- Well-field system
The well-field system (zh-cp|c=井田制度|p=jǐngtián zhìdù) was a Chinese land distribution method since at least 9th century BC (late Western
Zhou Dynasty). It is named after the Chinese characterfor "well" (井 "jǐng"), which looks like the # symbol and represents the theoretical appearance for a piece of land under such an organization: the eight surrounding outer blocks being private (私田; sītián), and the central one block being communal or public (公田; gōngtián).
The entire fields are aristocrat-owned, but the private fields' produce is entirely the farmers'. The communal farms are worked on by all eight families, and the produce goes to the aristocrats.
The system was first suspended by
Shang Yangin the state of Qin; other states followed suit. It was practically eclipsed by land privatisation during the Warring States Period.
As part of the "turning the clock back" reformations by
Wang Mangduring the short-lived Xin Dynasty, the system was restored temporarily and renamed to the King's Fields (王田; wángtián).
The practice was more or less ended by the
Song Dynasty, but scholars like Zhang Zaiand Su Xunwere enthusiastic about its restoration and spoke of it in a perhaps oversimplifying admiration, invoking Mencius' frequent praise of the system.
Whether a pure well-field system ever existed is controversial.
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