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A Buried Past: The Tomb Inscription (Muzhiming) and Official Biographies of Wang Chuzhi (863-923)

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The present article investigates the tomb inscription of Wang Chuzhi (863-923), a military governor whose career spanned the end of the Tang and the beginning of the Five Dynasties. By comparing the inscription with representations of the deceased in official sources, the article reveals that the tomb inscription presents a critical attitude toward the moral standards of conventional historiography, and demonstrates a shifting moral geography in the works of Song historians. This new standard increasingly excluded nomadic peoples from the newly imagined political body, and excluded with them the pragmatic diplomacy that had characterized the politics of the Five Dynasties. Cet article analyse l'inscription funéraire de Wang Chuzhi (863-923). Ce gouverneur militaire vécut à la fin des Tang et au début de la période des Cinq Dynasties. La comparaison de l'inscription à diverses représentations du défunt contenues dans les sources officielles montre la manière dont l'auteur de l'inscription critique les standards moraux de l'historiographie officielle. Elle montre aussi le cadre géographique mouvant dans lequel s'appliquait la morale Song: les populations nomades étaient de plus en plus exclues du corps politique tel qu'il était alors imaginé; la diplomatie pragmatique qui avait dominé la période des Cinq Dynasties était abandonnée.

Affiliations: 1: Sinology, Japanese Studies, Munich University and Marburg University, Germany


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