Communal land organization supposedly in effect early in the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC). It is mentioned in the writings of Mencius, who advocated it. In the well-field system, one unit of land was divided among eight peasant families. A shared field was surrounded by eight fields, each worked by an individual family. The field in the centre was worked jointly by the families for their lord. Later reformers referred to the concept to justify their land-redistribution systems or to criticize government land practices.
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