Journal paper
篇名Discussion on the Examples of Xianjie, Xianfu, and Xiangong in Zuozhuan
作者姓名Lee Long-shien
AbstractThis paper will focus on a military ritual of xianjie (victory offerings) existing in Zuozhuan during Spring-Autumn period, trying to examine in detail its form and content as well as its political meanings. What’s more, the paper will compare the principles of xianjie and its examples found in Zuozhuan, discussing what the actual practices might be and their significance at the times. The core of this paper is to analyze the three interrelated terms in Zuozhuan: xianjie (victory offering), xianfu (captive offerings), and xiangong (contribution offerings). All the three terms signify the rituals where war captives are offered to the third party besides the battling parties. The offerings include the captives in most cases, and also the heads cut off from the bodies as well as carriages and horses. This paper will also compare the two kinds of xianjie according to different political contexts and discuss their meanings: offerings given from feudal baron to the emperor; or from one feudal baron to another. Xianjie offered by feudal baron to the emperor means to claim the legitimacy to send an army to battle in the name of the emperor, while that offered by one feudal baron to another represents a small state’s allegiance to a bigger state. But there is one exception: the Qi State and Chu State give offerings to Lu State, because the two more powerful states mean to show off their military prowess and bring Lu to submission. Finally, this paper will examine the relevant issues on yili (case studies) of xianjie in Zuozhuan. There are three principles of xianjie recorded in Zuozhuan: (1) When feudal barons overcome the barbarians, they offer xianjie to the emperor. (2) When feudal barons fight one another, there is no need to offer xianjie to the emperor. (3) Feudal barons do not offer captives to one another. However, these principles do not correspond to the actual situation in Spring-Autumn period, which points to the inconsistency of Zuozhuan. It is likely that the principles in effect come from an even earlier ritual tradition, or this book is written by more than one author.
KeywordZuozhuan, xianjie (offerings of victory), xianfu (offerings of captives), xiangong (offerings of contribution), martial rituals, yili
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