Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History

Yakou Village

Yakou village is over 100 li from the county seat of Jinjiang, in Quanzhou Prefecture. The Shi lineage has gathered together and lives there in great numbers, with both good and bad people living together as one. The landscape is entirely composed of mountains facing the coast, and from the bay in front of the village it is only 10 li south to get to the the "outer ocean," a location through which all northbound boats must pass.*

Yakou Village is the ancestral home of the Shi lineage, whose surname dominates the village even today. In the Qing dynasty, lineages like the Shi who controlled coastal Fujianese villages like Yakou were extremely large and powerful. Lineages like the Shi were governed by a council of elders responsible for education, public works, investment, and arbitrating civil and (potentially) criminal disputes within the lineage. In other words, they were largely independent. The memorial about Shi Hou skirts around the issue somewhat in order to avoid alienating powerful lineage members, but the tone of the above quote indicates a common wary attitude among Qing officials towards lineages like the Shi and places like Yakou.

Yakou occupied a particularly strategic position within the political geography of southern Fujian. The village lay within the jurisdiction of the Jinjiang County Magistrate and the Quanzhou Prefect, both of whom had their offices in the city of Quanzhou. But Yakou is about as far from Quanzhou as possible within Jinjiang county. The village was also in the jurisdiction of the Xing-Quan-Yong Circuit Intendant, whose offices were in Xiamen, a city that also housed the Fujian Admiral (shuishi tidu) and the bulk of the Qing's southeastern navy. But as the map below shows, by virtue of Shenhu Bay, Yakou is out of sight of Xiamen, hidden by a bulky peninsula.

*Junji chu hanwen lufu zhouzhe (Grand Council Chinese-Language Palace Memorial Copies), Beijing: First Historical Archives, 03-4007-048, DG 18.10.29

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