State Granaries and their capacity during Tang
Posted 02 August 2008 - 08:39 AM
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Posted 02 August 2008 - 10:07 AM
I have read about an ancient State Granary named Hanjia. Could anyone provide details how the Tang dynasty managed to control these royal granaries and what was their prime function. Besides, are there any other granaries in China (through archaeological excavation)?
Hi Boleslaw I,
I know too little about the Tang to know how the state granaries were administered, but here's a bit of material to work on. The Hanjia granary 含嘉倉 was built by the Sui in their recently rebuilt "Eastern Capital" (東都) of Luoyang. It served to store tax grain that was transported there from the Lower Huai and Yangzi River valleys.
The Hanjia granary was also used to provide the Great Granary (Taicang 太倉) in Chang'an. Accounts from the Jiu Tangshu 舊唐書 [JTS] show that the state sold grain to the people at low prices when there were food shortages. (Example from 798 or 799 AD given in JTS, juan 13.) This kind of policy anticipated the famine-relief practices of later dynasties. The Qing, for example, had a highly developed network of state granaries that were used to relieve famine when necessary. I don't know if any Qing-era granary has survived.
Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. VI, Biology and Biological Technology, Pt. 2, Agriculture, by Francesca Bray, has a lot on granaries of all sorts. P. 401 talks about the Hanjia granary and what its excavation has revealed about its internal structure. Bray claims that the granary had a capacity of six million shi 石. Another book claims it could hold 250,000 tons of grain.
For those who can read Chinese, there are a lot of results for "含嘉倉" on Google.
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