The bare offical 裸官 and his karaoke

Pingyao in Jinzhong, China

The palatial Pingyao county gov office 县衙 on Yamen Street was originally built in 1346. It’s completed with memorial archway 牌楼, ceremony gate 仪门, big hall 大堂,  erlang/second hall 二堂, daxian tower 大仙楼, prison 牢狱, residence 内宅, gardens 花园 and buildings for the six major departments 六部.  During the last two dynasties (1368 – 1911) 149 magistrates lived and worked here.

They really shouldn’t allow the vendor by the entrance, a big fat eyesore!!

The karaoke – theater and garden were perks to sweeten up their working condition.

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Cuohou/Yashen 酂侯/衙神 Temple within was constructed in honor of the able Prime Minister Xiao He 萧何 who’s from the humble position and led the country to peace and stability. The temple is also served as model, reminding other officials.

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Does the prison look less intimidating than the torture?

According to the young tour guide, these 149 magistrates and their peers were the first bare official 裸官 because they were never local boys (always appointed from out of province, to prevent corruption) and not allowed to bring their families, again, in an effort to prevent corruption. Each year they got about a month of home leave. I’m thinking, the measure was bit tough and lack of trust – as if the emperors didn’t believe that the officials would self rule.

However, when I take up this subject with one of my uncles whom I very much respect, he said, point blank, the tour guide’s wrong. Officials did bring their families with them. He gave a few examples to support. The reason I brought this subject up is, myself have read about officials, in the past, did bring their families. Who’s right? Why is there such stark discrepancy?


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