Organización Internacional del Bambú y el Ratán

Organización Internacional del Bambú y el Ratán

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The Gurendi Bamboo Manuscripts and the Wuling Barbarians in the Eastern Han Dynasty







Wei Bin





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Wuling barbarians; Gurendi bamboo manuscripts; Chong County; Li River; Eastern Han dynasty

Fragmentary bamboo manuscripts from the Eastern Han dynasty unearthed in 1987 at the Gurendi site in Zhangjiajie, Hunan, have provided precious clues for understanding the Wuling barbarians more thoroughly. The No. 10 Fengjian which records statistics about soldiers in Chong County Wuling Prefecture in the first year of the reign of the Yongyuan Emperor (89 AD), is particularly enlightening. This record allows us to determine that the three generals named Fubo Yangwu and Wuwei can be traced back to Ma Yuan Ma Cheng and Liu Shang respectively, who led troops in a campaign to quell an uprising launched by the Wuling barbarians between the 23rd and 25th years of the reign of the Jianwu Emperor (47-49 AD). During the reign of the Yongyuan Emperor (89-105 AD), military camps identified by the names of these three generals still existed, and their major mission was controlling the Wuling barbarians who frequently fomented turmoil. The Wuling barbarians of the Eastern Han dynasty may be generally divided by region into northern and southern groups. The main area of turmoil recorded by writings was the North, that is, the basin of the Li and Lou rivers Chong County, located at the upper reaches of the Li River, was the core region for unrest instigated by the Wuling barbarians. The No. 10 Fengjian unearthed in this area prompted us to re-examine the particular geographic distribution of the barbarians and the government’s system of control and defense. There were some differences between the ethnic settlements of the southern and northern barbarians in Wuling Prefecture. The main text of a section about southern barbarians in the Hou Han Shu contains an account of the unrest related to the northern barbarians, but the preface transcribes a legend about Panhu related to the southern barbarians. This has given rise to much disagreement in related scholarship, but the discrepancy may be attributed to the differences in district geography of Wuling Prefecture during Han and Jin dynasties. With the expansion of the system of administrative divisions xian xiang li and ting into the Li and Lou river basins, the initial ethnic settlement pattern of the barbarians had been divided. After the reign of the Jianchu Emperor (76-84 AD), barbarian warriors played an important role in suppressing turmoil related to the Wu ling barbarians.