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Liubian jilüe 柳邊紀略

May 5, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Liubian jilüe 柳邊紀略 "Concise report on the willow fences", also called Quan Liao beikao 全遼備考 "All about the region of Liaodong", is an account on the homeland of the Manchus written by the early Qing-period scholar Yang Bin 楊賓 (1650-1740), courtesy name Keshi 可師, style Dapiao 大瓢 or Shanyin Gengfu 山陰耕夫. He hailed from Shanyin 山陰, Zhejiang, and also wrote the books Jinshi yuanliu 金石源流, and Xifatang gao 晞發堂稿. The title of the book is inspired by the willow fences the Manchus built to prevent people from illegally harvesting ginseng, the most important source of revenue for the Manchu elite.

The 5-juan long book was written on the base of what Yang Bin saw and experienced when his father Yang Yue 楊越 was exiled to Ninguta 寧古塔 (today's Ning'an 寧安, Heilongjiang) in the far northeast of Manchuria. It describes the landscape, the administration system, courier stations, local produce, religion, the tribute system, markets, and customs and habits of the people and tribes living there. It is the earliest private Chinese description of Manchuria and provides valuable information of the daily life and the economy of the northeast.

The book is found in the series Zhaodai congshu 昭代叢書, Liaohai congshu 遼海叢書, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編, Yangshi qianqibaiershijiu he zhai congshu 仰視千七百二十九鶴齋叢書, and Xiaofanghuzhai yuci congchao 小方壺齋輿地叢鈔.

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