Historical Geography Research ›› 2022, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (1): 1-16.

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Supplementary Study on Further Textual Research on Tang-Dynasty Provisional Prefectures and Provisional Counties

Hu Axiang, Lei Xinghe   

  1. School of History, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Received:2021-09-03 Online:2022-02-20 Published:2022-07-08


Provisional prefectures and provisional counties in the Tang Dynasty consist of a special form of administrative division that derived from regular prefectures and counties with their governing centers locatedelsewhere. Based on Shengbo Guo’s study and my own textual research, the Tang court set up at least 37 provisional prefectures and 42 provisional counties, especially in the early and mid-late period of the dynasty, and many of them were in Jiannan, Guannei, Hebei and Longyou Circuits (Dao). These provisional prefectures and provisional counties were set up in strategic sites, indicating their political and military value. Setting up provisional administrative units inside regular administrative divisions would create frictions on local governance. The provisional units led by indigenous leaders may undermine the imperial court’s influence on the frontier region and hence impede their developments into regular administrative units. The dislocation of provisional administrative units could also create misunderstandings on toponyms. These are all negative effects of the Tang-dynasty provisional prefectures and provisional counties.

Key words: Tang Dynasty, provisional prefectures, provisional counties

CLC Number: 

  • K928