The economic role of Szechwan in Sung times (A.D. 960-1279): The case of the tea and horse exchange.
AuthorChan, Penny Yan Yan.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis is an historical survey of the economic role of Szechwan during Sung times (A.D. 960-1279). The tea and horse exchange was taken as a case to test the thesis that the economic policies implemented in Szechwan by the Sung government were a means to strengthen its defensive power. Although this is not an exploratory study on the role of the tea and horse exchange during Sung times, this study attempts to present its operation in a new and realistic perspective. Modern Western and Chinese scholars share the viewpoint that the expansion of the Sung to Szechwan was based upon an imperialistic motivation. The tea and horse exchange was a typical example of capitalizing upon the Szechwan resources and colonizing the minorities there. However, based on historical evidence, this study assumes that basically the Sung government wanted to maintain peace. Through the implementation of the tea and horse exchange, it was able to achieve a peaceful ethnic relationship in the southwest frontier. Some economic improvements were seen in the southwest minority areas after the exchange. Moreover, horses could be obtained, which were used, to a certain extent, to strengthen the Sung's military power although there were some problems. There are two major parts in this study. The first part attempts to present the general importance of Szechwan. It presents a prosperous picture of Szechwan on the eve of the establishment of the Sung dynasty. Due to the socio-economic heritage in Szechwan, special economic policies were implemented there by the Sung government in order to encourage further development, which could support its military. Some major policies are discussed in this part. In the second part, there is a study of the problem of the shortage of horses for military use, resulting in the implementation of the tea and horse exchange. The impact of the exchange on frontier relations and on Sung's military power and economic development as a whole are also discussed.
Degree ProgramEast Asian Studies