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Huangchao fanbu yaolüe 皇朝藩部要略

Jan 7, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Huangchao fanbu yaolüe 皇朝藩部要略 "Concise overview of the barbarian tribes under Our August Dynasty" is a comprehensive treatise of the native tribes living the northwest and west of the Qing empire 清 (1644-1911). It was written by the historian Qi Yuanshi 祁韻士 (1751-1815), courtesy name Hegao 鶴皋.

Qi hailed from Shouyang 壽陽, Shanxi, and was a compiler in the imperial Historiography Institute (guoshiguan 國史館). Later on he was appointed Director of Section of the Ministry of Revenue (hubu langzhong 戶部郎中) but was soon banned to Ili (Yili 伊犁), Xinjiang, because of some offence. He was pardoned and retuned, dedicating himself to the authorship of a lot of histories that mainly dealt with the diplomatic and military affairs of Qing China with Central Asian peoples. His most important books were Waifan Menggu wanggong biaozhuan 外藩蒙古王公表傳 (biographies of Mongol princes), Xiyu shidi 西域釋地 (a geography of Xinjiang), Xichui yaolüe 西陲要略, Wanli xingcheng ji 萬里行程記 (a report of his travel to Ili), Jigengbian 己庚編, and Shushi jiyao 書史輯要.

The Fanbu yaolüe was originally a collection of material for the Mongol biographies. The author's son Qi Juanzao 祁雋藻 took the documents to his new residence in Jiangsu and had it restructured by the historians Li Zhaoluo 李兆洛 (1769-1841), Song Jingchang 宋景昌 and Mao Yuesheng 毛岳生 (1791-1841). Zhang Mu 張穆 (1805-1849) corrected errors in the papers and compiled the whole chapters to an 18-juan long book, with an appendix of 4 juan.

The book includes biographies as well as chronicles for all Mongolian tribes. It descibes the organisation of the Mongolian tribes under the suzerainty of the Qing dynasty, their tributary relations to the court in Beijing and the granting of titles of nobility to Mongol chieftains. 2 juan deal with the leages of Inner Mongolia, 6 juan with the Khalkha Mongols (Ka'erka 喀爾喀), 6 juan with the Ölöds or Oyirad (Elute 額魯特), 2 juan with the Muslim tribes in western China, and 2 juan with Tibetan affairs.

The Fanbu yaolüe provides not only political and historical information, but the reader can learn a lot about customs and habits, geography and economy of the peoples concerned.

The book was first printed in 1845. This edition includes a preface by Li Zhaoluo and a postface by Qi Juanzao.

Sources:
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