Historical Geography Research ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 83-98.

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Research on the Establishment, Development Process and Spatial Distribution of Xunjiansi in Shuntian-fu during Ming Dynasty

Tian Hai   

  1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2018-11-19 Online:2019-08-20 Published:2019-08-20


Xunjiansi (Department of Touring and Inspection) was an important organization in charge of keeping order and public security of base-level communities in Ming Dynasty. Shuntian-fu covered not only the capital city and its vicinity, but served as a border stronghold with strategic importance as well. There were 22 Xunjiansi ever set under Shuntian-fu in different periods. By studying the timing of their establishment and revocation, location of their seats, and their relocation history in detail, we noticed that most Xunjiansi clustered near important passes and fortresses along the Great Wall or near important intersections along the Grand Canal. Two most significant clusters of Xunjiansi were on the flank of the capital city. They were located in the mountainous region to the west of Beijing and along the Grand Canal to the east of Beijing respectively. These two lines had great significance for the public safety in western Beijing and river transportation in eastern Beijing, so they received constant high attention from the court. Xunjiansi along these two lines were relatively evenly distributed and stable in long run. The number of Xunjiansi in Shuntian-fu was low during the reign of Hongwu Emperor of early Ming Dynasty. The number began to increase in the reign of Yongle Emperor and the overall distribution pattern of Xunjiansi in Shuntian-fu was thence established. During the late reign of Hongzhi Emperor and early reign of Zhengde Emperor, the number of Xunjiansi in Shuntian-fu reached its peak. After that, the number of Xunjiansi in Shuntian-fu remarkably declined during the reign of Jiajing Emperor because of the empire’s financial difficulties. This led to the gradually weakening control over base-level communities from Xunjiansi.

Key words: Xunjiansi, development process, distribution characteristics, Shuntian-fu, Ming Dynasty

CLC Number: 

  • K928