An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

jiusi wujian 九寺五監

Mar 17, 2018 © Ulrich Theobald

The Nine Courts and Five Directorates (jiusi wujian 九寺五監) were agencies of the central government of China throughout imperial times.

The Nine Courts were headed by chamberlains or chief ministers (qing 卿, see Nine Chamberlains), one or more vice ministers (shaoqing 少卿), and assistant ministers (cheng 丞) and were subordinated to the Imperial Secretariat (shangshusheng 尚書省) for most of the time.

Table 1. The Nine Courts (jiusi 九寺) under the Imperial Secretariat
太常寺 taichangsi Court of Imperial Sacrifices
光祿寺 guanglusi Court of Imperial Entertainments
衛尉寺 weiweisi Court of Imperial Regalia
宗正寺 zongzhengsi Court of the Imperial Family
太僕寺 taipusi Court of the Imperial Stud
大理寺 dalisi Court of Judicial Review
鴻臚寺 honglusi Court of State Ceremonial
司農寺 sinongsi Court of Imperial Granaries
太府寺 taifusi Court of the imperial Treasury

What agencies counted to the Five Directorates, changed over time. The Directorate of Waterways (dushuijian 都水監), the Directorate for Imperial Manufactories (shaofujian 少府監), and the Directorate for the Palace Buildings (jianzuojian 將作監) were always part of the group. During the Sui period 隋 (581-618), either the Directorate for Armaments (junqijian 軍器監) or the Directorate of Palace Domestic Service (changqiujian 長秋監) was included. The Sui and Tang 唐 (618-907) counted also the Directorate of Education (guozijian 國子監) to the Five Directorates. The Directorate of Armaments was part of the group during the Tang and Song 宋 (960-1279) periods, and the latter added the Directorate of Astronomy (sitianjian 司天監).

Table 2. The Five Directorates (wujian 五監) under the Imperial Secretariat
都水監 dushuijian Directorate of Waterways
少府監 shaofujian Directorate for Imperial Manufactories
將作監 jiangzuojian Directorate for Palace Buildings
軍器監 junqijian Directorate for Armaments
(長秋監) (Changqiujian) (Directorate of Palace Domestic Service)
國子監 guozijian Directorate of Education
(司天監) (sitianjian) (Directorate of Astronomy)
Hucker, Charles O. (1985). A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Stanford: Stanford University Press), no. 1317, 7746.
Lü Zongli 呂宗力, ed. (1994). Zhongguo lidai guanzhi da cidian 中國歷代官制大辭典 (Beijing: Beijing chubanshe), 10, 98.
Wang Sheng 王晟 (1998). "Jiusi 九寺", in Tang Jiahong 唐嘉弘, ed. Zhongguo gudai dianzhang zhidu da cidian 中國古代典章制度大辭典 (Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe), 415.
Wang Sheng 王晟 (1998). "Wujian 五監", in Tang Jiahong 唐嘉弘, ed. Zhongguo gudai dianzhang zhidu da cidian 中國古代典章制度大辭典 (Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe), 877.
Zhang Zhenglang 張政烺, ed. (1990). Zhongguo gudai zhiguan da cidian 中國古代職官大辭典 (Zhengzhou: Henan renmin chubanshe), 11, 118.