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Palaces as Political Spaces: Banquet Dialogues and Historical Metaphors in the Sixteen Kingdoms (304–439)

Jianan Huang

Seiten 219 - 233

DOI https://doi.org/10.13173/ZDMG.174.1.219

This study analyses seven texts regarding dialogues between kings and their officials in early medieval China. These writings share similar topics and narrative structures: (a) all of them are about banquet dialogues that happened in key palaces of capital cities; (b) most of these dialogues (6/7) are presented in similar contexts, including weeping, (being) drunk, and the discussions on classics; (c) all of them mention allusions to ancient figures as historical metaphors, especially to Shaokang, Kongzi, Liu Xiu, and Cao Cao; (d) all the kings in these dialogues were struggling to maintain individual authorities and most of them (5/7) were non-Han people; (e) most of these dialogues (5/7) are associated with the efforts to strengthen the legitimacy of crown princes and newly ascended emperors. This research further interprets the palaces in the texts as semi-private and semi-public political spaces, which were used by kings to test the individual loyalty of their officials in a euphemistic way. Final reflections are also provided on the credibility of those allusions as primary sources for historical investigations.


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