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Mingshu 明書

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The today rather unknown Mingshu 明書 "Book of the Ming dynasty" by Fu Weilin 傅維麟 is a non-official parallel to the official dynastic history of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the Mingshi 明史. The Mingshu is 173 juan "scrolls" long and includes the biographies of persons involved in history between 1328 and 1644, the year of the fall of the Ming. It is written in a biographic-thematic style (jizhuanti 紀傳體). The chapters are only loosely modeled after the official dynastic histories and comprise 19 chapters of imperial biographies (benji 本紀), hereditary biographies (shijia 世家, 32 juan), biographies of empresses (gongweiji 宮闈紀, 2 juan), tables (biao 表, 12 juan), treatises (zhi 志, 22 juan), records (ji 記, 5 juan), normal and collective biographies (liezhuan 列傳, 76 juan), prefaces (xu 敘, 2 juan), and lists (mulu 目錄, 2 juan). Privately Fu Weilin had collected such a vast amount of primary sources that, for example, his descriptions of the statutes of the Wanli reign 萬曆 (1573-1620) or the local corvée tax are much more detailed than in the official dynastic history Mingshi. On the other side Fu is very cautious when dealing with the relationship between the Ming dynasty and the Manchus, under whose government he had found a good employment. The details of his tables also widely surpass that of the Mingshi tables. He is also criticised because the categories of biographies are too much.
The book was printed at the beginning of the Qing period 清 (1644-1911), and can be found in two collectanea, namely the Guoxue jiben congshu 國學基本叢書, and the Congshu jicheng 叢書集成.
Another book with the same title was compiled by the Ming scholar Deng Yuanxi 鄧元錫, in 45 juan, covering the time from the beginning of the Ming until the Jiajing reign 嘉靖 (1522-1567). Because of its chaotic arrangement it has even been less widespread than Fu's book.

Source: Li Guanglian 李廣廉 (1992), "Mingshu 明書", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 2, p. 699.


July 11, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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