An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Beizheng shiji 北征事蹟

Aug 16, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Beizheng shiji 北征事蹟 "Occurrences during the northern campaign" is a brief report on a military campaign against the Mongols written by the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) official Yuan Bin 袁彬 xxx, courtesy name Wenzhi 文質, from Xinchang 新昌, Jiangxi. He was commandant (xiaowei 校尉) of the Brocade Guard (jinyiwei 錦衣衛), a kind of bodyguard of Emperor Yingzong 明英宗 (r. 1435-1449 and 1457-1464).

The compilation of the book was carried out on order of Emperor Xianzong 明憲宗 (r. 1464-1487). It is structured as a kind of source book, quoting from routine memorials (tiben 題本) of the time. The texts ends with the imperial edict of Emperor Xianzong from 1464.

It describes the campaign against the Mongolian leader Esen Khan (d. 1455, Chinese transcription Yexian 也先) and the emperor's capture in his camp at Tumu 土木堡 (near modern Huailai 懷來, Hebei) in 1449. The book can be seen as a parallel to Lu Dingzhi's 劉定之 Pitailu 否泰錄, but contains less information than the latter, and differs in some points. There are also differences to reports in the official dynastic history Mingshi 明史, mainly questions of dates. This may be due to the long time which had elapsed between the events and the compilation of the book. The Beizheng shiji, for instance, does not mention Esen's request to the Ming court take back the emperor and Yingzong's urgent plea to Beijing in early 1449 to pick him up. The date of the visit of Li Shi 李實, Luo Qi 羅綺, and Ma Xian 馬顯 in Esen's camp in 1457 and their reception by Yingzong is dated Tianshun 天順 1/7/1 in the Pitailu, but to the fifth month in Yuan Bin's book. A different date is also found for Xi Ning's 喜甯 attack on Censor Sun Xiang 孫祥.

The book catalogue Qianqingtang shumu 千頃堂書目 remarks that one source (?), the author is called Yin Xuan 尹宣, which is quite improbable.

The text is included in the series Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書.

Siku quanshu zongmu tiyao 四庫全書總目提要, 53.