Cāng Cí appellation Xiàorén was a Huáinán man. He began as a prefecture official. During Jiàn’ān [196-220], Tàizǔ began recruiting for Garrison-Farms in Huáinán, and appointed Cí as Collections Commandant. At Huángchū’s end, he became Cháng’ān magistrate, was pure and frugal with correct conduct, and the officials and people feared and loved him.
During Tàihé [227-233] he was promoted to Dùnhuáng Administrator. The prefecture was on the western frontier, and due to the tragic chaos was cut off, and had been neglected and without Administrator for twenty years, the great clans were imposing and flourishing, and therefore took over customs. Former Administrator Yǐn Fèng and others followed the former situation and nothing more, making no corrections or reforms. Cí arrived, restrained and dampened the powerful, comforting and giving relief to the poor and weak, greatly obtaining his reasoning. Formerly the great clans’ fields and lands were abundant, but the lesser people had no land to set up plows; Cí all at once by population divided and gave out [land], slowly allowing everyone to set themselves up. Before this the cities’ prison and litigation cases were many, the counties could not resolve them, and many gathered below the [prefecture] government; Cí personally went and reviewed them, judged their severity, and those that were not executions, he only used flogging to deal with them, and in one year the execution punishments were not used for more than ten people. Also, often the Western Region’s various Hú peoples wish to come with tribute, but the various powerful clans often opposed and cut them off, and even in commerce and trade, they cheated and insulted, and many could not be clearly contested, so the Hú peoples always complained, and Cí all consoled them. Those [Hú] that wished to visit Luò[yáng] were given letters allowing passage, those that wished to from the prefecture return [to their homelands], the government fairly dealt with them, always with government inspected materials to trade in the market, and sending officials and people to escort them on the road; because of the people and the foreigners were friendly and praised his virtue and kindness.
After several years he died in office, the officials and people were sorrowful as if mourning for close kin, and drew his portrait, to remember his image. When the Western Region’s various Hú heard that Cí had died, all gathered together below the government offices of the Five-Six Colonel and the [county] Chiefs to mourn, some using knives to carve their faces, to show their blood and sincerity, and also for him established shrine, together offering sacrifices. (1)
- (1) Wèilüè states: Tiānshuǐ’s Wáng Qiān succeeded Cí, but although he followed his example, he could not match him. Jīnchéng’s Zhào Jī succeeded [Wáng] Qiān later, and again could not match [Wáng] Qiān. Reaching Jiāpíng [249-254], Āndìng’s Huángfǔ Lóng succeeded [Zhào] Jī as Administrator. Previously, Dùnhuáng was not knowledgeable of farming, always irrigating and flooding with water, causing it to be completely wet and muddy, and only afterward plowed. Also they did not know how to make seed drills, used water and then planted, so that the people and oxen wasted their strength, and the gathered grain was very little. [Huángfǔ] Lóng arrived, taught how to make seed drills, and also taught how to spread out irrigation, and at the year’s end’s calculations, the conserved labor was over half, and the obtained grain increased five [out of ten]. Also in Dùnhuáng’s customs, when married women made skirts, they twisted strands like goat intestine, using cloth of one pǐ; [Huángfǔ] Lóng also prohibited and changed this, and the savings could not be counted. Therefore Dùnhuáng’s people believed [Huángfǔ] Lóng’s firm decisiveness and strict resolution did not match Cí, but his industriousness respect and love and kindness, and benefits for subordinates, could be after him.