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Baqi tongzhi 八旗通志

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Baqi tongzhi 八旗通志 "Comprehensive statutes of the Eight Banners", Manchu title Jakūn gūsa-i tung j'i-i sucungga weilehe bithe, is a detailed description of the military, social and administrative structure of the Manchu Banners during the early and middle Qing period 清 (1644-1911).

The founder of the Manchu dynasty, Nurhaci (Qing Taizu 清太祖, r. 1616-1626), divided the people of the Jurchen/Manchu federation as well at those of his first allies, including Mongols and Chinese, into eight different so-called "banners" (qi 旗). After the conquest of China this socio-military structure was preserved and kept being valid through the whole Qing period.

The statutes for the Banners were compiled and published in several parts and steps. The first version was later called Baqi tongzhi chuji 八旗通志初集 "The first collection" and comprised 253 chapters (juan). The draft was submitted in 1727 and the book was finished in 1739. It covered all aspects of the Banner structure from its origins to the end of the Yongzheng reign-period 雍正 (1723-1735).

In 1772 the bannerman Fulunggan (Ch. Fulong'an 福隆安, 1746-1784) began updating of the book that only obtained its final form - and name - in 1796. In the beginning the supplement had also been called erji 二集 "second collection".

As sources for the 342 juan of the final version, many different types of historiographical books were used: veritable records (shilu 實錄), official statutes (huidian 會典), imperial edicts to the different banners or memorials from bannermen, the local gazetteer from the early Manchu capital Shengjing 盛京 (Mukden, modern Liaoyang 遼陽, Liaoning), but also various official and inoffical documents from the Banner troops and their civil administration in the capital and the provinces of China, as well as private records and documents like tombstone inscriptions (beiwen 碑文) and funeral texts (jiwen 祭文). Such documents would otherwise not have been preserved and are therefore of great historiographical importance.

The final version of 1796 included the first version and the supplement, except some few changes. The collective biographies (liezhuan 列傳) were renamed renwuzhi 人物志 "treatises on personalities", the table on state examinations was made a treatise, and a new treatise on clans (shizu 氏族) was compiled.

The content of the Baqi tongzhi covers administrative aspects like the geographical distribution of Banner troops and their families, the land allotted to them, bestowment of titles of nobility to meritorious banner-leaders, military and civil administration, education, state and official rituals, and the literary works of bannermen, most of whom also participated in the local and central government. Like in many historiographical books, the last part of the Baqi tongzhi contains biographies of eminent persons - males and females - from the Manchu, Mongol and Chinese Banner population.

Table 1. Contents of the Baqi tongzhi 八旗通志
Treatises (zhi 志)
1-31 旗分志 The different Banners
62-77 土田志 Land allotments
112-119 營建志 Setting up garrisons
32-41 兵制志 Military system
42-53 職官志 Offices
94-101 學校志 Education
78-93 典禮志 Rituals
120 藝文志 Literature
54-61 氏族志 Clans (only in final version)
Tables (biao 表)
270-277 封爵表 Hereditary titles
278-309 世職表 Hereditary offices
321-327, 339-342 八旗大臣表 (八旗都統年表, 八旗大臣題名) Grand ministers of the Banner [command]
310 宗人表 Members of the imperial house
311-313 内閣大臣表 Grand ministers of the imperial secretariat
314-316 部院大臣表 Grand ministers of the ministries
329-338 直省大臣表 Grand ministers in the provinces
102-111 選舉表/志 State examinations and appointment (later made a treatise)
317-319 内大臣年表 Year-by-year table of the Grand Ministers in the secretariat (only in final version)
Biographies (zhuan 傳) (later reorganised as treatise 人物志 Renwu Personalities)
121-134 宗室王公傳 Princes and dukes of the imperial house
135-206 名臣傳 (大臣傳) Famous ministers
勛臣傳 Meritorious officials (later merged)
207-235 忠烈傳 (忠義傳) [Officials displaying] loyalty
236-239 循吏傳 Benevolent officials
儒林傳 The forest of scholars (later merged)
240 孝義傳 [Officials displaying] filial piety
241-269 列女傳 Eminent females
Order according to the first version; numbers referring to fascicles in the Siku quanshu 四庫全書 edition.
Sources:
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