Nine Courts

The Nine Courts were nine service agencies in Imperial China that existed from the Northern Qi dynasty (550–577) to the Qing dynasty (1636–1912). Headed by the Nine Chamberlains, the offices were subordinate to the Three Departments and Six Ministries. They were mostly ceremonial in nature and held a fair amount of power. During the Ming dynasty, the heads of the nine court transitioned away from referring to the nine courts, but to the Six Ministries, the Censorate, the Office of Transmission, and the Grand Court of Revision. The number of courts was not always nine throughout history.

The nine courts throughout most of history were:

The Nine Courts and Ministers
Court Minister
Court of Imperial Sacrifices (太常寺) Minister of Ceremonies (太常)
Court of Imperial Entertainments (光祿寺) Minister of the Household (光祿勳)
Court of the Imperial Clan (宗正寺 or 宗人府) Minister of the Imperial Clan (宗正)
Court of the Imperial Stud (太僕寺) Minister Coachman (太僕)
Court of the Imperial Treasury (太府寺) Minister Steward (少府)
Court of the Imperial Regalia (衛尉寺) Minister of the Guards (衛尉)
Court of State Ceremonial (鴻臚寺) Minister Herald (大鴻臚)
Court of the National Granaries (司農寺) Minister of Finance (大司農)
Court of Judicature and Revision (大理寺) Minister of Justice (廷尉/大理)

See also


  • Hucker, Charles O. (1985). A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China. Stanford University Press. p. 177.