Files of Supported Storage of Horses and Fodder in Changxing Fang

In those Ancient Tombs of Astana, bones of many deceased people were covered with paper coffins. These were some paper-made funeral object, such as clothes and boots. These funeral objects were made of a kind of paper of document, files, letters and account books used by government at that time. The words on them were all written with brush. Archeologists used special ways to tried to restore them. In that case, the documents of Tang Dynasty saw the light of day again. They were called the document of Turpan. Experts said that the reason that these paper documents could be saved was mainly that Turpan Prefecture had a dry climate and quite low groundwater level. So the paper was hard to rot. These official documents of Tang Dynasty which have a long history of more than 1300 years are rare to see in Central Plains. It is because the special landscape of Turpan that they were preserved and of high value of history documents. On the front of the "Files" there were the stamp of Tianshan County, the stamp of Gaochang Country, the stamp of Military Government of Jiaohe Jun, and other red seals. These government departments were set by Tan Count to manage Xinjiang.

Changxing Fang was a horse house set by Tang government for providing services for military and political matters, interactions between officials as well as transportations. This institution mainly aimed at raising horses. Changxing Fang and its subordinated stages managed more than one thousand post horses. Those post horses were prepared for officials and messengers. Therefore, a set of strict managing regulations was a must to ensure the normal function of the institution.

"Files of Supported Storage of Horses and Fodder in Changxing Fang" recorded the historical documents of Tang government providing horses for armies and officials for long distance transportation in Xinjiang Area. There were detailed records of horses in Changxing Fang. All the post horses belonging to Changxing Fang, as well as subordinated stages needed to be registered. The contents recorded included color, gender, mark and feature of horses and so on. Delivery and recovery of post horses were carried on the books. From "Files of Supported Storage of Horses and Fodder in Changxing Fang", we can know  every task of post horses, such as transportation and military operation, as well as activities of court officials and local officials rushing about between desert and green oasis. The "Files" specially recorded that of Tang Dynasty, Fang Changqiong, always used several dozens of horses because of lots of attaches when going on a trip. Feng Changqing was the provincial governor of Beiting Yixi, commanding more than ten thousand soldiers.

These files that recorded of the transaction of horses between the Central Plains and Xinjiang recreate clearly the jurisdiction and governance of Xinjiang by Tang central government in the eighth century. Although the capital Chang'an was far away from Xinjiang, due to Tang government's perfect managerial system built in stages of Xinjiang, Xinjiang was well-governed.

"Files of Supported Storage of Horses and Fodder in Changxing Fang" recorded as following: Six horses of Magistrate Cen and his partners had eaten some fodder in the stage. Magistrate Cen paid for the fodder. The fifteenth chapter also recorded something similar to this. After study, experts thought that in the last years of Tianbao period of Emperor Xuanzong, among the magistrates working in Feng Changqing's office there was only one whose last name was Cen. The man was Cen Shen. So experts judged that the Magistrate Cen in the files is Cen Shen.

Magistrate Cen recorded in the "Files" is the famous Cen Shen of Tang Dynasty. He was working at the office of Feng Changqing, the then provincial governor of Xinjiang, as magistrate. Magistrates were ministers sent through over the country by central government to work as temporary officials. Feng Changqing was the provincial governor of Beiting Yixi. He had great power. During the period of Emperor Xuanzong, provincial governor was the government official system used in Xinjiang. At that time, there were provincial governor of four towns in Anxi, and provincial governor of Yixi Beiting in Xinjiang coexisting with Frontier Command Headquarters of Anxi and Beiting. Provincial governor controlled important power such as financial and military power. It's worth mentioning that it's the second time of Cen Shen to work in Xinjiang. According to the records, the "Files of Supported Storage of Horses and Fodder in Changxing Fang", his second position in Xinjiang Province was magistrate that was higher than secretary. 


As a scholar, Cen Shen went to north of the Great Wall twice with ambition of making contributions and starting career there. He lived there for six years totally, and had written a plenty of poems for frontier fortress. His poems are splendid in appearance, plentiful in imagination and various in manner. The poems present many fantastic and splendid pictures of north of the Great Wall. Meanwhile, they praise the fearless frontier soldiers.

Xinjiang is at the border of the northwest. It has unique dessert landscape, uncanny workmanship of nature, and cattle and sheep scattering on green grassland. Being faced with such scenery, Cen Shen was full of spirit and created frontier poems that enjoyed great popularity. Frontier poems of Cen Shen not only describe splendid scenery in Xinjiang, but also portray the fighting situation of soldiers in Tang Dynasty.

Among Chinese frontier poets in Tang Dynasty, there were very few ones that had a real experience of being a soldier in frontier. While Cen Shen went to Xinjiang and joined army twice, therefore he accumulated rich experiences of life in border area. And this contributed to his role that was second to none.

"Files of Supported Storage of Horses and Fodder in Changxing Fang" recorded official documents of Changxing Fang, Jiaohe Jun in Tang Dynasty and the footprints of famous frontier poet, Cen Shen in northwest areas. The valuable "Files" provides descendants with important evidence about the history of Tang Dynasty's frontier and creation of Cen Shen's frontier poem.

 

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