An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

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.
Chen Jiahua 陳佳華 (1992). "Baqi tongzhi 八旗通志", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Vol. Minzu 民族, 20.
Chen Mo 陳墨 (1994). "Baqi tongzhi 八旗通志", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Lishi 歷史卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 616.
Gao Wende 高文德, ed. (1995). Zhongguo shaoshu minzu shi da cidian 中國少數民族史大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin jiaoyu chubanshe), 30.
Hosotani Yoshio 細谷良夫, Chen Jiahua 陳佳華, Liu Shizhe 就世哲 (1989). "Baqi tongzhi Qifen zhi de bianzuan ji qi beijing: Yongzheng chao zuoling gaige zhi yi 《八旗通志•旗分志》的編纂及其背景——雍正朝佐領改革之一", Minzu yicong 民族譯叢, 1989 (5).
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 1440.
Liu Aijun 劉愛君 (2007). "Qinding Baqi tongzhi shulüe 《欽定八旗通志》述略", Heilongjiang minzu congkan 黑龍江民族叢刊, 2007 (10).
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianmign Zhonguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 11.
Wulan Qimuge 烏蘭其木格 (2005). "Qinding Baqi tongzhi dianjiaoben kanwu 《欽定八旗通志》點校本勘誤", Qingshi yanjiu 清史研究, 2005 (2).
Xu Hengjin 徐恆晉 (1992). "Baqi tongzhi 八旗通志", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 10.
Zhao Degui 趙德貴 (2005). "Liang bu Baqi tongzhi bijiao yanjiu 兩部《八旗通志》比較研究", Manzu yanjiu 滿族研究, 2005 (9).