China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Within the tradition of Yuan household registration, Ming Dynasty civil servants regularly recruited labor for the state through the yellow registers. This duty included not only a thorough awareness of the raw materials and tools of material production. Civil servants also had to have, at least, a working, if not, conceptual understanding of the working processes in weaving, mining, carpentry or lacquer production, hydraulic engineering or agriculture. This paper looks into discussions on the time and nature of corvée labour from the Early to mid-Ming dynasty and its representation in Local Gazetteers. I will pay particular attention to the identification of tasks and discussions on the times (seasonality) and duration of corvée labour, a point that has thus far been mainly discussed in terms of finance politics and a shift from corvée into paid labor.