1985 Volume 94 Issue 7 Pages 1172-1194,1283-
A class called "chung chia" existed In the Han period. Its estate and status are the matters of great significance in Consi-dering the social structure of the time, but the existing opinions are by no means In agreement. This article attempts to investigate the subject by considering the aspect of estate wealth inscriptions, and for that purpose, examples of the direct historical source, Chu Yen Han Chien (居延漢簡), were examined. In these examples, "Chia"(賈), "chih" (直) were used for indicating price. Though the relation between them was originally relative, in many cases, "chia" indicated unit price, and "chih" meant total amount With regard to this fact, analysis of the Li Chung strip (礼忠簡) and the Hsu Tsung strip (徐宗簡), concrete property documents in Chu Yen Han Chien, shows that the nature of estate wealth inscriptions on these wooden stripe was very special in nature. In the Han period, there were two types of estate inscriptions: one was of such a special nature and used in relation to statemeasures, while the other was the general sort which prevailed in everyday life. Based on this understanding, relative historical materials were examined respectively, and as a result, the matter on chung chia is regarded as follows. Chung chia corresponded to standard peasants, and its estate amounted to ten chin (金), that is, a hundred thousand chien (銭) in ordinary sort. Then the author considers the matter of stratum-classification, and it makes clear that, as to property amount, there was little difference between small peasants and the poverty class (貧家). On the other hand, powerful families (豪族) overwhelmed these two classes. It would therefore be appropriate to grasp Han social structure in terms of this polarity.