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Qin and Han Dynasty Seals 大印

Qin and Han Dynasty Seals

The political organization of the Qin and Han dynasties can also be examined through the seals found in graves and other digs. Seals often contain exact titles and when placed in a hierarchy can tell us much about the bureaucracy. During the Qin dynasty there were Nine Chamberlains (Jin Qing): Taiyi Cheng - aide to the Imperial Physician; Du Chuan - Director of the Capital Boats; Du Shui Cheng - Vice-director-in-chief of the Waterways; Lang Zhong Zuo Tian - Left Vice-director of the Interior Attendants (and supposedly there would be one for the right side as well); Wei Shi Cheng - Vice-director of the Palace Garrison; Jun Zuo You Di - Left and Right Liason Hostels for the Commandry; Tai Hang; Gong Si Kong - Palace Construction Office; and Su Bang - Defender of the Dependent State.

By dating seals, it is possible to see what areas grew and elaborated their structures and to contrast bureaucratic organization from one dynasty to the next. The bureaucracy actually remains relatively stable over time. It's not like you can suddenly do without someone to supervise all of the maids and manservants, or oversee the military.

The executives are based on the Three Dukes and Nine Chamberlain system (San Gong / Jiu Qing). The system persisted for 2000 years. The Zuo and You Chengxiang - Left and Right Conselors-in-chief; the ting Wei - Chamberlain of Law Enforcement; Zong Zheng - Chamberlain for the Imperial Clan; Zhong Wei - Chamberlain for the Imperial Insignia; and Shao Fu - Chamberlain for the Palace Revenues were all chief executives in charge of vast armies of administrative officials and clerks. They all belonged to the Three Dukes and Nine Chamberlain system.

-- reference Ancient Pottery Museum notes

Qin and Han Dynasty Seals 大印

China Index >> Historical Beijing in Pictures >> Neolithic and Early Dynasty Pottery and Roof Tiles

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Last update: May 2008
© Marilyn Shea, 2008