An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Diangu jiwen 典故紀聞

Aug 16, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

(Huangchao) or (Huangming) Diangu jiwen (皇朝/皇明)典故紀聞 "Reports of governmental affairs (of the August Dynasty/Ming)" is a book written in biji 筆記 "essay" style and compiled by the late Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Yu Jideng 余繼登 (d. 1600, jinshi degree 1577), courtesy name Shiyong 世用, style Yunqu 雲衢, from Jiaohe 交河, Hebei. His highest office was Minister of Rites (libu shangshu 禮部尚書).

As a member of the Hanlin Academy 翰林院 he had access to archival documents like "veritable records" (shilu 實錄), imperial diaries (qijuzhu 起居注), and various information, often transmitted orally.

Based on these sayings and data, he compiled his book of 18 juan length. It includes information on the tax and corvée system, the appanages of imperial kinsmen as paid out by the Western Depot (Xichang 西廠), which was controlled by eunuchs, expenditure of the institutions as used and illegally converted by officials of the Longmen Gate 隆門 under the Ministry of War (bingbu 兵部), the introduction of monthly financial reports of the national silver vault (taicang yinku 太倉銀庫), expenditure for frontier defense, and many more. Even if many statements are important and not found in other sources, quite a few allegations are barley believable, and some problematic issues are embellished.

The book was first printed during the Wanli reign-period 萬曆 (1573-1619). A precious specimen is owned by the Library of Congress in Washington. The text is included in the series Jifu congshu 畿輔叢書, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編, and Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書.

Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 512.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1994). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Wenxue 文學卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 400.
Wu Shenyuan 吳申元 (1994). "Diangu jiwen 典故紀聞", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Jingji 經濟卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 311.