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Chinese Literature
Chengui 臣軌 "Pathways of Ministers"


The Chengui 臣軌 "Pathways of Ministers" is an instruction to state officials compiled by Empress Wu Zetian 武則天 (regent 684-690, ruler 690-704) who ruled during the Tang period 唐 (618-907) and founded her own dynasty called Zhou 周 (690-704). The 2 juan "scrolls" long book had a forerunner called Bailiao xinjie 百僚新誡 "New Admonitions to the Hundred Officials" that was issued in 686. It consisted of a lot of quotations from older sources. Shortly later the Chengui was issed. The first part consists of five chapters discussion the unit created by the ruler and his ministers (Tongti zhang 同體章), the loyalty of officials (Zizhong zhang 至忠章), the ruler's duty to follow the "Way" of the state and the dynasty (Shoudao zhang 守道章), the impartial administration of officials (Gongzheng zhang 公正章) and the duty of ministers to submit remonstrances to their ruler (Kuangjian zhang 匡諫章). The second part, also divided into five chapters, discusses sicerity and trustworthiness (Chengxin zhang 誠信章), sincerity and consciousness of duty (Shenmi zhang 慎密章), resistance to corruption (Lianjie zhang 廉潔章), leadership qualities of generals (Liangjiang zhang 良將章) and the duty of everyone to serve only the people (Liren zhang 利人章). In 693 Empress Wu ordered that graduates of the provincial examinations had to study the Chengui and eliminated the book Laozi 老子 (Daodejing 道德經) from the curriculum (which had been an important text for the Tang dynasty because Laozi was the patron of the house of Tang).
The original text went lost when the Jurchens conquered northern China, but a copy survived in Japan. It is included in the collectaneum Yicun congshu (Isson sōsho) 佚存叢書 and has also found ist way into the Chinese collectanea Wanwei biecang 宛委別藏 and Yueyatang congshu 粵雅堂叢書. A commented edition was published by Luo Zhenyu 羅振玉 in the collection Dongfang xuehui congshu 東方學會叢書.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe, vol. 2, p. 1429.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

October 6, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail