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Sources: Qing Official Collections

July 23, 2010
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Da Qing lichao shilu. 大清歷朝實錄. Taibei: Huawen shuju, 1963.

A basic source for Qing history, this collection includes memorials, edicts, and official records of the Qing emperors’ important activities. Arranged chronologically, it covers almost the entire Qing period except for the final reign of Xuantong. There is a wide range of content, from important institutional arrangements, major events, basic statistics of land and population, natural disasters, peasant rebellions, and diplomatic affairs, to mundane events such as routine visits to the emperor’s mother and naming a child of the imperial family. The researcher should be aware that some records of the Shilu have been revised; the Manchukuo edition in particular has been subject to selective editing for the years 1894-1895. A more complete edition is available in the First Historical Archives in Beijing.

Da Qing lichao shilu zongmu. 大清歷朝實錄宗目. Taibei: Huawen shuju, 1970.

An index to the Da Qing lichao shilu.

Jiang, Liangqi, and Xianqian Wang. Shi er chao donghua lu. 十二朝東華錄. Taibei xian Yonghe zhen: Wenhai chubanshe, 1963.

A collection of memorials and edicts which narrate important events of the Qing prior to the Guangxu reign. Although more detailed than the Shilu, it has been somewhat superceded by the published collections of the Palace Memorials.

Zhu, Shoupeng, and Jinglu Zhang. Guangxu chao tonghua lu. 光绪朝东华录. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1958.

A collection of memorials and edicts which narrate important events of the Guangxu reign. Although more detailed than the Shilu, it has been somewhat superceded by the published collections of the Palace Memorials.

Guoli gugong bowuyuan. 國立故宮博物院. Gugong wenxian bianji weiyuanhui. 故宮文獻編輯委員會. Gongzhong dang Guangxu chao zouzhe, gugong wenxian tekan. 宮中檔光緒朝奏折, 故宮文獻特刊. Taibei: Guoli gugong bowuyuan, 1973.

A compilation of the “secret” palace memorials from the Guangxu reign available in Taiwan archives. Each volume begins with a detailed index giving the date, author, and content of the memorial listed. Volumes organized chronologically. Similar volumes have been published for earlier Qing reigns.

Zhongguo di 1 lishi dang’an guan. 中国第一历史档案馆. Guangxu Xuantong liang chao shangyu dang. 光绪宣统两朝上谕档. Di 1 ban. Ed. Guilin shi: Guangxi shifan daxue chubanshe, 1996.

This multi-volume set contain the collected edicts of the Guangxu and Xuantong emperors. The volumes are arranged chronologically; there is a table of contents in each volume. Similar volumes have been published for earlier Qing reigns.

Kun, Gang. Qin ding da Qing huidian. 欽定大清會典 [100 juan: juan shou 1 juan]. China: s.n., 1899.

Details the Qing administrative code. Categories parallel the imperial bureaucratic organization (Six Boards, e.g.). Primarily concerned with administrative relations. There are five editions of the Qing Huidian: Kangxi (1690), Yongzheng (1732), Qianlong (1764), Jiaqing (1818), and Guangxu (1899 – cited above).

Qin ding da Qing huidian shili. 欽定大清會典事例 [1220 juan, juan shou 8 juan] China: s.n., 1899.

Provides greater breadth and depth to the Qing code as outlined in the Huidian. Provides a historical context to the law as it was practiced by incorporating specific cases and precedents. Organized along the same lines as the Huidian, but incorporates a wider range of topics. Shili were published to accompany both the Jiaqing and Guangxu Huidian.

Kun, Gang. Qin ding da Qing huidian tu. 欽定大清會典圖 [270 juan, juan shou 1 juan]. China: s.n., 1899.

These volumes focus on the geography, rituals, and weaponry of the Qing Empire. This is a very “visual” work: for example, not only does it include county and provincial maps, but also illustrations of ritual garments and weaponry. Published to accompany the Jiaqing and Guangxu Huidian.

Liu, Jinzao jin shi. Qing chao xu wenxian tongkao. 清朝續文獻通考 [400 juan], Guoxue jiben congshu. Taibei shi: Xinxing shuju, 1959 [1936].

A vast encyclopaedic collection, based largely on official sources. Covers tax and monetary policy, population, education and schools, state rituals and temples, military affairs, geography, and foreign relations. Organized by topic (see Fairbank’s Ch’ing Documents, 90-92, for a handy list). The reader should note that the Wenxian tongkao vary by period; Teng provides a nice summary of the different publications and their respective dates (An annotated bibliography…, 110-115).

Zhao, Erxun, and Ke Shaomin. Qing shi gao. 清史稿. Chuban. ed. Xianggang: Xianggang wenxue yanjiushe, 1960.

This is the official (draft) history of the Qing period, published in the republican era. The first volume is a table of contents, providing volume, juan, and page number for all sections and subjects.

The first section (beginning with the second volume) contains Benji (Basic Annals). It includes a few Ming emperors, and then begins in the 3rd juan with the Shunzhi emperor (called Shizu— since the annals use the emperor’s name and not the reign period name). Each emperor is represented by 1-5 juan. The entries are chronological. First the year is given, then the month and the day in stems and branches. Each month begins with a new paragraph. The season is usually noted on the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th months. At the end of each year is a section that begins with “This year…” that lists all tribes and nations that visited the emperor or paid tribute. Gardner notes in Traditional Chinese Historiography that when multiple subjects are covered in one day, they proceed in the following order: imperial ritual observances; calamities, signs, and portents, personal acts of the emperor; conferements, appointments, and transferring of officials, government business, movements of imperial troops, remissions of taxes, population and revenue, and presentation of tribute.

The Zhi — Essays section consists of essays organized by topic. Topics include astronomy, strange events, calenders, geography, ritual, music, sumptuary regulations, examinations, government offices, economics, waterways, war, justice, literature, and communication. Some “essays” are actually bibliographies, particularly in the literature sections which have bibliographies for each of many categories of writing.

The Biao — tables section contains tables displaying genealogies of princes, princesses, various officials, and foreign envoys.

The Zhuan — biographies section contains biographies of more than 2,400 people. They are arranged first by type of person, then by chronology. They include mainly officials, but also physicians and others. The last category is not biographical, but refers to “tributary states.”

In using this resource, Fairbank’s Ch’ing Documents warns that the table of contents of some editions are faulty. The version owned by UCSD is from 1977 and seems trustworthy. The 1928 version contains many errors.

Xi, Yufu. Huang chao zhengdian leizuan. 皇朝政典類纂 [500 juan]. Taibei shi: Chengwen chubanshe, 1969.

This documentary collection contains information from the beginning of the Qing Dynasty to 1900 that largely focuses on economic matters, especially taxation, and political affairs, such as selection of officials and foreign relations. Also included are sections on social topics such as population, music, schools, and ceremonies.


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