Three Bureaus

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The Three Bureaus (三司) was an office in imperial Chinese governments that had different functions in different eras.

History of China Account of past events in the Chinese civilisation

The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty, during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was mentioned as the twenty-first Shang king by the same. Ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian and the Bamboo Annals describe a Xia dynasty before the Shang, but no writing is known from the period, and Shang writings do not indicate the existence of the Xia. The Shang ruled in the Yellow River valley, which is commonly held to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. However, Neolithic civilizations originated at various cultural centers along both the Yellow River and Yangtze River. These Yellow River and Yangtze civilizations arose millennia before the Shang. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations, and is regarded as one of the cradles of civilization.

The office was particularly important in the Song dynasty before 1080, during which it managed the state's fiscal affairs. (The term is usually translated as State Finance Commission for the Song dynasty). State Finance Commission was one of the three key central government agencies, along with Secretariat-Chancellery and Bureau of Military Affairs.

Song dynasty Chinese historical period

The Song dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song following his usurpation of the throne of the Later Zhou, ending the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The Song often came into conflict with the contemporaneous Liao, Western Xia and Jin dynasties to its north. It was eventually conquered by the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Song government was the first in world history to issue banknotes or true paper money nationally and the first Chinese government to establish a permanent standing navy. This dynasty also saw the first known use of gunpowder, as well as the first discernment of true north using a compass.

Secretariat-Chancellery was a central government department in several dynasties in imperial China and Korea. It was created in the Tang dynasty by combining the Secretariat and the Chancellery. It was a particularly important office in late Tang, the Song dynasty, and Goryeo.

The Bureau of Military Affairs was the central government agency in charge of a state's military forces during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, Liao dynasty, Song dynasty and Yuan dynasty. It was headed by the shumishi.

The three bureaus during the Song dynasty were:

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The Department of State Affairs or Shangshu Sheng (尚書省) was one department in the Three Departments and Six Ministries government structure officially established since the Sui dynasty in the history of China. As one of the three departments, it was the highest executive institution of the imperial government since the Sui dynasty. Developing from the Shangshu Tai (尚書臺) in the Eastern Han dynasty, the name Sheng (省) was inherited even though the institution was now removed from the Imperial Court. The head of the Department is Shangshu Ling (尚書令). The Director was known as chancellor but was often absent. The Right and Left Deputy Directors (尚書左僕射、尚書右僕射) actually shouldered the duties. Beneath the Deputy Directors were the Right and Left Assistant Clerks (尚書左丞、尚書右丞) who had the Right and Left Excellency (左、右司郎中) to assist with their daily work and were in charge of the Six Ministries. The general office of the Department of State Affairs was called the Dou Sheng (都省).

The Ministry or Board of Revenue was one of the Six Ministries under the Department of State Affairs in imperial China.

References

Charles O. Hucker, was a professor of Chinese language and history at the University of Michigan. He was regarded as one of the foremost historians of Imperial China and a leading figure in the promotion of academic programs in Asian Studies during the 1950s and 1960s.

Stanford University Press (SUP) is the publishing house of Stanford University. It is one of the oldest academic presses in the United States and the first university press to be established on the West Coast. It was among the presses officially admitted to the Association of American University Presses at the organization's founding, in 1937, and is one of twenty-two current member presses from that original group. The press publishes 130 books per year across the humanities, social sciences, and business, and has more than 3,500 titles in print.