The first emperor of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), Zhu Yuanzhang 朱元璋, temple name Ming Taizu 明太祖 (r. 1368-1396), cared for the institutionalisation of each political aspect of his reign and dynasty. In 1373 a book containing advices on behaviour for imperial princes and members of the household was issued with the title Zuxunlu 祖訓錄 "Instructions by the (dynastic) ancestor". The 1395 edition was published under the title Huang-Ming zuxun 皇明祖訓 "Instructions by the ancestor of the August Ming".
The Zuxun contains regulations for rituals and etiquette for various occasions. The introductory chapter was composed by the emperor himself in which he addresses his sons always to exert a strict government in a legalist way. In order to save the dynasty the future emperors would have to live themselves a life of austerity and to have a watchful eye not only to ancestral veneration and to the various ritual performances, but they also had to keep an eye on their relatives, mighty officials (civil and military) and empresses.
|Adhering to austerity
|Seriousness when enthroning an emperor
|Watchfulness in government affairs
|Rites and etiquette
|Laws and punishments
|Orders for the inner chambers (empresses)
|The inner offices
|Arrangement of the offices
|Austerity in managment
|Provision of taxes and labour