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Chinese Literature
Shengwuji 聖武記

The Four Categories of Literature
Shengwuji 聖武記 "The Sacred Wars is a military history of the Manchus and the Qing dynasty 清 (1644-1911) written by the late Qing historian and politician Wei Yuan 魏源 (1794-1856). He has written a lot of books, of which the following shall be mentioned: Shuguwei 書古微, Shiguwei 詩古微, Haiguo tuzhi 海國圖志, Yuanshi xinbian 元史新編, Dongzi chunqiu fawei 董子春秋發微, Mogu 默觚, Chouhepian 籌河篇, Choucaopian 籌漕篇, Choucuopian 籌鹺篇. He also participated in the compilation of the Huang-Qing jingshi wenbian 皇朝經世文編, a collection of articles on statecraft. The Shengwuji is probably is most famous book of Wei Yuan. It is 14 juan "scrolls" long and is divided into two parts. The first parts narrates the conquest of China by the Manchus, the conquest of the three feudatories, the conquest of the Mongol territories, that of the Miao in southwestern China and the Uighurs in the far west, fights against pirates, rebellions and uprisings, and wars against sectarian uprisings. The second part gives an overview of many administrative aspects of the Qing period military, like the garrison system and the military pay, legal cases, reward of military merits, and so on. The book begins with the origin of the Manchus and ends in 1813 with the end of the rebellion of Lin Qing 林清 and Li Wensheng 李文成. The motivation of the second part is to analyse the elements of the Qing military system with the hope to find points that might be amended or strengthened to meet future challenges. A great deal of Wei Yuan's book belongs to the category of early attempts at self-strengthening after the Qing dynasty experienced first signs of decay, for example, during the White Lotus 白蓮教 rebellion or the First Opium War. Modern Chinese scholars criticize Wei Yuan for statements that in the light of modern politics, seem unjustified, like his sentence that "Taiwan never belonged to China" before the conquest by the Qing. In any case the Shengwuji is a paean of praise for the military successes of the Qing dynasty and must therefore read carefully. In many points historical statements are oversimplifications. The Shengwuji nevertheless achieved great attention among contemporarians and experienced many editions. The Republican period reprint of the edition from 1900 was enriched by a chapter called Daoguang yangsou zhengfu ji 道光洋艘征撫記 "The Subjugation by the Western Ships during the Daoguang Reign" (i.e. the First Opium War). In 1984 the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 published a modern edition, critically based on several contemporary editions.

開創 Kaichuang Foundation of the dynasty
藩鎮 Fanzhen Pacification of the local potentates
外藩 Waifan Pacification of the outer barbarians
土司和苗瑶回民 Tusi he Miao-Yao, Huimin Pacification of the native chieftains, the Miao-Yao and the Muslims
海寇民變兵變 Haikou, minbian, bingbian Wars against pirates and against popular and armed rebellions
教匪 Jiaofei Wars against sectarian bandits
武事餘記 Wushi yuji Other notes on military affairs
兵制兵餉 Bingzhi bingxiang The military system and military pay
掌故考證 Zhanggu kaozheng Proves and examples from historical events
事功雜述 Shigong zashu Miscellaneous discriptions of warfare
議武五篇 Yiwu wubpian Five chapters discussing military affairs

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (ed. 1996), Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 917.

May 1, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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