QUANZHOU (FUJIAN) DURING THE TANG-SONG INTERREGNUM, 879-978 BY HUGH R. CLARK Haverford College It is generally recognized that in the Song dynasty Quanzhou emerged as one of the most important prefectures in the Empire 1). This importance was based on the economic strength generated by the flow of foreign trade-that is, South Seas trade-through the port. Long the second most important port of China, by the mid-Southern Song Quanzhou was to become the largest-Marco Polo suggested that it was the greatest port in all the world. A less widely known manifestation of prefectural importance was the large number of men who entered the bureaucracy through the civil service examinations and other routes. Through the Northern Song, Quanzhou produced more jinshi graduates than all but a half dozen or so other prefectures in the Empire. What would also be generally recognized if given as much thought is that in the Tang era this same prefecture was a political and eco- nomic backwater. There was little native wealth and even less education. The port, although beginning to develop, was only one of several along the South and Southeast coasts, and not an es- pecially prominent one at that. The native
T'oung Pao – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1982
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