Journal directory listing - Volume 68 (2023) - Journal of NTNU【68(1)】March

Temporal and Spatial Distributions and Development of the Culture of Tomb Epitaphs in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period Author: Tsong-han Lee (Department of History, National Taiwan Normal University, Associate Professor)

Vol.&No.:Vol. 68, No. 1
Date:March 2023

In the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which followed the Tang dynasty, the number of tomb epitaphs steadily increased in both northern and southern China. This trend, which was more pronounced in the north, supports the argument of some scholars that the political and social environments in both the north and south were in a state of gradual recovery. During this period, tomb epitaphs were still mainly distributed in the north, particularly near Luoyang. In contrast to northern cities, the use of tomb epitaphs in Chang’an declined rapidly after Chang’an lost its political status as the ancient capital, and several other cities gained power. High-ranking officials of the ruling class and their family members were the primary users of tomb epitaphs. Luzhou was a large producer of tomb epitaphs; most belonged to middle- and upper-class civilians from various industries and reflected the gradual recovery of the local society and economy. Tomb epitaphs of this period followed size specifications that accorded with the official ranking of the deceased, placing the deceased in a hierarchical state ritual system. However, researchers have discovered regional differences in epitaph shapes, such as in those of the Wuyue and Min kingdoms. Engraved with cosmic symbols, tomb epitaphs elevated the status of the deceased from the state ritual order into the cosmic order held by the ruling elite. The tombstone inscriptions followed the writing format of the Tang dynasty; they created ritual language with restricted codes, events, and vocabulary that reduced the lives of many members of the ruling class and their family members into a highly homogenized society. This ritual language was also present in the epitaphs of local elites without official posts. The tomb epitaph culture of this period reveals that the culture of the ruling class was structurally and ideologically unified and had a relatively consistent objective basis. How the ruling class and its culture gradually evolved and expanded through history merits future exploration.

Keywords:cosmological symbol, homogenized life, state ritual system, the culture of tomb epitaphs, ritual language

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APA FormatLee, T. (2023). Temporal and spatial distributions and development of the culture of tomb epitaphs in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Journal of National Taiwan Normal University68(1), 45-85.
Chicago FormatLee, Tsong-han. “Temporal and Spatial Distributions and Development of the Culture of Tomb Epitaphs in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period.” Journal of National Taiwan Normal University 68, no. 1 (2023): 45-85.