The Three Bureaus (三司) was an office in imperial Chinese governments that had different functions in different eras.
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.
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:
Hebei is a coastal province in Northern China. The modern province was established in 1911 as Chihli Province. Its capital and largest city is Shijiazhuang. Its one-character abbreviation is "冀" (Jì), named after Ji Province, a Han dynasty province (zhou) that included what is now southern Hebei. The name Hebei literally means "north of the river", referring to its location entirely to the north of the Yellow River.
The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career bureaucrats hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leadership. A civil servant or public servant is a person so employed in the public sector employed for a government department or agency. Civil servants work for government departments, and answer to the government, not a political party. The extent of civil servants of a state as part of the "civil service" varies from country to country. In the United Kingdom, for instance, only Crown employees are referred to as civil servants whereas county or city employees are not.
Yuefu are Chinese poems composed in a folk song style. The term originally literally meant "Music Bureau", a reference to the imperial Chinese governmental organization(s) originally charged with collecting or writing the lyrics, later the term yuefu was applied to later literary imitations or adaptations of the Music Bureau's poems. The use of fu in yuefu is different from the other Chinese term fu that refers to a type of poetry or literature: although homonyms in English, the other fu is a rhapsodic poetry/prose form of literature.
The grand chancellor, also translated as counselor-in-chief, chancellor, chief councillor, chief minister, imperial chancellor, lieutenant chancellor and prime minister, was the highest-ranking executive official in the imperial Chinese government. The term was known by many different names throughout Chinese history, and the exact extent of the powers associated with the position fluctuated greatly, even during a particular dynasty.
The Three Ducal Ministers, also translated as the Three Dukes, Three Excellencies, or the Three Lords, was the collective name for the three highest officials in ancient China.
The Lifan Yuan was an agency in the government of the Qing dynasty which supervised the Qing Empire's frontier Inner Asia regions such as its Mongolian dependencies and oversaw the appointments of Ambans in Tibet.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China is the first-ranked executive department under the State Council of the Government of the People's Republic of China, responsible for the foreign relations of the People's Republic of China. The ministry is led by the Foreign Minister, currently State Councilor Wang Yi. The agency has its headquarters in Chaoyang District, Beijing.
Xue Juzheng was a scholar-official who successively served the Later Jin, Later Han, Later Zhou and Song dynasties. He was one of the chief ministers of the Song dynasty from 973 until his death.
Flying cash (飛錢) is a type of paper negotiable instrument used during China's Tang dynasty invented by merchants but adopted by the state. Its name came from their ability to transfer cash across vast distances without physically transporting it. It is a precursor to true banknotes which appeared during the Song dynasty.
The Three Departments and Six Ministries system was the main central government structure in imperial China from the Sui dynasty (581–618) to the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). It was also used by Balhae (698–926) and Goryeo (918–1392) in Manchuria and Korea, and very likely the Lý dynasty (1009–1225) and the Trần dynasty (1225–1400) in Vietnam as well.
The Imperial Household Department was an institution of the Qing dynasty of China. Its primary purpose was to manage the internal affairs of the Qing imperial family and the activities of the inner palace, but it also played an important role in Qing relations with Tibet and Mongolia, engaged in trading activities, managed textile factories in the Jiangnan region, and even published books.
Zhao Zongru (趙宗儒), courtesy name Bingwen (秉文), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty who served as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Dezong — and then served under five more descendants of Emperor Dezong's: his son Emperor Shunzong, his grandson Emperor Xianzong, his great-grandson Emperor Muzong, his great-great-grandsons Emperor Jingzong and Emperor Wenzong.
Gong Xinzhan was a politician at the end of Qing Dynasty and in the early Republic of China. He was a finance expert in the Beijing Government, and was regarded a member of the Anhui clique. He also temporarily served as acting Prime Minister. His courtesy names were Xianzhou (仙洲) and Xiandan (仙丹).
The Music Bureau served in the capacity of an organ of various imperial government bureaucracies of China: discontinuously and in various incarnations, the Music Bureau was charged directly, by the emperor, or indirectly, through the royal government to perform various tasks related to music, poetry, entertainment, or religious worship. These tasks included both musical and lyrical research and development, and also directing performances.
Sima is an official post from ancient China that first appears in texts dating from the Western Zhou dynasty and continued to be used during the Spring and Autumn period and Warring States period. Translated literally, it means "administrator of the horses." Owing to the fact that the power and responsibilities associated with the office changed somewhat throughout Chinese history, a variety of English translations for the term have been suggested. The textually closest equivalent is Master of the Horse. Other English terms such as 'marshal' and 'major' have also been suggested, and may be appropriate in different contexts: for example 'marshal' may be appropriate in the Western Han dynasty, when "Grand Sima" was a title granted to high generals, while 'major' may be appropriate as the translation for the lower military position also called "Sima" from the Wei dynasty to the Song dynasty.
A memorial to the throne was an official communication to the Emperor of China. They were generally careful essays in Classical Chinese and their presentation was a formal affair directed by government officials. Submission of a memorial was a right theoretically available to everyone from the Crown Prince to a common farmer, but the court secretaries would read them aloud to the emperor and exercised considerable control over what was considered worthy of his time. They were used in imperial China as a means of regulating corrupt local officials who might otherwise have escaped oversight.
A xunfu was an important imperial Chinese provincial office under both the Ming and Qing dynasties. However, the purview of the office under the two dynasties differed markedly. Under the Ming, the post originated around 1430 as a kind of inspector-general and ad hoc provincial-level administrator; such a xunfu is usually translated as a grand coordinator. However, after the Manchu conquest of China in the mid-17th century, xunfu became the title of a regular provincial governor overseeing civil administration.
The Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs, or Xuanzheng Yuan was a government agency and top-level administrative department set up in Khanbaliq that supervised Buddhist monks in addition to managing the territory of Tibet during the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) established by Kublai Khan. It was originally set up in 1264 as an autonomous office named Zongzhi Yuan or the Bureau of General Regulation, before it was renamed in 1288, which was named after the Xuanzheng Hall where Tibetan envoys were received in the Tang dynasty. In the Mongol Empire, Tibet was managed by the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs, separate from the other provinces of the Yuan dynasty such as those governed the former Song dynasty of China, but still under the administrative rule of the Yuan. While no modern equivalents remain, the political functions of the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs might have been analogous to the India Office in London during the British Raj. Besides holding the title of Imperial Preceptor or Dishi, Drogön Chögyal Phagpa, the fifth leader of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism, was concurrently named the director of the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs. One of the department's purposes was to select a dpon-chen, usually appointed by the lama and confirmed by the Mongol emperor in Beijing. Tibetan Buddhism was not only practiced within the capital Beijing but throughout the country. Apart from Tibetan affairs, the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs managed the entire Buddhist clergy throughout the realm, and supervised all temples, monasteries, and other Buddhist properties in the empire, at least in name. According to scholar Evelyn Rawski, it supervised 360 Buddhist monasteries. To emphasize its importance for Hangzhou, capital of the former Southern Song dynasty and the largest city in the Yuan realm, a branch Xuanzheng Yuan was established in that city in 1291, although Tibetan Buddhism took public or official precedence over Han Chinese Buddhism.
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.
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.
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