An Example of Song Spatial Complexity: Modeling Ningyuan
Ningyuan寧遠 in Guangnan West circuit had three different names over the course of the Song, three different jurisdiction types, and was transferred multiple times. In 1150 it was known as Jiyang and was a Rank Two zhou, while in 1080 it was a Rank Four town known as Linchuan, and in 1050 it was a Rank Three county known as Ningyuan. Hope Wright, whose work is organized by place name, describes some of the history of this place as follows:
The pre-release version of the DGSD organized all of this information according to Numeric Key Value 32730 in the Entity table, which was linked to nine separate entries with three separate names in the Historical Instance Table, 10 items concerning rank, population, and dependent markets and cantons in the Attribute table, as well as 2 items of spatial information in the Point Location table.
The current version of the DGSD divides the information about Ningyuan into two complex entities. The first entity (Numeric Key Value 46260) began the Song as Yai 崖zhou, and persisted in the form of various rank 2 entities (both jun and zhou), its name changing to Zhuyai 朱崖 and Jiyang 吉陽. For a time it was demoted into a county known as Ningyuan. The second entity (Numeric Key Value 32720) began the Song as Ningyuan county under the jurisdiction of Yai zhou. It was subsequently demoted to a market (zhen) and renamed Linchuan 臨川, then transferred, renamed and promoted in accordance with the numerous changes of entity 46260, and finally restored as Ningyuan county once again.
The DGSD attempts to reconcile historical ambiguities that Hope Wright, other authors of reference works—and indeed Song bureaucrats and authors themselves—were often able to elide.