This article describes the range of contexts in which Tang dynasty officials formally paraded, usually but not always, before the emperor and within the palace precincts. Although these parades were soon politically disempowered, they register the often highly disruptive changes in the power structure of the central administration of the seventh and eighth centuries. The positions of imperial princes and the involvement of high court women in assemblies were both controversial in the first half of the dynasty. From the middle of the eighth century, the good order of the assemblies was further threatened by the intrusion of court eunuchs and by a fundamental shift in the structure of power. The original, statutory hierarchy of posts was subverted by a system of concurrent tenures and of increasingly powerful and independent provincial commissioners. The protocols for court assemblies only slowly recognized that these men had a place in court parades.


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pp. 1-60
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