An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Nanxun shengdian 南巡盛典

Nov 15, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Nanxun shengdian 南巡盛典, full title (Qinding) Nanxun shengdian (欽定)南巡盛典 "(Imperially Endorsed) Canon on imperial favours bestowed during the southern inspection tours", is a collection of documents on the southern inspection tours in 1751, 1757, 1762 and 1765 of the Qianlong emperor 乾隆 (r. 1735-1796) of the Qing dynasty 清 (1644-1911).

The compendium with a length of 120 juan was compiled under the supervision of Gao Jin 高晋 (1707-1778) and was finished and printed in 1771. The history of the compilation goes back to 1766, when Gao Jin suggested the compilation of such a text, an idea that was newly formulated two years later by Fuheng 傅恒 (1720-1770). Xiong Xuepeng (1697-1779), governor of Zhejiang, submitted a similar memorial to the throne, and Gao Pu began collecting the necessary documents and compiled an introduction explaining the principles of the book (fanli 凡例). 64 persons participated in the project to collect, revise and compose the necessary documents.

The compilation has two practical aims. The first was a propagandistic display of the emperor's inspection tours, and therefore the text includes many poems, laudations and lists of favours bestowed on local officials, the gentry, and the organizers of the tours. The second, less clearly visible, reason was to establish some rules for the organisation of such large enterprises as an inspection tour.

The book is divided into twelve parts, beginning with edicts issued by the emperor during the tour, reports of imperial banquets and imperial gifts (Enlun 恩綸, 1-4), poems and prose texts compiled by the emperor (Tianzhang 天章, 5-36), tax remittances, cuts and abatements (Juanchu 蠲除, 37-42), reports on water conservancy works in the Jiangnan region (Hefang 河防, 43-53), dykes along the sea coast at whose construction the emperor had a glimpse (Haitang 海塘, 54-59), state offerings made during the tour (Sidian 祀典, 60-67), presents made to courtiers, officials and troops participating in the tour (Baoshang 褒賞, 68-75), extraordinary promotions of officials (Xujun 吁俊, 76-84), reports of parades and military training (Yuewu 閲武, 85-88), descriptions of local places and their inhabitants (Chengtu 程途, 89-93), of 'tourist spots' (Mingsheng 名勝, 94-105), and ending with a collection of memorials to the throne (Zouqing 奏請, 106-120).

The chapters on hydraulic works, military exercises and 'tourist spots' are illustrated and enriched with a huge amount of maps and drawings. The book, printed in excellent quality, has not only historiographical value, but is also of artistical importance.

Gao Xiguo 高夕果 (2017). "Siku quanshu sanyi zhi Nanxun shengdian kaoshi 《四庫全書》散佚之《南巡盛典》考釋", Bolan qunshu 博覽群書, 2017 (2).
Siku quanshu zongmu 四庫全書總目 (Taibei: Yiwen yinshuguan, 1963), juan 82, fol. 24b-26a (pp. 1662-1663).
Xu Hao 許浩 (2017). "Nanxun shengdian zhong de Jiangsu yuanlin banke tuxiang yanjiu 《南巡盛典》中的江蘇园林版刻圖像研究", Nanjing Linye Daxue xuebao (Renwen shehui kexue ban) 南京林業大學學報(人文社會科學版), 2017 (9).
Xu Hao 許浩, Wang Ankang 王安康, Cui Jing 崔婧 (2018). "Jiyu Nanxun shengdian banke tuxiang de Qingdi nanxun xinggong yuyuan kongjian geju tanxi 基于《南巡盛典》版刻圖像的清帝南巡行宮御苑空間格局探析", Guangdong yuanlin 廣東園林, 2018 (12).