Hanmo Zhang

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Victor C. Xiong

Second Advisor

Dr. Timothy Light

Third Advisor

Dr. Takashi Yoshida

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The focus of this paper is on the ancient Chinese text of the Kaogong ji, which is now included in the Zhouli as one of its chapters. Through a careful comparison between the Kaogong ji and the rest of the Zhouli and through a synthetic analysis of academic discussions of the completion date and authorship of the Kaogong ji, this paper attempts to show that the Kaogong ji had been an independent text before its inclusion. It goes on to disprove the argument that the Kaogong ji was forged by the Han scholar Liu Xin as political propaganda.

From the perspective of two aspects of power-"power over" and "power to," the paper offers a textual reading of the Kaogong ji in its political and cultural contexts. It shows that not only did the manufacture recorded in the Kaogong ji participate in the formation of ideology, but provided it a certain form as well. A distinct aspect of the Kaogong ji is the ritual prescriptions it offers for the planning and construction of the city. Through a study of these prescriptions, in conjunction with other textual sources and archaeological finds, this paper examines the characteristics, functions, and the development of the classical Chinese city with a view to interpreting its political and cultural meanings. Considering the fact that no English translation of the Kaogong ji text (except for a few short passages) exists, a complete translation is appended to the paper, of which a select number of key passages are also fully annotated.

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