Historical Geography Research ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (2): 63-71.

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On Regional Classification in Song Dynasty: The Boundary and Demarcation Principles of Township

Wang Xu   

  1. College of Social Development, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225002, China
  • Received:2018-11-23 Online:2020-05-20 Published:2020-08-14


Before the Yuanfeng's reign of the Northern Song Dynasty, the number and size of the townships changed with the growth and decline of the population, so the boundary was not stable. After Wang Anshi's reform, the administrative function of the township was hugely diminished, along with disappearance of the function of “township household”, and the boundary of township gradually stabilized. Rather than crossing boundary, the basic reforms like the Baojia law and the boundary law were completed within townships. Such policy provisions strengthened the integrity of the township, making the boundaries of rural areas clearer. According to the differences among the neighboring entities, the boundaries can be divided into four categories: boundary between the townships; demarcation of the administrative district between the town and the state army county; boundary between the township and the administrative office; and demarcation of a township and a town. The analyses based on existing material show that the demarcation of the townships generally follows the principle of “Shan Chuan Xing Bian”(mountain and river form), which is not only for the administrative convenience of grassroots officials, but also in line with the law of the formation of natural settlements.

Key words: rural system, grassroots division, Baojia method, township, boundaries of township, Song Dynasty