 1, pp. 5–6. 44. JTS 191, p. 5092. 45. “Painting a Hawk” (Hua ying), DSXZ 1, p. 19; tr. Owen 1996, p. 428. 46. Yan Liben, “Former emperors” (“Gu diwang tu or Lidai diwang tu”), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Jin et al. 1984, no. 4. 47. Paludan 1991, pp. 93–114, passim. 48. Weng 1993, p. 73; cf. YWLJ 17, p. 319; Nan shi 46, p. 1147; Zhang 1990a, p. 266; YWLJ 17, p. 315; TPGJ 60, p. 371. 49. Yang et al. 1988, pls. 87–88. 50. Wang 2000, pp. 127–132. 51. Chen 1980; Zhang 1990, pp. 85–95; Wang 2000, pp. 146–152. 52. Barthold 1970; Jisl 1970; Roux 1984, pp. 260–262 and passim; Caffarelli and Alexandre 1993, pp. 113–116; Zheng 1998, p. 55; Abramson 2001, pp. 366–367. 53. Victor Mair, personal communication, 13 February 2004. 54. Barthold 1970. 55. Chen 1996, pp. 386–387. 56. Paludan 1991, pp. 99, 101. 57. JTS 122, p. 3508; JTS 131, p. 3633. 58. This physical type is portrayed with remarkable consistency in murals (Zhang Hongxiu 1991, pl.188; Su et al. 1989, no. 130) and figurines (T. T. Tsui Galleries of Chinese Art 1996, pl. 62). 59. See Li Duan, “The ‘barbarian stomp’ boy” (“Huteng’er”), QTS 284, p. 3238. 60. Mahler 1959, pls. 3a–3e; T. T. Tsui Galleries of Chinese Art 1996, pl. 76. This image’s popularity is reflected in its multiple transformations, such as one telling instance of the connection in Tang discourse between non-Han identity and animality where a monkey replaces the non-Han figure (du Boulay 1984, p. 46). 61. ALSSJ 1, pp. 5–6; cf. TPGJ 238, p. 1833. 62. Gascoigne 1973, p. 119. 63. MYXF 174, p. 56. 64. Bones and obesity in physiognomy are discussed in Zhang 1990a, pp. 84–86. 65. Zheng 1998, pp. 54–55. 66. DGZJ 1.5, p. 86; TPGJ 87, p. 567; TPGJ 234, p. 1796; TPGJ 270, p. 2117. 67. For the conception (and absence) of the nude in Chinese art and culture, see Hay 1994. 68. E.g., YYZZ 8.303, pp. 79–80.

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69. For official decrees condemning the festival, see THY 34, pp. 733–734. 70. NHJG 1, p. 17; cf. Dikötter 1992, pp. 10–13. 71. TPGJ 192, pp. 1442–1443; TPGJ 254, p. 1975. For “Kunlun slaves” and oxen, as well as the role of oxen in funerary ritual, see Abramson 2001, p. 375, n. 51. 72. Attributed to Chen Hong, Cleveland Museum of Art, Eight 1980, no. 5. 73. These two figures are identified as Zhangsun Song and Luo Jie. Both were tribal leaders, generals, and holders of civil office who were of non-Han tribal Turco-Mongol heritage from the homeland of the Xianbei Tuoba royal family in modern northern Shanxi. 74. One of these figures is identified as the ethnic Han minister Cui Hao, perceived in the Tang as a Confucian minister who valued li, opposed the “barbarization” of North China, and attempted to transform non-Han society from within (WS 35, pp. 807–828; BS 21, pp. 772–791). 75. Wang 1996. 76. Yan Liben, “The palanquin” (“Bunian tu”), Palace Museum, Beijing; Jin et al. 1984, no. 2; cf. Soper 1950, p. 11. 77. TPGJ 211, p. 1617. 78. WYYH 489, p. 2500a; cit. Lu 1998, p. 182. 79. Shaanxi Sheng Bowuguan et al. 1974a, pl. 32; Chuka 1979, p. 116. 80. JTS 184, pp. 4753–4779, passim. 81. Shanhai jing jiaoyi 6, p. 183; tr. Cheng et al. 1985, p. 147. 82. GHMJ 13, p. 185c. 83. TPYL 337, vol. 4, pp. 447b–448a, 449a–b. 84. TPYL 363, vol. 4, p. 332b. 85. TPYL 363, vol. 4, p. 332b. 86. TPYL 363, vol. 4, p. 331b; cit. Ma 1985, p. 10. 87. CFYG 997, p. 11698. 88. XSJC 8, pp. 168–169. 89. GHMJ 13, p. 187a. 90. Kuriyama 1994, pp. 27, 39; Glacken 1967. 91. Balsdon 1979, pp. 215, 217. 92. YYZZ 11.435, p. 104. 93. Xi Kang, “On nourishing life” (“Yangsheng lun”), Quan shanggu Sandai Qin Han Sanguo Liuchao wen 46.1B, p. 1324a. 94. See, e.g., DTXYJ 1, pp. 84, 100. 95. Classic of reflected viscera (Zhao dan jing) 1 (XSJC, p. 315). 96. Nan shi 62, p. 1519; cit. Zhou 1963, p. 35. 97. Comprehensive writings on extraordinary physiognomies (Shenxiang quanbian) 6 (XSJC, p. 116). 98. TD 193, p. 5263; cf. Wakeman 1990, pp. 411–412. 99. See the Li Bo series of five poems entitled “Lyrics for the girls of Yue” (“Yuenü ci”), LTBQJ 25, pp. 1194–1195; cit. Owen 1996, p. 382. 100. Cai 1995. 101. Reed 2000. Tattoo was also closely associated with despised classes of society that had strong non-Han associations: soldiers, criminals, and slaves. 102. Abramson 2001, pp. 333–344. 103. Leslie 1953, p. 27 and passim. 104. Lun heng jiaoshi 3.11, p. 106; cit. Leslie 1953, p. 43. 105. TLSY 21.305, p. 387. 106. CFYG 220, p. 2636a.

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107. SJ 7, p. 338; cit. Leslie 1953, p. 27. 108. A rare exception is the Du Fu poem “Lament for a king’s grandson” (“Ai wangsun”), which reads in part: “But the sons and grandsons of the High Theocrat have all, like him [the king’s grandson], been high beaked. So the Dragon Seed in this one marks him off from ordinary men.” DSXZ 4, p. 311; tr. Schafer 1963, p. 72. 109. CFYG 883, p. 10454a; TPYL 377, vol. 4, p. 445b. 110. BMSY 20.317, p. 149. 111. YYZZ 4.175, p. 45. 112. YYZZ 16.599, p. 150. 113. “An Lushan,” TPGJ 238, p. 1833; cf. ALSSJ 1, p.5. 114. CYQZ 5, p. 68; TPGJ 435, p. 3535. 115. Diaoyu ji 14, pp. 76–77. 116. LY 1, p.16; LY 35, p. 1225; Legge 1971a, pp. 139, 326; cf. JTS 135, pp. 3713–3714. 117. See, e.g., CFYG 220, p. 2636a. 118. CFYG 883, pp. 10466a–b. 119. CFYG 883, p. 10465a. 120. CFYG 883, p. 10466a. 121. “Li Zhe,” TPGJ 363, p. 2885. 122. Zhang Yue, “Su Mozhe,” QTS 89, p. 982; Zhang Yangong ji 10, p. 70b. 123. Features that ghosts and non-Han shared included dark features (TPGJ 310, p. 2455; TPGJ 370, p. 2942; TPGJ 471, p. 3878), and large or deep eyes (TPGJ 318, p. 2521; TPGJ 333, p. 2649; TPGJ 474, p. 3909). Both supernatural figures and exotic animals are often compared in shape and appearance to the dark-skinned and curly-haired “Kunlun people” (TPGJ 324, pp. 2569–2570; TPGJ 361, p. 2869). 124. “Up into the clouds music” (“Shang yun yue”), LTBQJ 3, pp. 205–206; tr. Mair 1994, pp. 199–202. 125. “A flagon of wine in front of me no. 2” (“Qian you yizun jiu xing”), QTS 162, p. 1686. 126. YFSJ 97, pp. 1356, 1365; tr. Mair 1994, pp. 485–488, and Owen 1996, pp. 455–457. 127. ALSSJ 3, p. 44. 128. HHS 8, p. 358; HHS 69, p. 2252; HHS 78, pp. 2534, 2537 (cf. CHC1, pp. 344–345). 129. CYQZ 1, p. 11; TPGJ 148, p. 1065. 130. Gladney 1994. 131. Schein 1997. 132. Pomfret 1999; cf. Brownell 2005. Chapter 5. The Geopolitics of Ethnicity 1. The character for li, “division,” is different from the homophonous character meaning “etiquette, ritual” and discussed in earlier chapters. 2. HS 28A–B, pp. 1523–1674; Ebata 1968. 3. YHJXTZ, pp. 1–2. 4. ST 5.19, vol. 1, pp. 272–273. 5. Golden 1982a. 6. Guiyuan congtang 1, p. 78.

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7. For early uses of zhongguo, see Holcombe 2001, pp. 8ff. 8. For metageography—the discursive construction of geographic space and boundaries—see Lewis and Wigen 1997. 9. Wheatley 1971, pp. 428–436. 10. For a geographical description of the North China plain, see Tregear 1965, pp. 215–226. 11. QTW 686, p. 3115c; tr. Hartman 1986, p. 330, n. 77 (slightly modified). 12. TYL 8.1038, p. 723. 13. Ômuro 1984, pp. 227–230, 367. 14. GHMJ 13, p. 183b. 15. Xin Changbo, “Hard traveling with the army” (“Junzhong xinglu nan”), TDBS, p. 15. 16. “Memorial requesting a halt to sending Han commoners west to occupy Kashgar and the rest of the Four Garrisons” (“Qing ba baixing xishu Shule deng Sizhen shu”), QTW 169, p. 760a. 17. HHS 88, pp. 2919–2920; cf. Shiratori 1956; Hirth 1975; Cahill 1993. 18. See TPYL 689, pp. 246b–247a. 19. “Gu Yuanzhi,” TPGJ 383, pp. 3056–3058. 20. THY 36, pp. 765–766, 769, 772. Descriptions of foreign peoples in dynastic histories and elsewhere regularly repeated earlier material (Leslie and Gardiner 1982). 21. The chief Tang example is Miscellany from the Youyang Mountains (Youyang zazu), which used as sources Buddhist texts, reports from envoys and friends, gossip, and the author’s own travels (Reed 1995). For earlier works, see Campany 1996. 22. TD 192, p. 5235. Translation after Wakeman 1990, pp. 575–581 passim. 23. TD 193, p. 5269. Translation based on Wakeman 1990, p. 809. 24. Helms 1988, especially pp. 211–260. 25. Higgins 1996. 26. McMullen 1988, pp. 67–100. The Tribute of Yu was assumed in the Tang to be an accurate contemporary description of China during the reign of the semilegendary Emperor Yu (traditionally dated to the late third millennium B.C.E.), but it was likely composed between the fourth and second centuries B.C.E. (Loewe 1993, p. 378). The Rites of Zhou was similarly attributed to the beginning of the Western Zhou (late second millennium B.C.E.) while having a much later date of composition, probably fourth or third century B.C.E. (Loewe 1993, pp. 25–29). 27. Ômuro 1981, p. 94; Ômuro 1984, pp. 10, 94–95. 28. YHJXTZ 4, p. 109. 29. Malkin 1998, p. 185. 30. Nobles 1997, pp. 30–32. 31. JTS 80, p. 2733. 32. White 1991, pp. 11–12. 33. Yugong zhuizhi 2–10, pp. 13–338; cf. Legge 1985, pp. 94–127. 34. TDBS, pp. 358, 370. 35. JTS 124, p. 3542; ZZTJ 252, p. 8186. 36. THY 97, pp. 2062–2063. 37. “Courtesans of the Western Liang” (“Xiliang ji”), BJYJ 4, p. 76. 38. “Moved by my experiences no. 34” (“Ganyu shi zhi sanshisishou”), QTS 83, p. 894. 39. YHJXTZ 4, p. 94.

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40. DHSHJJ, vol. 1, p. 42, ll. 13–14, p. 44, ll. 21–22 (Stein 788, Pelliot 2691; cf. DHSSDZ, pp. 149, 158); YHJXTZ 14, p. 399. 41. TLSY 8.88, p. 177. 42. “Mounting the Xiazhou walls and watching the dispatch of an expedition, I compose on the song of a Hu boy from the Six Prefectures” (“Deng Xiazhou cheng guan song xingren fu de Liuzhou hu’er ge”), TDBS, p. 217. 43. For an overview of the two policies, see Barfield 1989, pp. 45–60. 44. THY 95, p. 2019. 45. JTS 190B, p. 5022. 46. KT, south, ll. 5–7; Tekin, p. 231. 47. ZGZY 9.36, p. 278; cf. ZZTJ 196, p. 6178; JTS 80, p. 2736. 48. HHS 88, p. 2912. 49. JTS 80, p. 2734. 50. JTS 69, p. 2511. For the debate, see also Wechsler 1974, pp. 150–154 passim. 51. THY 95, p. 2015. 52. Cheng 2002, pp. 67–71. 53. MS 1, pp. 30–32. 54. Yu gong zhuizhi 19, pp. 665–692. 55. For a compilation of these various schemes and related traditional commentary, see Yu gong zhui zhi 19, pp. 686–692; Legge 1985, pp. 148–149. 56. Owen 1977, pp. 353, 357, 359; SS 82, p. 1831; QTW 438, p. 1976a. 57. Cahill 1993, passim. 58. See CHC 1, pp. 470–479 and passim. 59. For Han policy and origins of “loose rein,” see Yang 1968. 60. See Loewe 1967, pp. 62–64; de Crespigny 1984, pp. 1–53; Zhang 1990, pp. 24–31. 61. CHC 1, pp. 428–430. 62. Holmgren 1986. 63. Burns 1980. 64. Luttwak 1976. 65. Zhang 1986a, pp. 119–143; Li 2003, pp. 99–119. 66. XTS 43B, p. 1119. A list of jimizhou is provided in XTS 43B, pp. 1120–1146. 67. JTS 138, p. 3786. 68. Zhang 1994, p. 95. 69. See the History of the southern barbarians (Man shu), Maps and gazetteer of the provinces and counties in the Yuanhe period, the geographical treatises of the History of the Sui, and the writings of officials with significant frontier experience, such as Gao Shi and Chen Zi’ang. 70. MS, passim. 71. For the distribution of non-Han throughout the Tang Empire, see Li 2003, pp. 51–98. 72. XTS 43B, p. 1119. 73. For the urban wards, see Heng 1999, pp. 26–35. 74. Ennin 2 (839.9.12), vol. 2, p. 115; Reischauer 1955, p. 148. 75. TLSY 8.87–89, pp. 176–179. 76. Zhang 1955. 77. Iwami 1988, p. 15. 78. TD 6, p. 109; BSLT 10.35, pp. 447–448. 79. TD 6, p. 109; TL 23.16, p. 682. 80. TLSY 4.34, p. 92. 81. BSLT 10.35, pp. 447–448; TYL 9.19, p. 238.

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82. Iwami 1995, p. 420. 83. TLD 3, p. 77. 84. JTS 54, p. 2238. 85. Laurence 1998. 86. Iwami 1995, p. 419. 87. TDFZ, p. 567. 88. TLD 3, p. 77. 89. TD 6, p. 109. 90. Iwami 1995, pp. 423–425. 91. THY 84, p. 1826. 92. Rong 2001a; Trombert 2003, p. 239. 93. See, e.g., QTW 647, p. 2902b. 94. JTS 16, p. 502; cit. JJSL, p. 178. 95. Gao 1978, p. 144. 96. JTS 194A, pp. 5168–5169. 97. Johnson 1979, pp. 28–29; Zhang 1996, pp. 424–499. 98. Cen 1987, pp. 547–548. 99. Abramson 2001, pp. 95–100. 100. See Chen Zi’ang, “Admonishment to the masses written on behalf of the Prince of Jian’an” (“Wei Jian’an wang shizhong ci”), QTW 214, p. 956a; Zhang Yue, “Report on pacifying the Khitan and other bandits in Jizhou written on behalf of the Henei Commandery Prince Wu Yizong” (“Wei Henei junwang Wu Yizong ping Jizhou zei Qidan deng lubu”), QTW 225, p. 1000c. 101. JJSL, pp. 178–183 passim. 102. Schafer 1967, pp. 56–57. 103. “Lyric on giving away the bride” (“Xianü ci”), Dunhuang duosuo 75, p. 304; cit. Xie 1978, p. 258; cf. Waley 1960, p. 162. 104. CYQZ 5, p. 60; “Guo Zhengyi,” TPGJ 171, p. 1256. 105. THY 14, p. 374; Zhang Jiuling, “Letter declining a gift of barbarian captives” (“Rang ci fankou zhuang”), QTW 289, p. 1298c; Zhang Jiuling, “Report that the northeastern armies cannot be easily mobilized” (“Lun dongbeijun weike qingdong zhuang”), QTW 388, p. 1294c. 106. JTS 75, p. 2632; JTS 180, p. 4683. 107. JTS 154, p. 4098. 108. JJSL, pp. 178–180; JTS 192, pp. 5133–5134; Bo Juyi, “The People of Daozhou” (“Daozhou min”), BJYJ 3, p. 68. 109. ALSSJ 1, p. 12. 110. Jagchid and Hyer 1979, pp. 342–351; Beckwith 1984; Allsen 1986; JTS 97, p. 3048. 111. THY 96, p. 2043. 112. For imperial edicts on the topic, see THY 86, pp. 1860–1864. 113. Tôrei shûiho, pp. 549–550, 1040–1041. 114. Han Yu, “Epitaph for Grand Master for Proper Consultation, Left Assistant of the Department of State Affairs Kong” (“Zhengyi daifu shangshu zuocheng Kong gongmu zhiming”), QTW 563, p. 2526b; Li Jiang, “A report on the imperial edict” (“Lun deyin shizhuang”), QTW 646, p. 2898b. 115. JTS 16, p. 502. 116. THY 86, pp. 1860, 1863. 117. Zhang 1994. 118. Zhang 1986a, pp. 229–246 passim. 119. ZZTJ 223.7162.

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120. Bosworth 1973. 121. Ennin 2 (Kaicheng 4.11.16), vol. 2, p. 138; Reischauer 1955, p. 151. 122. Luo 1996; Liu 1993; Jin 1987. 123. TLSY 5.43, p. 133. 124. Curtin 1984. 125. Hori 2002, pp. 140–163. 126. TDHS, p. 44. 127. TGSB 3, p. 348. 128. Heng 1999, pp. 26–27; Rong 2000, pp. 140–141; cit. de la Vaissière 2004, p. 128. 129. Cheng 2002, pp. 86–95. 130. Fan 1990; Gao 1978, pp. 139, 142. 131. Wechsler 1985, passim. 132. SS 84, p. 1867; cit. HYDCD 1, p. 1056. 133. SS 84, p. 1870; cit. Cui 1994, p. 205; cf. BS 99, p. 3294. 134. Pan 1997, pp. 100–121 passim. 135. Wright 1978, pp. 157–161. 136. The Hu bed was a folding camp chair used by military men in the field. Hu melons, cucumbers, are known today as yellow melons (Ci yuan, p. 82; cit. Chen 1996). 137. ZGZY 6.21, p. 196. The Yuwen clan was a prominent non-Han clan. The Linghu clan claimed Han ancestry, but many members had or were perceived as having non-Han forebears. 138. JTS 3, pp. 39–40; THY 100, p. 2134; XTS 2, p. 31; ZZTJ 193, p. 6073. 139. ZZTJ 180, pp. 5631–5632. 140. ZZTJ 180, p. 5635. 141. ZZTJ 180, p. 5653; cit. CHC 3, p. 127. The connection between the acquisition of long-distance goods and political authority is explored in Helms 1993, especially pp. 160–170. 142. For citations, see Abramson 2001, pp. 176–177, n. 115–117. 143. ZZTJ 198, p. 6247. 144. ZGZY 1.1, p. 8; ZGZY 2.app., p. 75. 145. Wechsler 1974, pp. 22–27; Twitchett 1992, p. 125, n.18. 146. “Granting a patent of office to the Xueyantuo” (“Ci Xueyantuo xishu”), QTW 10, pp. 45–6; cf. ZZTJ 195, 6148. 147. ZZTJ 193, pp. 6088–6089. 148. JTS 61, pp. 2361, 2369–2370. 149. Luo 1955, pp. 54–87; Nemoto 1968; Zhang 1990, pp. 342–366; Abramson 1992. 150. Xue 1992, pp. 386–399. 151. QTW 10, p. 46; cf. ZZTJ 195, p. 6148. 152. ZGZY 5.15, p. 162. 153. THY 49, pp. 1011–1012. 154. See THY 73, 1554–1557. 155. ZZTJ 195, p. 6149. 156. ZZTJ 197, p. 6207. 157. JTS 80, p. 2736. 158. Xuanzong, “Letter to the Tibetan ruler” (“Ci Tufan zanpu shu”), QTW 40, p. 189c; cit. Cui 1994, p. 277; Yang Guozhong, “Report on presenting prisoners following the defeat of the Tibetans” (“Po Tufan xianfu biao”), QTW 346, p. 1552b.

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Chapter 6. Varieties of Ethnic Change 1. CHC 3, pp. 8–10. 2. Chen 1955; Cheng 1994b, p. 23. 3. Ma 1990, pp. 207–212. 4. Chen 1980b, pp. 153ff.; Chen 1996. 5. Yao 1958, pp. 40ff. 6. Ma 1962, pp. 240–254 passim. 7. Ma 1990, p. 221. 8. Yao 1958. 9. YHXZ 10.95, p. 1455. 10. See the repeated use in official genealogies of phrases like “the [family] account claims” (zhuangcheng) or the “family account says” (zhuangyun) (YHXZ, passim). 11. For the Yuan clan and their transformation into literate elites, see Osabe 1993. For some other northern non-Han clans, see Song 1992a; Song 1992b; Song 1993. 12. Sa 1975; Chen 1980b, pp. 226ff. 13. Yao 1958, pp. 12–14. 14. For general descriptions of non-Han elites, see Qiu 1969; Zhang 1972. 15. ALSSJ 1, p. 1; Pulleyblank 1955, pp. 7–19; cf. Rong 2001, pp. 222–237. 16. Forte 1995, passim. 17. For cultural brokers, see Salovesh 1978. 18. Pritsak 1983. 19. HS 54, pp. 2450–2459; Mori 1974. 20. Cen 1982a, p. 413. 21. YYZZ 4.175, p. 45. 22. Cheng 1994b, p. 23. 23. Hall 1997, pp. 52, 77; Laurence 1998b, p. 105. 24. Ma 1994. 25. Ikeda 1999, pp. 15–16. 26. Ma 1985, pp. 85–86. 27. Zhang 1986a, p. 189; Fu 1965, p. 139. 28. ZZTJ 250, p. 8118. 29. For non-Han names, see Chen 1988, p. 206; Cai 1992, pp. 121–123; Ikeda 1999, pp. 17ff. 30. Ikeda 1999, pp. 25–28. 31. Ma 1985, pp. 79–85. 32. Cai 1992, pp. 111–112; Luo 2001, p. 244. 33. Dong 1936; Rong 2001b, pp. 132–135. 34. Cai 1992, pp. 109–110; cf. Duan 2000, pp. 148–151 and passim. 35. Chen 1955, p. 300. 36. Chen 1996, p. 383. 37. Osabe 1990; Fu 1992; Tang and Fu 1994; Cheng 1994b, p. 24. 38. Fu 1965, pp. 138–139; Ma 1990, pp. 197–204. 39. Ma 1990, p. 205; JTS 82, pp. 2761–2765. 40. JTS 190A, p. 4986. 41. JTS 193, p. 5139. 42. TLSY 12.157, p. 237. 43. ALSSJ 1.5, 1.11. 44. See Abramson 2001, chapter 6; also Chapter 5 above.

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45. Backus 1981, pp. 14–37, 93, and passim. 46. Luo 2001. 47. Weinreich 1986, pp. 305–306. 48. TPGJ 159, p. 1142; TPGJ 453, p. 3699. 49. Romaine 1994, p. 33; cit. Hall 1997, p. 178. 50. Huang 1981, pp. 87–89; Drompp 1992; Li 1994. Sogdians played a particularly prominent role as translators, envoys, and intermediaries from the second century up through the Tang (Trombert 2003; de la Vassière 2004). 51. Takata 2000, pp. 62–65. 52. THY 33, p. 725. 53. Norman 1988, pp. 24–25, 185–187; Pulleyblank 1991, pp. 3–11. 54. “Inscribed at the Southern Pavilion of the Prefectural Office after completing the collection of the fall tax” (“Zheng qiushui bi ti jun nanting”), BJYJ 11, p. 219. 55. JTS 104, p. 3212. 56. For non-Han poets in the Tang, see Xie 1981. 57. Abramson 2001, pp. 103–107, 114–116. 58. Leslie 1981–1983; Lin 1993; Rong 2001a, pp. 275–386 passim. 59. Ikeda 1999, pp. 3–6. 60. See Drake 1943; Chang 1980. 61. See Drake 1935–1937; Hsü 1986. 62. Lieu 1985; Lin 1998, pp. 398ff. 63. Thoraval 1991. 64. Ikeda 1999, p. 5. 65. Chen 1988, pp. 205–208; Arakawa 1998; Luo 2000; de la Vaissière 2004, pp. 135–143. 66. Forte 1992, pp. 228–231; cit. Sen 2003, p. 35. For the promotion of Daoism, see Strickmann 1982; Sen 2003, pp. 44–46. 67. Cui 1994, pp. 347–351. Cui convincingly argues that a considerable amount of sinicization and hanicization took place in Northeast China, suggesting that what the center saw underlying the region’s separatist tendencies as “barbarization” was actually the formation of a regional identity through mutual acculturation and assimilation (Cui 1994, pp. 324–330). 68. Chan 1978a, pp. 21–22. 69. Koga 1970; Duan 1995. 70. XTS 135, p. 4571. 71. Wang 1976; Abramson 2001, pp. 293–355. 72. Cheng 1994b, p. 27. 73. Chen 1988, p. 206. 74. Ikeda 1999, p. 35. 75. STJH 3, p. 32. 76. E.g., Chen 1955, p. 150 (magicians); Chen 1980b, pp. 172–176 passim (eunuchs). 77. Sen 2003, pp. 44–53. Indian physicians were particularly valued for their techniques to increase longevity. 78. Gu 1962; Shi 1981; Chen 1992c. 79. Ise 1967; Zhang 1986a, p. 143; Li 1988. 80. Li 2000, pp.138ff. 81. Chen 1980b, pp. 181–184. 82. Lindner 1983. 83. See, e.g., JTS 64.2430, 88.2872, 137.3764.

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84. Song 1987; Lai 1988. Traditional Chinese economic thought viewed commerce as parasitic on the foundational agricultural economy; rulers in the Tang and other dynasties largely valued it for the importation of luxury goods that promoted their prestige and legitimacy. 85. Yan 1969; Wang 1989. 86. Liu 1988. 87. Zhang 1928. 88. Shi 1983; Tang and Lin 1989; Shang 1994, pp. 23–68. 89. Chen 1980b, pp. 177–185 90. Ma 1990, p. 206; for gentry standards in the Tang, see Chen 1955, pp. 80–84. 91. Abramson 2001, pp. 104–105. 92. Ma 1990, pp. 222ff. 93. Ma 1985, pp. 79ff. 94. Ise 1965–1967; Cen 1982a; Zhou 1987; Zhang Yun 1991; Tang 1994; Zhang 1995. 95. For the debate over the Uighurs, see Drompp 1986. More generally, see Drompp 2005. 96. The large scale of Inner Asian migrations into China in the early Tang— potentially entailing more than one million persons—had a significant impact on the ethnic composition of the empire. Some scholars estimate that in 639 non-Han migrants made up 6 to 7 percent of the total population of the empire and 12 to 14 percent of the population of North China. Calculations of the readily identifiable non-Han population at various periods in the Tang range from 10 to 19 percent (Li 2003, pp. 63, 67). 97. For Nanzhao’s treatment of captives, see MS 4.38, 6.57. 98. Chen 1955, p. 202. 99. Sperling 1979; Backus 1981, pp. 116–122, 150–151 and passim; Hayashi 1986. 100. Chen 1980b, pp. 177–179. 101. Ishida 1941; Po 1954–1956; Eberhard 1956; Umemura 1980; Jiang 1996; Ikeda 1999. 102. Cheng 1994a. 103. Ikeda 1999, pp. 2–53 passim. 104. For the development of Tang frontier cities, see Cheng 2002, pp. 155ff. 105. Chen 1955, p. 178. 106. MS 1, passim; JTS 194a, pp. 5170–5171; ZZTJ 205, p. 6505; Cen 1982a, p. 449; Cui 1994, pp. 96ff, 319ff. 107. THY 73, pp. 1576–1577. 108. Braund 1998. 109. See, e.g., ZZTJ 207, p. 6858; JTS 185B, p. 4808. 110. TLSY 8.88–90, 9.109, 16.232. 111. Rong 1996, pp. 247–265. 112. Cen 1982a, pp. 444–446. 113. Mori 1974; Kwong 1986. 114. For polo, see Suzuki 1970; Liu 1985; Bauer 1991; Ji 1993; Luo 1996. 115. Miyakawa 1960; Taniguchi 1975; Kawamoto 1981; Sekio 1989; Honey 1996. 116. Cai Yong, “Discussing objections to Xia Yun’s request for a campaign against the Xianbei” (“Nan Xia Yun qing fa Xianbei yi”), Quan Shanggu Sandai Qin Han Sanguo Liuchao wen 73.2a, p. 870b.

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117. TDZLJ 110, passim; Cui 1994, pp. 285–286. 118. JTS 187A, p. 4874. 119. Chen 1955, p. 233; Drummond and Nelson 1994. 120. For the official education system, see McMullen 1988, pp. 29–66. 121. Yang 1952; Zhang 1986b. 122. Yan 1969; Dai 1985; Wang 1994. 123. Abramson 2001, pp. 118–124. 124. Liu 1958; Wang 1965; Qiu 1971; Ren 1972; Fang 1985; Lin 1988; Zhang 1995a. 125. Guiyuan congtan, pp. 65–66; THY 33, p. 711; THY 72, pp. 1539–1542 passim. 126. Lu 1992. Conclusion 1. QTW 767, p. 3538b; QTS 607, p. 7008; XTS 60, p. 1609; XTS 71B, p. 2340. 2. QTW 767, pp. 3539c–3540a. 3. Present-day Kaifeng. It would not have been lost on Tang readers that one of the most famous stories of a ruler recognizing hidden talent was set in Daliang. Wuji, the Prince of Xinling (d. 243 B.C.E.), while in Daliang became the patron of a gatekeeper and a dog butcher who later carried out a great feat of derring-do to repay the prince’s favor (Chan 1978a, pp. 77–78). 4. Lu Jun (774–860) had served in important posts in Guangzhou and elsewhere and would have come into frequent contact with non-Han, particularly merchants from South and West Asia (JTS 177, pp. 4591–4593; XTS 182, pp. 5367–5369). 5. At the time Dashi referred to the Abbasid Caliphate. Scholars usually call individuals from Dashi “Arabs,” though this does not accurately reflect the ethnic heterogeneity of the Caliphate. In particular, Persians, designated as Bosi prior to the Islamic conquest in the mid-seventh century, may not have been consistently labeled Bosi in the later period. If Muslim, they may have been placed in the category of Dashi. While nothing more is known about Li Yansheng’s ancestry or religion, the common use of the surname Li by Persians (Bosi) in late Tang texts (Lin 1998, pp. 404–405) suggests that Li Yansheng might have been a Persian Muslim. 6. Lu Wan, after faithfully serving the first Western Han emperor for decades, staged an unsuccessful rebellion in Northeast China in 195 B.C.E. and subsequently defected to the Xiongnu (SJ 93, pp. 2637–2639; cf. CHC 1, p. 447). 7. Li Shaoqing is better known as Li Ling. 8. Jin Midi was a Xiongnu prince who, following his capture, served the Western Han as a high-ranking minister. He is frequently cited as the archetypal nonHan who loyally serves a Chinese ruling house. 9. QTW 821, p. 3834c. 10. Chen 2005, p. 323. 11. Chen 1955, p. 137. 12. Graham 1990; Leslie 1953; cf. my Chapter 5. 13. Abramson 2001, p. 454, n. 18. 14. A computer search of the twenty-five dynastic histories (zhengshi) reveals no uses of the term fanxin or huxin (“barbarian heart), and only one pre-Tang use of the terms yixin (“barbarian heart”) and huaxin in a very limited and generic context (BS 73, p. 2534).

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15. “Dongcheng laofu zhuan,” QTW 720, p. 3285c; TPGJ 480, p. 3995. (Chen 1992a, pp. 419–422). The “eastern district” refers to the eastern suburbs of Chang’an. 16. Chen 1992a, pp. 419–422. 17. For the contemporary “barbarization” of Northeast China, see TYL 8.1009, pp. 695–696. 18. This title does not appear in Hucker 1985. It seems to have been a temporary appointment made for the duration of Aluohan’s visit to the Eastern Roman Empire. 19. “Epitaph of the Great Tang former Persian grand chieftain, General of the Right Encampment Guard, Supreme Pillar of the State, Dynasty-Founding Duke of Jincheng Commandery, and Persian Army General” (“Da Tang gu Bosiguo daqiuzhang, you tunweijiangjun, shangzhuguo, Jincheng jun kaiguogong, Bosi jun qiu zhi ming”), ll. 6–7, Lin 1990a, pp. 95–96. Lin argues that Aluohan (which he reads as Abraham) was Jewish. 20. See Lin 1990a, p. 95, ll. 9–10; cf. DTXY, p. 534. 21. Hall 1997, p. 44. 22. JTS 196A, p. 5223; cf. Beckwith 1987, p. 24. 23. CHC 3, pp. 759–787, passim; Wang 1963, passim; Fu 1965. 24. ZZTJ 258, pp. 8407–8409. 25. Peterson 1971. 26. For the construction of China as a modern nation-state in the past two centuries, see Dittmer and Kim 1993; Duara 1993. For China in the premodern period, see Loewe 1994.

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Abbasids, 139, 221 n.5 academies, 176 Account of wide-ranging matters (Bo wu zhi), 96 acculturation, xviii, 5, 14–17, 34, 94, 158–63, 170, 177–78, 219 n.67. See also barbarization; sinicization adoption, 155, 158 Aluohan, 153, 185–86, 222 nn.18–19 America, 114, 172 Amitabha Buddha, 110, 121 Amoghavajra, 56, 74, 81, 199 nn. 2, 5 Analects (Lun yu), 86, 103 ancestry, xx, 99–104, 147, 150–55, 175, 201 n.8: creation of fictional, xxii, 79, 150–54, 218 n.10; as criterion for ethnic identity, viii, xi, 27–28, 102, 187, 202 n.48; ethnically mixed, 89, 101–3 An clan, 153 animality, xvii–xviii, 27–33, 43, 51, 59–60, 63, 74–75, 89, 99, 112–13, 211 n.60. See also specific animals An Lushan, 3–4, 21, 27–28, 39, 45, 49, 80, 92, 102, 136, 153, 158, 174: physiognomy of, 85, 89, 92, 99; rebellion of, xiv, 19, 31, 39, 89, 105, 149, 162, 187 Arabs, 92, 139, 161, 221 n.5 Armenians, 202 n.48 assimilation, xii, 5, 13–17, 66, 132, 167–70, 219 n.67: by non-Han to Han, xi–xii, 13, 33, 37, 117, 184; state ideologies of, 141–49. See also barbarization; sinicization Ba. See Sichuan baixing, 31, 129–31, 133, 148, 177

barbarian, 3, 61, 81, 201 n.8: generic identity of, x; heart of a, 184–86, 221 n.14 barbarization, 15, 19, 49, 60, 71, 128–29, 163, 165, 168, 171, 176–78, 184–85, 212 n.74, 219 n.67 Barth, Fredrik, 13 beards, xvii–xviii, 4, 84, 87, 90, 92 bestiality. See animality bianhu (registered household). See registration blacksmithing, 11 boars, 89 body, 9, 78, 83–107: Buddhist-inspired alterations of, 70–71; as marker of nonHan ethnicity, xviii, 33, 68, 93, 104–6; as metaphor for ethnicized geography, 119; nudity of, 93; odor of, 63; size of, x, 92–93, 101, 134; relation of geography to, 95–99; as theme of discourse on ethnic identity, xiii. See also beards; eyes; hair; noses; physiognomy; race; skin color; tattoos Bo Juyi, 105, 116, 136, 160 Book of John Mandeville, 113 Book of rites, 203 n.28 Brown, Melissa, 5 Buddhism, 52–82: association with nonHan groups of, 56–82; clerics of, viii, 10, 54, 72–75, 84, 132–33, 140, 163–66, 204 n.53, 209 n.67; debates on, 54, 61, 64, 67, 75; edicts and texts attacking, viii, xxi, 54–59, 62, 65, 68–70, 80, 96, 207 n.30; foreign origins of, 56–82, 207 n.31; links with trade of, 166; persecution of, 64;

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Buddhism (cont.) physiognomy and, 97; sinicizing role of, 161–62, 164, 169; sinicization of, 6, 32, 53, 206 n.2; Tang state’s relations with, 54–56; texts on, viii, xxii–xxiii, 72, 159, 207 n.30. See also Huichang suppression Bureau of Receptions. See Department of Diplomatic Reception Byzantine empire, xii, 185. See also Eastern Romans Cai Yong, 175 camels, 30–31, 75 cannibalism, 204 n.81 captives, 14, 26, 46, 125, 135, 170 Central Asia. See Inner Asia Central Kingdom (zhongguo), 65–66, 69, 72, 75–78, 95, 109–10, 115–16, 119, 123, 146, 181, 183, 188 Central Plain (zhongyuan), 59, 109–11, 115, 152 Chang’an, 105, 109–10, 132, 140, 151, 169, 177, 184–85 Chen An (“The Chinese heart”), 179–89 Chen dynasty, 76 Cheng Chien-wen, 7 Chengqian, Crown Prince, 12, 33–34, 136, 177 Cheng Yan (“Announcement on drawing the barbarians inward”), 179–89 Cheng Yue, 171 Chen Yinke, 182, 184 Chen Zi’ang, 28, 118, 215 n.69 China: administrative boundaries of, 115–16; cohesiveness of, vii, 5, 182; identity of, vii, 189–91; relation to Han ethnic identity, 6, 119, 181–90; terms for, ix, 75–76. See also Central Kingdom; Central Plain; Nine Provinces Chinese (language). See Sinitic Chinese culture: identity of, xi, 6, 13, 15, 66–68, 79, 115, 148, 174, 183–84; non-Han adoption of, xii, xx, 167–69; terms for, ix, 180–81 Chineseness, x, 5–6, 13, 16, 67, 174, 181–90 choronyms. See place of origin Chu Suiliang, 115, 118–19

civilization, 66, 115, 135: definitions of, x, 181; process of, 174–78 civil office, xi, 87 civil virtues (wen), xvi, 15, 90, 166 clans, 155, 167 class, 16 Classic of changes (Yi jing), 66 Classic of filial piety (Xiao jing), 60 Classic of mountains and rivers (Shanhai jing), 94, 96, 203 n.46 Classic of poetry (Shi jing), 66 climate, 78, 97–98 clothing, 12, 15, 18, 21, 34, 65, 67, 78, 89, 176–77, 184; of “barbarians” (hufu), 46, 88, 163 Cold Food Festival, 93, 202 n.43 Collected carved jade (Diaoyu ji), 103 concubines, 157 Confucianism, 6, 22, 36, 51, 61–62, 65–66, 103–4, 130, 162, 166, 175, 184, 219 n.67: and elite criticism of non-Han culture, 34, 45, 59–60, 70, 127, 138, 148, 157; texts of, xxiii, 12, 16, 43, 51, 86, 113, 160, 183, 200 n.8; views on culture of, 27, 85–86, 167. See also filiality; jiaohua; literati elites; neoConfucianism; propriety cosmology, 75–80, 95–97, 100–101, 109, 113, 121, 209 n.80 crafts, xii, 112 cremation, 35, 71 Critical essays (Lun heng). See Wang Chong Crossley, Pamela, 10 cruelty. See savagery Cui Hao, 212 n.74 culture: as criterion for ethnic identity, xi, xxi; cultural difference, vii; relative to ethnicity, vii, xix–xxi; state regulation of, xiii; as theme of discourse on ethnic identity, xiii–xv. See also Chinese culture; customs Curtin, Philip, 139 customs (fengsu), 15, 35–36, 42, 71, 78, 94, 98, 135, 157–59, 174–77 Daizong, Tang Emperor, 56, 80, 85 Daliang, 180 dance, xii–xiii, 11, 20–21, 92, 105, 164–65 Daodejing. See Laozi Daoism, xxi, 56, 61–68, 80, 84, 111, 114, 132, 161–62

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Index Daozhou, 136 Da Qin, 111 Dashi, 180, 186, 221 n.5 Department of Diplomatic Reception (Honglu si), 72, 94 dependent states (shuguo), 122 deportment (li): xii, 51, 86, 89–95. See also Confucianism; propriety de Vos, George, 12 Dezong, Tang Emperor, 26, 38, 40, 56, 75, 103 Di, 14, 27, 43, 66, 97, 208 n.41 Dingling, 112 Di Renjie, 110 dogs, ix, 28–29, 32, 203–4 n.46 Dong Zhuo, 106 Dou Jiande, 129 dragons, 89, 103–4 drinking, 18–19 Du Fu, 31, 49, 89, 213 n.108 Dugu clan, 152 Duke of Zhou, 69 Dunhuang, xxiii, 139, 156, 160, 171, 174 Eastern Han dynasty. See Han dynasty Eastern Romans, 161, 222 n.18. See also Byzantine Empire Eastern Türks. See Türks, empires of education, xi. See also academies; jiaohua; literate elites elephants, 204 n.49 elites. See non-Han elites; Tang elites Elliott, Mark, 2 empires, 11: ethnic diversity in, xii; views toward ethnicity of, 141–49, 190–91 Ennin, 73, 132, 139 envoys, 94, 132 Ethiopians, 97 ethnic boundaries, x, xiii, 10, 13, 18, 46, 138, 141, 152–53, 157, 165, 182 ethnic difference, vii, 80, 173, 177–78, 181–84, 189–90. See also ancestry; body; culture; politics ethnic groups: mediation and mediators between, xviii–xix, 10, 13, 16, 140, 153; interaction between, 127–28, 138, 163; taxonomies of, ix, 48, 58, 77, 96–99, 103, 125, 131, 134–35, 141, 173, 185–86. See also subethnic groups ethnic identity: assertions of, viii, 8, 159;

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changes in, 124, 150–78, 201 n.7; discourse on, xiii, xv, xx, 4–5, 9, 11, 17, 30, 52, 106, 127, 141; emergence of, 10; markers of, viii, xi, xix, 6–10, 87–89, 181, 187; pro-Buddhist discourse on, 81; persistence of, 13, 164, 171, 174, 202 n.48; relative to cultural difference, vii, 13, 20, 181–84; themes of, xiii, xxi, 4–5, 68, 110–11, 148, 181–84. See also Other; Self ethnicity: concept of, x, 1–17, 200–201 nn. 1, 6; relationship to culture, xix–xxi; theories of, xix ethnicization, 10–11, 171, 183 ethnic markers. See ethnic identity, markers of ethnic pogroms, 105–6 ethnic stratification, 150, 164–67. See also Non-Han (people), professions of ethnogenesis: of the Han, xxi, 6–7, 9; of non-Han, 27–28, 47, 122, 142 ethnographies, ix–x, 15, 35, 41–42, 78–80, 93–103, 106, 112–13, 202 n.49, 214 nn.20–21 ethnonyms, 3, 14, 20, 27, 47, 87 eunuchs, 55, 88, 95, 105, 164 eyes, 87–90, 105, 107, 210 n.20, 213 n. 123 falcons, 30–31 Falin, 75–78, 81 family, xi, 133 fan, 2–3, 124, 129, 143: contrast to Indians, viii, 81; use in Buddhist texts of, viii, 77; use of, ix fanfang (non-Han districts), 139. See also non-Han (people), communities within the Tang empire of fanghuan (release and return), 132–34 fanjiang, xvi–xix, 10, 22, 25, 36–40, 48–49, 91, 105, 136, 151, 164–65. See also An Lushan; Geshu Han; Pugu Huai’en fengsu. See customs filiality (xiao), 32, 35, 42–43, 51, 55, 59, 66, 71, 95, 138, 148, 168, 187 five domains (wufu), 113, 120 Five Dynasties, xv food, 162–63 Fotudeng, 209 n.67 four cardinal directions, ix, 3, 96–97 foxes, 28, 33, 74, 203 n.28

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frontiers, xv–xvi, xxii, 10–11, 16–20, 24, 31, 46, 108, 115, 119–25, 141, 143, 153, 158, 169–74: common identity of, 146, 162, 167, 174, 219 n.67; ethnic change on, 168–73; literature on, xvi, 18–19, 47, 110, 116; imperial strategies toward, 121–25; military elites on, 158, 160, 165–66, 169; society of, 158, 167; warfare on, 138, 143 fubing, 165 Fu Jian, 60, 62 funerals, 12, 28, 34–35, 93–94, 177, 204 n.49 Fuxi, 77 Fu Yi, 58–65, 69, 74–75, 80–81 Gaochang, 87, 117–19, 130, 171 Gao Juren, 105 Gao Lishi, 27–28, 95 Gao Shi, xv, 18–19, 48, 215 n.69 Gaozong, Tang Emperor, 33, 56, 90, 117, 206 n.10 Gaozu, Tang Emperor, 56, 58, 62, 67, 75 gender, 21, 88, 92, 157 genealogy, 150–56: as criterion for ethnic identity, xi; non-Han practices of, xii; as theme of discourse on ethnic identity, xiii–xv, 59–61, 79. See also ancestry; heredity; race genealogies, xii, 13, 108, 150–56, 160, 168, 200 n.8, 218 n.10 gentrification, 167–69. See also ethnic identity, changes in gentry. See literate elites geography, 42, 79, 108–25, 175: administrative, 121–25; and Buddhism, 75–80, 110, 209 n.80; as a criterion for ethnic identity, xi, 6, 59–60, 68–69, 108, 183; mythical, 121, 154, 203–4 n.46; physical differences coming from, 95–99; texts on, xiii, 108, 115, 122, 202 n.49. See also climate; ethnographies; place of origin; qi Germans, 12, 97, 135, 139 Geshu Han, xvi–xviii, 27–28, 102, 153 ghosts. See spirits given names, 155–56 gorillas, 32 Goths, 97, 122 Great Tang record of the Western Regions (Da Tang Xiyu ji), 78

greed, 43–45 Greeks, 97, 114, 137, 154, 187 Guangzhou, viii, 131, 140 Guan Yu, xvii guwen (old text), 179–80, 182–83 hair, 32, 70–71, 78, 87–88, 99, 105, 135, 154, 163, 177, 213 n.123 Han dynasty, xxi, 33, 47, 65, 101, 106, 111, 116–24, 143–47, 180, 188, 207 n.31 Han (ethnicity): definition of Han Self, ix–x, 26, 51, 77, 108, 142, 186–91; identity of, x–xi, 6, 8, 13, 71, 174; terms for, ix, 59–60, 87, 199 n.4, 201 n.9 hanicization, 14–16, 36, 151–63, 167–69, 174–78, 180, 184, 219 n.67. See also assimilation Han (people): criticism of non-Han customs by elites of the, 157; defining the Other and the Self by, 179–91; perceptions of the Other, ix, 58, 77, 89, 99, 117, 125, 144–45 Han Yu, xvi, 32, 54, 58, 65–68, 71, 81, 166, 183, 186, 208 n.38 Harrell, Stevan, 5 hawk, 89 Heavenly Qaghan, 158. See also Taizong, Tang Emperor, use of title “Heavenly Qaghan” by Helms, Mary, 11, 73 Hemp-robed Master’s Physiognomic Techniques (Mayi xiangfa), 89, 92 heredity, 99–104, 154, 183–84 History of the Han (Han shu), 42, 77, 96, 108, 124 History of the southern barbarians (Man shu), 215 n.69 History of the Sui (Sui shu), 42, 103, 215 n.69 homeland. See place of origin Homer, 29 Honglu si. See Bureau of Receptions Honig, Emily, 7 horses, 30–32 hostages, 119, 133, 176 hu, 19–20, 22, 31, 59–63, 87, 97, 99, 116–17, 135, 145: contrast to Indians, viii, 81; use of, viii–ix, 4, 67, 77, 80, 201 n.7 hua, 2–3, 9, 59–60, 146, 180–81, 183

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Index Huahu jing (Sutra on the conversion of the barbarians), 57 Huainanzi, 96 Huangdi, 9, 154 Huichang suppression (of Buddhism), 54, 68, 71–72, 132 Huns, 47 hunting, 18, 30, 174 Ikeda On, 171 illiteracy, 21 imperial family. See Tang imperial family India, viii–x, 56–57, 69, 72, 74–81, 87, 165, 207 n.30, 219 n.67 Indo-Europeans, 3–4. See also Iranians; Persians; Tocharians Inner Asia, 10, 17–21, 30–31, 44, 47, 63, 78, 90, 109, 115, 124, 128, 132, 136, 140, 143, 146, 158, 170. See also Sogdians; Türks; Western Regions inner-outer dichotomy, 109–11, 114, 127, 145, 181. See also ethnic boundaries insects, 29 insults, 27–28, 103, 134 intercultural brokers. See ethnic groups, mediation and mediators between Iranians, 20, 105, 131, 153. See also Persians Islam, 53, 97, 161, 221 n.5 Jambudvîpa, 209 n.80 Japanese, 21, 73, 130, 132, 139–40, 161, 176, 199 n.5 jewels, 11, 22, 32–33, 73, 85, 111–12, 166, 204 n.53 jiaohua (transformation through instruction), 16, 43, 59, 62, 64, 127, 130, 173–75, 183, 212 n.74 Jie, 3–4 jimizhou. See loose-rein prefectures Jin Dynasty, 53, 62, 97, 152 Jing, 208 n.41 Jin Midi, 180, 187, 221 n.8 jiuhu (“wine barbarians”). See taverns Judaism, 53, 161, 222 n.19 Kashmir, 68, 85, 112 Kebineng, 115 Khazanov, Anatoly, 172 Khitans, ix, 35–36, 122, 134, 136, 170 Khotan, 87, 153, 165

251

kingship, 39–40, 64, 90, 130, 136, 141, 176 kinship, 13, 49, 155. See also adoption; surnames, bestowal on non-Han by Tang court of Kirghiz, 71, 87, 101, 154 knights-errant (xia), 48, 162 Koguryo, 117–19, 135, 140. See also Koreans Koreans, 10, 21, 25–26, 35, 42, 132–34, 137–40, 161, 176, 199 n.5. See also Koguryo; Silla Kucha, 88, 207 n.23 Kumarajiva, 207 n.23 Kunlun Mountains, 96, 121 Kunlun slaves, 9, 11, 93, 121, 213 n.123 Kyrgyzstan, 162 language, xviii, xxiv–xxv, 12, 15, 17, 53–54, 61, 65, 67, 69, 78, 159–61, 206 n.3 Lao, 99, 130, 135, 138 Laozi, xxi, 56, 62–64, 68, 75–76, 151, 206 n.10. See also Huahu jing Laozi, 60, 114 Later Tang dynasty, 168–69 Lattimore, Owen, 16–17 legal codes, 100, 124, 126, 138, 157, 173: distinctions between Han and nonHan in, 127, 129–34 levirate, 157 li, 42, 87, 91, 93, 212 n.74, 213 n.1. See also deportment; ritual Liang dynasty, 54, 59 Li Bo, 20, 22, 47–48, 105, 151 Li Chengqian. See Chengqian, Crown Prince Li clan. See Tang imperial family Li Deyu, 72 Li He, 49 Li Huaiguang, 40 Li Keyong, 189, 204 n.55 Li Linfu, 21, 48–49, 169 Li Ling, 101, 154, 174, 221 n.7 lions, 29 Li Shangyin, 20 Li Shaoqing, 180, 221 n.7. See also Li Ling literate elites (shi), xv–xvi, xxiii, 12, 50, 72, 85–86, 91, 148, 167, 181–84, 199–200 n.8 literati. See literate elites Liu clan, 151–52 Li Yansheng, 161, 180, 184, 187, 221 n.5

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Li Yi, 117 Li Zhou, 69 loose-rein prefectures (jimizhou), 11, 30, 122–27, 132, 138–39 loyalty, xii, xv, xviii, xx, 8, 23–41, 51, 55, 60, 69, 71, 89, 146, 168, 173, 186–89, 221 n.8. See also politics Lu Deming, 61 Lü Guang, 207 n.23 Luoyang, viii, 109–10, 119, 140, 151, 160 Luttwak, Edward, 122, 173 Lu Wan, 180, 221 n.6 Lu Xie, 85–86 magic, 11, 57, 73–74, 93, 164, 209 n.67 Mair, Victor, 3 Malgal, 40, 42, 134, 204 n.80 Malkin, Irad, 7 Man, 14–15, 27, 97, 119–20, 160, 202 n.49 Manchus, 2, 6 Manichaeism, 53, 57, 73, 161 Maps and gazetteer of the provinces and counties in the Yuanhe period (Yuanhe junxian tuzhi), 108, 215 n.69 marriage: as a boundary mechanism for Tang elites, 200 n.9; ethnic endogamy, 13, 156–58; ethnic intermarriage, xviii, 13, 61, 143, 154, 156–58, 167–68, 171, 184; non-Han marital customs, xii, 15, 157, 176 martiality (wu), xvi–xviii, 15, 47–50, 61, 63, 90–93, 98, 139, 165–66, 210–11 n.34 massacres. See ethnic pogroms medicine, 165, 219 n.67 Mencius, 27, 44 Meng Haoran, 48 merchants, 220 n.84: non-Han, xii, xix, 10, 20, 22, 33, 45, 125, 131–33, 139, 164, 166, 179; role on frontiers of, 153. See also trade diasporas mestizos, xiv, 91, 143, 146, 160 middlemen. See ethnic groups, mediation and mediators between migration, xiv, xxii, 10. 17, 125–29, 169–74: of Han settlers, 114–15, 173; of non-Han into China, 116–19, 127, 129, 133–34, 169–70, 220 n.96 military governors, 39, 49 militarization, 168–69 Mingdi, Han Emperor, 59, 62, 207 n.31

Miscellany from the Youyang Mountains (Youyang zazu), 214 n.21 Miyakawa Hisayuki, 175 monkeys, 211 n.60 monks. See Buddhism, clerics of morality, 67, 71, 79 mourning. See funerals music, xii–xiii, 21, 33–34, 45, 59, 78, 105, 160, 164 names. See given names; surnames Nanzhao, 119, 170, 173, 220 n.97 nationalism, 7, 41, 200 n.1 neo-Confucianism, 183. See also Confucianism Nestorian Christianity, 53, 71, 148, 161 Nine Clans of Zhaowu, 155 Nine Provinces (jiuzhou), 115–17, 124, 184 nomads, 7, 15, 19, 120, 128, 131; relationship with sedentary society of, 44, 47, 114, 122, 124, 172 non-Han culture: influences of, xv, 157–63, 167, 184–85 non-Han (people): assertion of ethnic identity, ix, xi, xviii, 13, 37–40, 77, 118, 142, 164–65, 171, 185–86, 201 n.8; assimilation of, vii; communities within the Tang empire of, 28, 117, 126, 131–33, 138–41, 153, 161, 163–64, 185–86; ethnic markers of, 12–13, 15; Han ancestry of, 101, 150–55; humanity of, x, 32, 58, 61, 76, 104, 148, 203–4 n.46; incorporation into the Tang Empire, xiv–xv, 110–11; martial skills of, xii; military service for Tang of, 124, 126, 136, 139, 163–64, 171; perceptions of other non-Han, 134, 185–86; professions of, xii, xv, 20, 28, 31, 92–93, 135, 150, 164–67; self-depictions of, 88, 185–86, 199 n.5; terminological usage of, 201 n.9. See also animality; ethnic stratification; fanjiang; stereotypes non-Han dynasties, 110, 125 North China, 99, 116, 125, 131, 139, 152, 212 n.74, 220 n.96 Northeast Asia, 134 Northeast China, xxii, 18–19, 38, 105, 162, 167–68, 185, 219 n.67 Northern and Southern Dynasties, xiv,

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Index xx, 15, 53, 63, 79–80, 86, 111, 139, 150, 181. See also individual dynasties Northern Dynasties, 147, 212 n.74 Northern Qi dynasty, 88, 164 Northern Wei dynasty, 54, 77, 110, 116, 122, 145, 151, 155 Northern Zhou dynasty, 110, 143, 147, 152, 184 noses, 4, 87–90, 105, 107, 213 n.108 Ordos, 109, 116–17, 124, 139 Orkhon Inscriptions, 41, 118, 141–42 Other: ethnic identity of, viii; idealization of, 11–12, 187; Han perception of, ix, xvii, 7, 179–91; utility in Tang society of the, xii, 165, 188. See also animality; utopias Ottomans, 122, 166 Padilla, Amado, 14 Paekche. See Koreans painting, xiii, 11 pastoralism, 31 Peach Blossom Spring, 111, 114 Pei Guangting, 43 Pei Ju, 117, 144 periphery, 5, 96, 110, 131 Persians, 11, 20, 33, 45, 87, 92, 137, 139, 153, 161, 165, 184–85, 187, 221 n.5. See also Iranians Peterson, Charles, 37 physical strength, 22 physiognomy, 68, 79, 84–90, 92, 98–104 pigs, 89 place of origin, 7, 19, 108, 132–33, 151–54, 171, 187 politics, xiii–xv, 181–91. See also loyalty polo, 174 propriety (li), xvii, 32, 42, 184, 210–11 n.34 Pugu Huai’en, 36–37, 80, 189, 199 n.5 Qapghan Qaghan, 44–45 qi, 92, 97–98 Qiang, 31, 62, 77, 116, 118, 122, 156, 169 Qin dynasty, 6, 92, 121, 144 Qing dynasty, 6 Quanzhou, 179 Queen Mother of the West, 111, 121

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race, xi, 9, 61. See also ancestry; genealogy rebellions, 24, 31, 36–37, 80, 138, 142, 162, 172, 189 recompense (bao), 32, 35, 80 Record of abstruse oddities (Xuan guai lu), 111 Records of the Grand Historian (Shi ji), 76, 96 regionalism, x, xx–xxi, 7, 167, 219 n.67 registered household (bianhu). See registration registration, 117, 126–29, 133, 157 religion, non-Han practice of, xii, 161–62; non-Han specialists in, xii, 11; as vector for cultural change, 174. See also individual religions rites, 12, 74, 147, 161 Rites of Zhou (Zhou li), 113, 214 n.26 ritual (li), xii, 34, 42, 51, 66–67, 69, 174–75 Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo yanyi), xvii Romans, 44, 97, 111, 122, 124, 129, 135, 137, 139, 154, 172–73, 175 Rong, 14, 29, 43, 66, 68, 77, 97, 144–45, 208 n.41 Rouran, 11, 115 Ruhai, 140 Rus’, 4 ´ Sakyamuni, 59, 67–69, 75, 77, 79 Sanskrit, 53?54, 76, 81, 159 savagery, 23, 41–42, 47, 89 Schafer, Edward, xii Scythians, 47, 50 Self, vii–viii, 23, 189 Shandong Clans, 152 Shatuo Türks, 168, 189 Shi Le, 3–4, 209 n.67 Shi Siming, 80, 89 Shi Xingchang, 147–48 Shu. See Sichuan Sichuan, 5, 7, 20, 43, 48, 66, 116–19, 122, 160, 162, 208 n.41 Silla, 138. See also Koreans sinicization, 14–16, 19, 36–37, 151–63, 167–69, 174–80, 184, 188, 219 n.67. See also acculturation Sinitic, ix, xxiv, 3–4, 62, 159–61, 199, n.4. See also language skin color, x, 93, 97, 213 n.123

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slavery, 42, 125–26, 133–38, 164–67, 171–72: rhetorical use of, ix, 9, 136–37 Smith, Anthony, 1 social mobility, 16, 48, 84–85, 99, 150–52, 157, 161, 164 Sogdians, xvi, 10, 13, 21, 28, 80, 87–88, 105, 117, 131, 139–40, 153–56, 159, 161, 164, 170–71, 185, 219 n.50 Song Cha, 102–3, 106 Song dynasty, x, xx, 141, 150, 178, 182–84, 191 sources, x, xxii–xxv, 3–4, 77, 91, 112–13, 145, 154, 199 nn.4–5. See also Buddhism, texts on; ethnographies; geography, texts on; and titles of specific works South Asia, 78, 131. See also India South China, 5, 11, 20–21, 42, 95, 136, 200 n.9. See also Lao; Man Southeast Asia, x, 9, 11, 93, 131 Southern Dynasties, xviii, 85, 146 spirits, 31, 60, 213 n.123. See also foxes; supernatural powers Spring and autumn annals (Chun qiu), 66, 160 Sri Lanka, 74, 99 stereotypes, xix–xx, 18–51, 58, 63, 67, 126, 135, 165 students, 133, 176 subethnic groups, 7, 19–20, 160 Sui dynasty, xiv, 15, 35, 64, 76, 117, 129, 143–47, 169 supernatural powers, 28, 33, 92–93, 104: of Buddhist monks, viii, 73–75 surnames, 19–20, 151–58, 168; bestowal on non-Han by Tang court, 155, 158 Suzong, Tang Emperor, 39, 56 Tacitus, 12, 139 Taiping, Tang Princess, 70 Taizong, Tang Emperor, 12, 31, 34–35, 56–58, 62, 74, 86, 90, 98, 184, 187, 200 n.9; Inner Asian cultural influences on, 91; territorial strategy of, 117–18; use of title “Heavenly Qaghan” by, 137, 177; views on nonHan in the Tang empire of, 122–23, 144–48, 182 Tang elites x, 8, 13, 76, 99, 109, 160, 163, 177–78; ambiguity and anxiety

toward ethnic identity by, vii, xvii–xviii, 18, 20, 73, 174, 190; assertions of ethnic identities by, 8, 17; construction of ethnic difference by, 181–84; frontier or military service of, xvi, xviii, 36, 125, 166, 215 n.69; military professionals among, 91; non-Han ethnic origins of, xi, xxi, 39, 60, 80–81, 91, 102–3, 143, 151–53, 217 n.137; views of non-Han, 36, 166, 174. See also frontiers, military elites on; literate elites Tang imperial family: Chinese culture and, 12; ethnic origins and ancestry of, xi, xxi, 13, 56, 60, 151, 206 n.10; use of non-Chinese culture by, 56–57, 91, 158, 174 Tang state: contribution of non-Han ethnic groups toward, 50, 74; imperial discourse of, 62, 145–49, 173; ideologies of ethnic separation and assimilation of, 141–49; management of non-Han groups and territories, 24, 41, 110–11, 118–19, 127–28, 141–49, 154–55; membership in, 146; relations with non-Han polities, 43–45, 173 Tarim basin, 11 Tatabï, ix, 104, 134, 136 tattoos, 27, 99, 212 n.101 taverns, 20, 22, 92, 105, 165 taxes, 124, 126–31, 133 Thais, 134 thaumaturgy. See magic Three Teachings debates. See Buddhism, debates on Tibetans, ix, xv, xvii, 26–29, 37, 43, 77, 80, 116, 138, 160, 170, 173–74, 185, 187 tigers, 33, 89 Tocharians, 3, 207 n.31 tombs, 29, 33, 45, 88, 90, 94, 159; of Tang emperors, 90–91 toponyms, 116–17 trade diasporas, 139–40, 156–57 tribes, xviii, 10, 120, 122, 125, 133–34, 138–39, 171–72 tribute, 29, 44, 73, 136–37 Tribute of Yu (Yu Gong), 42, 113, 115, 117, 120, 123, 214 n.26 Tuoba, 77, 151–52, 212 n.73, 218 n.11 Turfan. See Gaochang

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Index Turks, 139 Türks, ix, xvi–xviii, 11–12, 21, 24, 28, 47–48, 90, 98, 105, 115, 117, 131, 153, 165, 170; empires of, 10, 24, 34–35, 41, 44, 60, 118, 122–23, 134, 137, 141–49, 169, 184. See also Shatuo Türks Tuyuhun, 41, 45, 205 n.85 Uighurs, 37, 43–44, 47, 49, 80, 88, 138, 154, 161, 170, 185, 189 utopias, 12, 111–12 Vajrabodhi, viii–ix, 50, 52, 74, 77, 81, 185–86, 199 n.2 Von Glahn, Richard, 16 waiguoren (foreigners, “people from external lands”), 131–34, 157–58 Wang Chong (Lun heng), 100, 183 Wang Wei, xv Wang Yifang, 175 Wang Zhaojun, 174 warfare, xii, xvii, 10, 24–26, 46–47, 127, 135–37, 171–72. See also martiality Wei dynasty, 53, 152 Wei, Tang Empress, 70 Wei Zheng, 145–46 Wei Zongqing, 72 wen. See civil virtues Wen, Zhou King, 75, 77, 154 Wendi, Sui Emperor, 41, 56, 143 Wen Tingyun, 101 Wen Yanbo, 117, 146 Wenzong, Tang Emperor, 56 Western Asia, 132 Western Regions (Xiyu), 61–62, 74, 76, 87, 92, 119, 162, 209 n.67. See also Gaochang; Khotan; Kucha Western Zhou dynasty. See Zhou dynasty wilderness, 114–15, 120–21 wolves, 28 women, 20, 105 wu. See martiality Wu, David, 5 Wu, Tang and Zhou Emperor/Empress, 56, 118, 134, 185 Wu(di), Emperor of the Han, 117–18, 144 Wu(di), Emperor of the Liang, 98

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Wu(di), Emperor of the Northern Wei, 64 Wusun, 112–13 Wuzong, Tang Emperor, 56, 68, 132, 154 Xianbei, 77, 115, 212 n.73 Xianzong, Tang Emperor, xv, 56, 69, 131, 208 n.38 Xiao Yu, 59 Xieli Qaghan, 145, 147 Xinjiang, 92, 110 Xiongnu, 28, 47, 101, 119, 151, 154, 221 n.8 Xuanzang, 57, 78–79, 207 n.30 Xuanzong, Tang Emperor, xiv, xvi, 27–28, 31, 36, 39, 45, 56, 85, 95, 149 Xueyantuo, 115, 145–46 Yang, Precious Consort, 39, 158 Yangdi, Sui Emperor, 42, 144 Yang Su, 64 Yangzhou, 140, 144 Ye Fashan, 74 Yellow Emperor. See Huangdi Yi, 14, 67, 97, 116, 120, 146 Yingzhou, 18–19 Yixia lun (“Treatise on aliens and Han”), xxi Yu, Xia King (sage-king), 75, 77, 95, 108, 115, 214 n.26 Yuan clan. See Tuoba Yuan Tiangang, 89 Yuan Zhen, 105 Yue, 145 Yuezhi. See Tocharians Yu Zhining, 34–35 Zhanghuai, Crown Prince, 94 Zhangsun clan, 160 Zhangsun Wuji, 100, 152 Zhang Yue, 24–25 Zhaozong, Tang Emperor, 43 Zhiyi, 76 Zhou dynasty (pre-Qin), 7, 9, 68, 118 Zhou dynasty (under Empress Wu), 56 Zhuangzi, 62–63, 76 Zhu Wen, 189 Zoroastrianism, 53, 71, 140, 156, 161 Zuo commentary (Zuo zhuan), 25, 160

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Acknowledgments

My initial debt of gratitude is to the Sidwell Friends School and the teachers and mentors there who first introduced me to the study of Chinese history and language: Lucia Pierce and Dawn Sun. Thanks to a scholarship established in the memory of Sidwell alumnus John Zeidman, I had the opportunity to study at Beijing Normal University in 1987 and 1988. In the summer of 1988 I spent six weeks traveling the Silk Road from Xi’an to Kashgar and began an enduring interest in the history and culture of the non-Han peoples of China. I am deeply grateful to those who inspired me to explore both Chinese and Inner Asian culture and language as the best means to understanding premodern China in its entirety: Peter Bol, Tony DeBlasi, Elizabeth Endicott, Howard Goodman, and the late S¸ inasi Tekin at Harvard; Ilse Cirtautas at the University of Washington; and Yu Taishan and Xue Zongzheng, whom I had the good fortune to meet while spending the summer of 1991 in Beijing and Xinjiang thanks to fellowships from Harvard College and the Mellon Foundation. A year in Istanbul courtesy of a Fulbright-Hayes fellowship allowed me to gain an in-depth understanding of Inner Asian history and improve my facility in ancient and modern Turkic languages. I would like to thank the various people who supported my stay in Istanbul and made it an academically enriching experience: Filiz Çag˘man at the Topkapı Palace Museum Library, Gülçin Çandarlıog˘lu at Mimar Sinan University, Süreyya Ersoy and Ülkü Inal at the Istanbul Branch Office of the Turkish Fulbright Commission, and Tony Greenwood at the American Institute in Turkey. This book is heavily based on the doctoral dissertation I completed in 2001 for the Department of East Asian Studies, Princeton University. While I was a graduate student at Princeton, including a one-year stay in Beijing, this work benefited from the support, advice, and criticism of numerous persons. Yü Ying-shih and Stephen Teiser from Princeton and

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Tom Allsen from The College of New Jersey provided corrections and suggestions that made the book immeasurably better. During my year in Beijing, courtesy of the Committee for Scholarly Communications with China and the American Council of Learned Societies, I was able to exploit the Sinitic materials fully and gain insight into some of the latest research on the Tang thanks to Rong Xinjiang, Wang Xiaofu, and Lin Meicun from Beijing University, Yu Taishan and Huang Zhengjian from the Institute of History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Ning Xin from Beijing Normal University. Virginia Bower, Nicola Di Cosmo, Ping Foong, Lu Yang, and Shane McCausland looked at earlier drafts of the material on physiognomy and mortuary art. I am also thankful to those whose teaching and advice were particularly valuable throughout my graduate career: Jerry Clinton, Peter Golden, Martin Heijdra, Susan Naquin, and Denis Twitchett. My years at Princeton and my summers spent studying Japanese and Russian were funded by a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, Nihongo Studies in Kanazawa, a FLAS grant, a Donald and Mary Hyde Research Fellowship, a Whiting Fellowship, and Princeton University. Most of the material from the dissertation relating to the artistic depiction of non-Han in the Tang was published in 2003, and thus does not appear in this book, but the careful editing of that article by Nicola Di Cosmo and Don Wyatt helped me refine some of the ideas on ethnicity that appear in the book. I am also thankful for the work of University of Pennsylvania Press’s Peter Agree and Christopher Hu, and the anonymous reader. This book would not have seen the light of day without the steady encouragement of two individuals. Victor Mair’s belief in the project and his constant stream of suggestions for the manuscript have been a constant inspiration. Finally, through several years of moves, job changes, and all their attendant distractions, my wife, Kara, has provided the essential motivation to complete the project.