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Sources: Qing Special Collections – Taiping Rebellion

July 23, 2010

Teng, Ssu-yü. Historiography of the Taiping Rebellion, Harvard East Asian monographs. Cambridge, Mass.,: East Asian Research Center Harvard University; distributed by Harvard University Press, 1962.

An invaluable resource for anyone starting research on the Taiping. Although somewhat dated, the book is remarkable for its careful accounting of the historiography on the Taiping Rebellion. Teng outlines the documents available from both Qing and Taiping sources. He also provides a historio-biographical sketch of some of the most important Chinese scholars of the Taiping. Although his focus is on mainland China studies of the Taiping, he also reviews foreign language writings and sources.

Michael, Franz H., and University of Washington. Far Eastern and Russian Institute. The Taiping Rebellion; history and documents. Seattle,: University of Washington Press, 1966.

Volumes two and three represent the product of a massive translation project sponsored by the University of Washington in the 1950s and 1960s. Almost 400 Taiping documents (as in, promulgated by or relating to the Taiping) are translated therein. The translations are annotated and the documents are prefaced by a brief introduction. The document collection was as complete as possible at the time of publication, but is now somewhat dated (see Wang Qingcheng).

Wang, Zhongmin, Xiang Da, and Zhongguo shi xuehui. Taiping tianguo. 太平天国. Shanghai: Shengzhou guoguang she, 1952.

This source remains the primary document collection for the Taiping Rebellion. Contains a substantial number of Taiping documents as well as materials from elites hostile to the movement.

Wang, Qingcheng. Tianfu tianxiong shengzhi: xin faxian de Taiping tianguo zhengui wenxian shiliao. 天父天兄圣旨: 新发现的太平天国珍贵文献史料. Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe, 1986.

This volume contains recently-discovered transcripts of conversations between Hong Xiuquan, the Taiping King, and Yang Xiuqing and Xiao Chaogui, when they were possessed by God and Jesus, respectively. These documents are especially valuable in that they represent the early period of the Taiping movement, a time for which documents are especially scarce. Also included are very useful essays in which Wang assesses the impact of these sources on Taiping historiography.

Fang, Jiuzhong, Yu Binggun, Lu Jian, and Zhongguo di 1 lishi dang’an guan. Qing zhengfu zhenya Taiping tianguo dang’an shiliao. 清政府镇压太平天国档案史料. Beijing: Guangming ribao chubanshe, 1990.

A multi-volume collection of official (Qing) sources relating to the suppression of the Taiping. Organized chronologically; a detailed table of contents begins each volume.

Xia, Xie. Yuefei jishi. 粵匪紀實: [13 juan]. Edited by Shen Yunlong, Jindai Zhongguo shiliao congkan, 321. Taibei xian Yonghe zhen: Wenhai chubanshe, 1969.

An eyewitness account of the Taiping Rebellion. Teng considers this a fairly even-handed source (Historiography, 37).

Du, Wenlan. Pingding Yuefei jilue. 平定粵匪紀略. Jindai Zhongguo shiliao congkan; 41. Taibei xian Yonghe zhen: Wenhai chubanshe, 1967.

A contemporary account of the Taiping rebellion, 1850-1864, as recorded/compiled by Du Wenlan, a commander in the fight against the Taiping. See Teng, Historiography…, for notes on the bias of this source.


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