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Phoenix: The Phoenix Art Museum, Produced and directed by Philip Haas; written and presented by David Hockney. Program for Art on Film, J. Hearn, Maxwell K. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, How to Read Chinese Paintings. Ju-hsi Chou and Claudia Brown. Phoebus 6, Number 1 , Arizona State University. Mote, Frederick W. Robert A.

Kapp, Rice University Studies 59, no. For a discussion of how the literary associations of a site outlive its physical remains. Murck, Alfreda, and Wen C. Fong, eds. Wang, Yao-t'ing. Translated by the Stone Studio.

Tokyo: Nigensha, Yang Xin, Richard M. Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting. Clark, Champ. Flood Planet Earth Series. Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books, For a full discussion and illustrations of dike construction techniques in Qing dynasty China. The odds of passing this exam were remote, and some candidates took it dozens of times without success.

But for those who passed, the rewards were great: they became shengyuan novice scholars and thus members of the gentry elite.

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The second level of examination was administered at the provincial level every three years. Even so, se- lected men gained entry to what is sometimes called the upper gentry— the distinction between upper and lower gentry status being very real in contemporary sensibility.

The third and highest level, the metropolitan examination adminis- tered at Beijing every three years, allowed winners to call themselves jinshi scholars presented to the throne, or presented scholars. Their names were inscribed on steles, lined up in ranks, class by class, in the Confucian Temple in the imperial capital Fig.

At all three levels, the civil service examinations consisted of questions on the Confucian classical texts and on poetry. There were also some policy questions on administrative techniques and economic and political issues of the day, but these were of far less conse- quence for passing or failing. Vociferous arguments raged through- out the Qing over whether the examination curriculum ought to be re- formed to stress more policy-oriented questions, but it was never sub- stantially revised. Yet the examinations were written and graded by human beings with agendas of their own, and they could be subtly manipulated for politi- cal purposes.

During the Ming, for example, a throne sensitive to literati criticism frequently asked questions demanding candidates to expound on the virtue of political loyalty to the imperial master. Not coin- cidentally, this favored candidates hailing from Jiangnan and other re- gions of the country endowed with rich private book collections the ar- eas from which the examiners themselves usually came over others from more remote areas whose education had concentrated on intensive study of a few canonical works.

Later in the dynasty, examiners adhering to the ancient prose movement passed candidates whose answers were written in the spare classical style they themselves had mastered—a style which, theoretically at least, encoded a shared commitment to fundamentalist moral and political values. One way of getting around this was to place a char- acter or phrase in a spot in an examination essay that had been pre- arranged between the candidate and examiner.

Quotas were set at all three levels of examination and continually readjusted with the goal of populating the bureaucracy with men from a variety of groups.


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For instance, kinship groups in wealthy areas, where com- petition for passing the exam was extreme, would routinely establish a member household in a remote, less educationally competitive area such as the southwest and transfer to that household via adoption or appren- ticeship a particularly promising lad whose chances of examination suc- cess in his adoptive home would be much greater than in his birthplace.

It was less the expense of books or teaching than the simple value of lost labor. There were ways around this.

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For example, extended kinship organiza- tions sometimes established a collective fund to subvene the costs of edu- cating a particularly promising young man, hoping for the bonanza in status and wealth that would accrue to the entire lineage should he ac- tually win a degree—but this was very limited. Across the vast expanse of empire and its myriad local cultures, the exams produced a large group of persons who had voluntarily submitted to an intensive and common course of indoctrination in an orthodox ideology approved by the government. This wondrous educational institution, more than any other factor, may have held the late Qing empire together.

These groups were seldom easy to control, and there was constant tension between the interests of the imperial state, the local society, and the functionaries who carried out most tasks. In other words, the functioning government at the lo- cal level was always larger than it was represented on paper.

This fee theoretically offset the amount of silver lost in recasting the small amounts collected from tax- payers into the larger ingots that were remitted to the throne.

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But in real- ity, as everyone knew, these fees simply helped cover the general costs of local administration. In many localities, they seem to have done little besides absorbing what they could from their ex- perience in the expectation of being assigned a substantive magistracy elsewhere in the future.

Often, though, they assisted the magistrate by taking over a portion of the legal caseload that occupied most of his workday, and in certain counties deputy magistrates did this for a dis- crete territorial sector of the county. With further subdivision of the county rejected, the lone magistrate was left to rely on four types of assistants for aid in governing his large, more-or-less foreign jurisdiction: sub-bureaucratic clerical person- nel, his own personal secretarial staff, the local elite, and appointed vil- lage headmen.


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Runners worked as guards, tax collectors, servers of subpoenas, and other nonliterate roles. Many were local men, but others came from outside, most especially from the prosperous Yangzi delta prefecture of Shaoxing, which over the late imperial era responded to its own surplus production of literate males by sending them into an empire-wide clerical diaspora. The clerks were in a highly ambivalent posi- tion. They were part of the administrative apparatus, but since they were mostly off the books they were only minimally under central control.

Since only a minority of county clerks received a formal salary, and a ri- diculously low one at that, collectively they lived off gratuities and self- imposed arbitrary fees. Consequently, probably no social group in Qing China was more universally reviled than they were. As agents of the state they were feared and obeyed by the local populace, but as commoners rather than gentry they were not respected. But we now know from one well-docu- mented local archive in Sichuan that county clerks at least in this area had an emerging professional ethic and esprit.

They administered system- atic training to apprentices and discipline to miscreant colleagues. Most important, they conceived of the civil justice system as a cash cow whose various litigation fees could provide for not only their personal support but also the maintenance of public works and other less self-supporting areas of local administration. These specialists traveled with the incumbent and shared his sense of foreignness to the locality in which they worked.

The number of both clerks and secretaries grew dramatically over the course of the Qing dynasty, in response to the growing complexity of govern- mental tasks. A small formal government had to rely to an extraordinary degree on leadership generated by the local society itself, above all the gentry.

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To the extent that these men had, at a minimum, passed the lowest level of the civil service examination, they might be presumed to have internal- ized the imperatives of moral conduct, public service, and loyalty to the Son of Heaven that lay at the core of the exam curriculum. How far, then, could the magistrate trust them to carry out the mission of the imperial regime he represented? This was one of the central dilemmas of local administration.

For an imperial state claiming an absolute monopoly on taxation and armed defense within its borders, such activities on the part of local elites lay on, or even outside, the margins of legality. Following the seminal early Qing political thinker Gu Yanwu, some contemporaries believed that in the case of the upper gentry, it was. These men—holders of both the local and provincial degrees—had undergone more extensive training in the Confucian curric- ulum than the lower gentry, who had merely passed the local examina- tion, and thus the upper gentry presumably had better internalized its moral message.

They had sat for examinations and forged friendships with fellow candidates beyond the local level, and so presumably were better able to transcend the particularisms and limited concerns of their own community. And not least, they were usually wealthier and more economically secure than the lower gentry, so their interest lay less in ex- ploiting their neighbors for a slight material advantage than in doing whatever it took to preserve social harmony.

The experience of the late Ming had taught them that uprisings of aggrieved and immiserated com- moners were what they had to fear most. This was, of course, a crude and, for an upper-gentry member like Gu, self-aggrandizing measure of local elite tractability, but it seemed to many to have some rough truth to it. Most likely this situation pertained under the Qing as well.

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Each unit was led by one head of household who was theoretically held accountable not just for the behavior of his own kinsmen but for his neighbors as well. To that end, he maintained population registers, kept the peace, resolved dis- putes, reported offenses to the magistrate, and gave expert testimony in criminal trials or civil litigation. While the notion of collective responsibility was perhaps illusory in re- ality, there were indeed countless individuals running around the Qing countryside exercising at least some of the real functions assigned to baojia headmen.

These positions were legally presumed to be part-time collateral jobs for full-time farmers and agrarian heads of households, and they were intended to rotate among neighboring families. But in practice it seems likely that baojia headmen worked in this capacity full- time, probably as a permanent career, perhaps even a hereditary one.