The use of the title “Great King” （大王） by the military governor of Lu-long （盧龍） at the end of the Tang dynasty
119 , 2016-04-01 , 関西大学東西学術研究所
This paper investigates the use of the title “Great King” （大王） by the military governor of Lu-long （盧龍） at the end of the ninth century, using a stone inscription called the “Zhongcan sheliji （重蔵舎利記）” at Mingzhong （憫忠） temple in You-zhou （幽州） as a reference. In this inscription, Li-Keju （李可挙）, military governor of Lu-long, is called “Great King,” but this is not an isolated occurrence; I have been able to confirm its use in other historical sources from the 880s and 890s, such as Guiyuan bigeng ji （『桂苑筆耕集』）and Ermu ji （『耳目記』）. Around this time, changes in the Tang system of investiture permitted individuals of commoner origin, such as military governors, to use the title of “king” （王）, a privilege formerly reserved for members of the imperial family. “Great King” is presumed to be an honorific form of this title. Moreover, the forms of spacing and line breaks employed in the inscription suggest that the monks of Minzhong temple were according a military governor with the title of king even greater respect than the emperor. In the late-ninth century, the power and prestige of the imperial court had been dealt a major blow by the rebellion of Huang-Chao （黄巣）, and the military governor of Lu-long had embraced the ambition of overthrowing the Tang court and seizing the empire for himself. Such power relations, political and military, between the Tang court and the military governor would appear to have influenced the style and format of the “Zhongcan sheliji” inscription.