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Qingshigao 清史稿

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The Qingshigao 清史稿 is a surrogate to an official dynastic history (zhengshi 正史) of the Qing dynasty 清 (1644-1991) which would not be issued any more after the end of the Chinese empire. The book is 529 juan "scrolls" long and was compiled by a team of historians under Zhao Erxun 趙爾巽. There are 25 juan of imperial biographies (benji 本紀), 135 juan of treatises (zhi 志), 53 juan of tables (biao 表) and 316 juan of normal and collective biographies (liezhuan 列傳). Among the treatises that of "traffic" (149-152 交通志 Jiaotong zhi) and on "diplomatic relations" (153-160 邦交志 Bangjiao zhi) are new, among the collective biographies that of the Mongol and Central Asian tribes (518-525 藩部傳 Fanbu zhuan), that of the tribute states (526-529 屬國傳 Shuguo zhuan) and of hereditary astronomers (506-507 疇人傳 Chouren zhuan), are not found in the older dynastic histories.
The government of the Republic of China (1911-1949) in 1914 established an office for the compilation of the history of the Qing, the Qingshiguan 清史館 that was only disbanded in 1927 when the compilation was nearly ended. The compiling team involved more than 100 persons under the guidance of Ke Shaomin 柯紹忞, Wang Shunan 王樹楠, Wu Tingxia 吳廷燮, Miao Quansun 繆荃孫, Xia Suntong 夏孫桐 and Jin Liang 金梁.
The Qingshigao is still the single most important and easily accessible source for the history of the Qing dynasty. Nonetheless one of its shortcomings is that the compiling team consisted of former imperial officials still loyal to the fallen dynasty so that its critiques, like, for example, Kang Youwei 康有為, is described with less favourable words than elsewhere. Another shortcoming is that the compilers were lacking primary sources as they had no access to the official documents in the palace and instead relied on the officially issued biographies, chronicles and judicial regulations. In 1928 the first version of the Qingshigao was printed in 1,100 copies, 700 of which had to stay in Beijing (the so-called Guannei 關內 "Capital" version).The other 400 copies were enlarged by the biographies of Kang Youwei, Zhang Xun 張勛 (both juan 473) and Zhang Biao 張彪, and supplemented with Jin Liang's text-critical apparatatus (jiaokanji 校勘記). This was the so-called "first version from outside the Capital" (guanwai yici ben 關外一次本). A second outside version was made by eliminating Zhang Biao's biography and adding biographies for Chen Hongju 陳黌舉, Zhu Yun 朱筠 and Weng Fanggang 翁方綱. The first modern reprint was done in 1979 by the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局, basing on the second guanwai version, but with critical notes about the differences between the three versions.

Source: Li Wen 李文 (1992), "Qingshigao 清史稿", 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. 843.

July 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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