Abstract Dates and Currency I. Introduction 1. The story of the wealthiest 2. Research question: A contract society? 2.1. Economic
success, social order, and contracts 2.2. The general puzzle of how and why the contract worked 3. Sources: The Qingshui
River region and beyond 3.1. A brief introduction to the Qingshui River manuscripts and their studies 3.1.1. The discovery 3.1.2.
Where and when?3.1.3. The content 3.1.4. Major collections, publications, and state of the field 3.2. Sources in and beyond
the Region 3.2.1. Taking the Qingshui River manuscripts as the core source 3.2.2. Wendou, a cluster of villages, the region,
and beyond 4. Synopsis and structure of this study II. Rediscovering Contract in the Qingshui River Region 1. Introduction:
Standard and borderline contracts 1.1. A general and complex term 1.2. "Standard cases" and "borderline cases" 2. Contracts
in law and practice 2.1. Contracts in contract laws 2.1.1. Defining contract in laws: A comparative approach 2.1.2. Contracts
and the Great Qing Code 2.1.3. Contracts without contract law? 2.2. Categorization of contracts in everyday life 2.2.1. Contractual
manuals 2.2.2. A necessary hypothesis 3. Contents of a contract: Beyond agreement i Table of Contents 3.1. The tense of a
contract: Future or past? 3.2. The performance of contracts 3.2.1. Contracts need no performance 3.2.2. Producing contracts
as the performance 3.3. Championing the past in the future 3.3.1. Negative obligations in the future tense 3.3.2. The established
and confirmed 3.4. Transcending as an agreement 3.4.1. Contract without agreement? 3.4.2. Jural relations: An external observation 4. Identifying
contracts by form: The internal and external 4.1. The textual form 4.1.1. Essential elements? The changing and unchanged 4.1.2.
Specialized language and formulaic expressions 4.2. The ritual form 4.2.1. Customs of contracting 4.2.2. Textual reflections 4.3. The
formulaic beginning of a contract: Indicating and integrating 4.3.1. The formula of the beginning 4.3.2. Integrating the form
and content 4.3.3. The indicator as a shortcut 5. Paper matters: The materiality of contracts 5.1. The burning of contracts 5.1.1.
The story of Yao the Millionaire 5.1.2. A contract of dispute settlement 5.2. The non-conceptual contract: The contract and
its material carriers 5.2.1. The abstract and concrete contract 5.2.2. Material carriers other than paper 5.3. The validity
of the material: Oral and non-original 5.3.1. Oral contracts5.3.2. Copies of the contract 6. Conclusion III. Middlemen1. Introduction:
Understanding middlemen within a contract 2. The primary and the secondary: Formation and restoration 2.1. Four roles 2.2. Two
levels 3. The primary: Introducers, witnesses, and guarantors 3.1. Introduction 3.1.1. Matchmaking and facilitation 3.1.2.
Duzhong ii Table of Contents3.1.3. Hanzhong 3.2. Witnessing 3.3. Guarantee 4. The secondary: Arbitrators and peacemakers 4.1. The
"original middleman" 4.2. Arbitration 4.2.1. Fact-finding 4.2.2. Reasoning 4.3. Mediation 5. The middleman as the third
party and the third party as the middleman 5.1. The involvement of the middleman in a contract 5.2. Incorporating various
third parties as middlemen 5.3. A partly open system of middlemen 6. Conclusion 1V. Scribes 1. Introduction: Taking scribes
seriously 1.1. Scribes and the writing of contracts 1.2. Contractual scribes, official scribes, and litigation lawyers 1.3. The
institution of scribes and its operation 2. The demand for scribes 2.1. The typology of contract writers 2.2. The number
of scribes 2.3. The proportion of holographic contracts and the extent of scribal demand 2.4. The demand for scribes in
different kinds of contracts 3. Drafting of a contract by a scribe 3.1. Appointing the scribe 3.2. Sources for writing
contract content: Words and drafts 3.2.1. Yikou or according to the spoken words 3.2.2. Yigao or according to the draft 3.3. Communicating
knowledge of contract forms 3.3.1. Knowledge communication from the hinterland to the frontier area 3.3.2. Exercising contract
forms in villages: Application and imitation 3.4. Postscripts and signatures 4. Scribe's fee 4.1. To pay or not to pay? 4.2. How
much? 4.3. Which is higher? Comparison of the scribe's fee and the middleman's 4.4. Who pays? 4.5. How and when to pay? 5. Conclusion
iii Table of ContentsV. Functioning Mechanism of Contracts in the Society 1. Introduction: Contract in its context 1.1. Revisiting
the contract within the society 1.2. The functioning mechanism of contracts2. The question of honoring contracts: Departing
from the myth of enforcement 2.1. Contractual order as an empirical fact 2.2. Generic and sui generis: The logic of enforcement 2.3. A
weaker "gunman" and a better "bad man"? Shifting to "the internal point of view" 3. Recognition and the rightfulness of the
contract 3.1. Contract text as justification 3.2. Behind the text: Willingness and estoppel 3.2.1. Willingness 3.2.2. Estoppel 3.3. Recognition
and property order 3.3.1. Universal recognition and its limitations in context 3.3.2. Three levels of recognizers 3.3.3. Justifying
the post-transaction property order in the contract text 4. Making recognition provable: Publicity and perpetuity of contracts 4.1. Indispensable
proofs: Ping in the contract text 4.1.1. Ping and the contract manuscript 4.1.2. Ping and the middleman 4.2. Middlemen and
the publicity of contracts 4.2.1. From private to public through the middleman 4.2.2. Contracts without middlemen 4.3. Scribes
and the perpetuity of contracts 4.3.1. The power of words: Readers in the future 4.3.2. Renewing the contract 4.4. Provable
recognition 5. In contract we trust? A blockchain-like trust architecture 5.1. Blockchain, non-centrality, and trust architecture 5.1.1.
Blockchain as a novel solution 5.1.2. A noncentral trust architecture 5.2. Broadcasting the contract: Distributed ledger
in the village society 5.3. Chaining the contract: The contextualization of a contract 5.3.1. The consecutiveness of contracts5.3.2.
Correcting the chaining error: A case 5.4. Literacy as a technical barrier 5.4.1. Literacy as a technique 5.4.2. The fall
of a scribe: The price of forgery 5.5. Authenticity and the construction of trust architecture 6. Conclusion iv Table of
ContentsVI. Beyond Public and Private: Contract and Social Order 1. Contract as a practical device: Structuring the rediscoveries 1.1. The
tripartite structure of contracts: A theory 1.1.1. An overview: Materiality, formality, and substantiality 1.1.2. The sequence
of examination 1.2. Application and verification 1.2.1. Materiality: The remade contracts 1.2.2. Formality: The contract
of mountain allocation 1.2.3. Substantiality: Contracts of kitty and tomb contracts 2. Contract as a social system: The technicalization
of morality 2.1. Contract and its context 2.1.1. An overview: Middlemen, scribes, and functioning mechanism 2.1.2. Contract
as the technicalization of morality 2.2. Restoration of order: Challenges from breaches and forgeries 2.2.1. Disputes and
excuses for breach2.2.2. Forgeries: Legitimization within the context 2.2.3. Restoring order through contracts 3. Private
contracts and public order 3.1.1. Applying contracts in public issues 3.1.2. Facing the super-large-scale stranger society VII.
Conclusion GLOSSARY BIBLIOGRAPHY