World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Three Ducal Ministers

Article Id: WHEBN0002712109
Reproduction Date:

Title: Three Ducal Ministers  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Cui Lin, Translation of Han dynasty titles, Han dynasty, Sun Yi, E (state)
Collection: Han Dynasty, Quantified Human Groups
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Three Ducal Ministers

The Three Ducal Ministers (Chinese: 三公; pinyin: Sāngōng), also translated as the Three Dukes, Three Excellencies, or the Three Lords, was the collective name for the three highest officials in ancient China.


  • Overview 1
  • Rank 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5


Each minister was responsible for different areas of government, but the boundaries were often blurred. Together, the Three Ducal Ministers were the emperor's closest advisors. Toward the end of the dynasty, the positions were often sold to men of wealth to raise state revenue. The Three Ducal Ministers were abolished by Cao Cao in 208 and replaced with the position of Imperial Chancellor.

Starting in the Zhou dynasty, the top three were:

During the Western Han dynasty, the three positions were:[1]

In the Eastern Han dynasty the names of the Three Ducal Ministers were changed to:

Because all the three name have the word "司" (), at the Eastern Han, the Three Ducal Ministers was also called "Sansī" (三司).[2]


During the Han dynasty civil service officials were classified according to twenty grades (reduced to sixteen after 32 BC), expressed by the official's annual salary in terms of so many dàn (石) or Chinese bushels of grain.[3] This extended from the ten-thousand-bushel rank at the top to the one-hundred-bushel at the bottom. Under this system, the Three Ducal Ministers all held the highest rank of ten-thousand-bushel.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Wang, p. 150.
  2. ^ "Official Titles of the Han dynasty: A Tentative List Compiled for The Han Dynasty History Project" (PDF).  
  3. ^ probably of wheat, the core of the Chinese Empire at that time being mainly on the North China Plain, above the Yangzi River. Rice came later to the area.
  4. ^ Wang, 137.


  • de Crespigny, Rafe (2007), A biographical dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23–220 AD), Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, .  
  • Wang, Yü-Ch'üan (June 1949). "An Outline of The Central Government of The Former Han Dynasty". Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies (Harvard-Yenching Institute) 12 (1/2): 134–187.  

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.