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The Role of the Moushi 谋士 in the Jin Shu and Wei Shu During the Northern Kingdoms Period, 309–450 AD

Pages 151 - 196


SUNY College at Brockport

1 Fang Xuanling 房玄齡 (578–648) et al., Jin shu 晋书 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1982 reissue of 1959 edition; below abbr. JS) vol. 9, j. 104–105, pp. 2707–2759. There is a brief biography of Zhang Bin at the conclusion of j. 105, pp. 2756–2759, therefore the account of his career that follows in this essay is based on the biography of Shi Le found in j. 104–105. For a concise review of Zhang Bin's career see: Zhang Xianwen 郑显文, “Jianlun Zhang Bin” 简论张宾 Song-Liao Xuekan 宋辽学刊 1 (1992), pp. 82–84. The definition of all official titles used in this essay is taken from Charles O. Hucker, Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Stanford University Press, 1985).

2 JS, j. 104, p. 2756.

3 JS, j. 104, p. 2716. – Generally for Yecheng: Shing Müller, Yezhongji. Eine Quelle zur materiellen Kultur in der Stadt Ye im 4. Jahrhundert (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1993).

4 JS, j. 104, p. 2717.

5 Ci Hai 辞海 (Shanghai: Cishu chubanshe, 1979), III, p. 3803.

6 Li Zhiwen 李智文, “Zu Ti beifa xinlun” 祖逖北伐新论, Guizhou shifan daxue xuebao 贵州师范大学学报 3 (1999), pp. 36–39.

7 JS, j. 105, p. 2756.

8 JS, j. 105, p. 2740.

9 JS, j. 105, p. 2756.

10 Kenneth K. S. Ch'en, Buddhism in China: A Historical Survey (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964), pp. 78–79.

11 Arthur F. Wright, “Fo-t'u-teng: A Biography”, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 11 (1948), pp. 320–371. Fotudeng encouraged Shi Le to launch the military campaign against Liu Yao in 329 that resulted in the destruction of Former Zhao state. JS, j. 104, p. 2744.

12 JS, j. 114. A short biography of Wang Meng is included at the end of j. 114, pp. 2929–2939. Consequently much of the narrative of his career in this essay is based on relevant passages in the biography of Fu Jian, j. 113–114, pp. 2883–2997. Also relevant passages pertaining to the narrative of his career are found in: Sima Guang 司马光 (1019–1086), Zizhi tongjian 资治通坚 (Shanghai: Guji chubanshe, 1956; below ZZTJ), IV, j. 100–102, pp. 3216–3239.

13 JS, j. 114, pp. 2930–2931.

14 JS, j. 113, p. 2886.

15 JS, j. 113, p. 2887.

16 JS, j. 113, p. 2891.

17 JS, j. 113, pp. 2891–2892.

18 ZZTJ, j. 102, p. 3235.

19 JS, j. 114, p. 2932.

20 Ch'en, Buddhism in China, pp. 94–103.

21 JS, j. 114, p. 2933.

22 ZZTJ, j. 102, p. 3239.

23 The following narrative of Cui Hao's career is based on: Wei Shou 魏收 (506–572), Wei shu 魏书 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1982, reissue of 1959 edition; below WS), III, j. 35, pp. 807–829; ZZTJ, j. 118–125, pp. 3723–3943.

24 There is an absence in the Jin shu of any account of Zhang Bin or Wang Meng using divination, astrology, omens, or recourse to the esoteric in their role as moushi. In contrast, Cui Hao was well-versed in these matters and certain aspects of Daoism. Of course, the correlation and link of natural phenomena to human affairs is basic to ancient Chinese thought. However, one scholar notes that the function of astrologers and diviners was political: the practice of utilizing the connection between socio-political affairs and natural phenomena as well as astronomical divination was a tool in the political struggle, and one can assume that there was little belief in portents as such. Wolfram Eberhard, “Political Function of Astronomy and Astronomers in Han China”, in J. K. Fairbank (ed.), Chinese Thought and Institutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), p. 70.

25 WS, j. 35, p. 808.

26 WS, j. 35, p. 810.

27 WS, j. 35, p. 813. On the Daoist concept of non-action on the part of a ruler, which Cui Hao was advocating for Tuoba Si, see: Roger T. Ames, The Art of Rulership: A Study in Ancient Chinese Political Thought (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983), pp. 29–63.

28 One scholar notes that Tuoba Si lacked the martial drive of Tuoba Gui preferring Chinese poetry and literature. He ignores Tuoba Si's campaign to seize the strategic centers south of the Yellow River following Liu Yu's death by noting that there were no major wars during Tuoba Si's reign but two campaigns against the Rouran. See: David A. Graff, Medieval Chinese Warfare, 300–900 (London: Routledge, 2002), pp. 71–72. Cui Hao's advocacy of an advance to the Huai River was based on his willingness to use the superiority of Wei cavalry in a long-range campaign rather that dissipates its mobility by attacking the fortified centers. The superiority of Northern Wei cavalry was the reason why he constantly dismissed any threat from the southern dynasties. See Li Hu 黎虎, “Cui Hao junshi sixiang shulun” 崔浩军事思想述论, Beizhao yanjiu 北朝研究 3 (1990), pp. 1–11.

29 ZZTJ, j. 119, p. 3753. The distances in kilometers in this essay as well as the geographical location of all place names is based on Tan Xixiang 谭其骧 (ed.), Zhongguo lishi dituji 中国历史地图集 (Beijing: Cartographic Publisher, 1982), IV, pp. 11–12. On Northern Wei wall building see Zhang Min 张敏, “Lun Bei Wei changcheng 论北魏长城, Zhongguo bianjiang shidi yanjiu 中国边疆史地研究 13.2 (1990), pp. 13–18.

30 Richard B. Mather, “K'ou Ch'ien-chih and the Taoist Theocracy at the Northern Wei Court, 425–451”, in Holmes Welch and Anna Seidel (eds.),Facets of Taoism: Essays in Chinese Religion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), pp. 103–122. Mather notes that Cui Hao's mother was related to Sun En 孙恩 (?–402), who led an uprising with Daoist influence against the Eastern Jin in 399, therefore he was familiar with the Daoist tradition of a Celestial Master possessing religious charisma found in the Five Peck sect of Daoism. Seidel notes that the Celestial Masters saw themselves as the spiritual teachers of political leaders similar to the role they imagined Laozi filled in antiquity. Anna Seidel, “Taoist Messianism”, Numen 31.2 (1982), pp. 162–174.

31 ZZTJ, j. 119, p. 3763.

32 WS, j. 35, p. 818.

33 WS, j. 35, p. 821.

34 WS, j. 35, p. 822.

35 ZZTJ, j. 123, p. 3875.

36 ZZTJ, j. 123, p. 3881.

37 WS. 35, p. 824: 当顺破头, 头破则尾岂能复动?.

38 Ch'en, Buddhism in China, pp. 149–150; Leon Hurvitz, Wei Shou on Buddhism and Taoism (Kyoto: Kyoto University Press, 1956), pp. 64–65. Cui Hao's in-laws were Buddhist and their devotion angered him to such an extent that he would seize the sutras that they recited and throw the ashes into the privy. WS, j. 35, p. 826.

39 ZZTJ, j. 125, p. 3936.

40 WS, j. 35, p. 826.

41 ZZTJ, j. 125, p. 3942.

42 There is an extensive literature in Chinese on the execution of Cui Hao. The accounts which have been reviewed cite the mutual antagonism between Cui Hao and the Tuoba elite as the critical issue compounded by political, ethnic, and personality “contradictions”. Nevertheless, one distinguished scholar claims that Cui Hao's execution was the result of his long term undercover plot against the Northern Wei regime being leaked. See Lü Simian 吕思勉 (1884–1957), Lü Siman dushi zhaji 吕思勉读史扎记 (Shanghai: Guji chubanshe, 1982), II, pp. 821–829.


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