An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Shiqu yuji 石渠餘紀

Dec 8, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Shiqu yuji 石渠餘紀, original title Xichao jizheng 熙朝紀政, is a biji 筆記 "brush notes"-style book on administrative statues of the Qing dynasty, from the beginnings to the Daoguang reign-period 道光 (1820-1850), but with a focus on economic and financial matters.

The text of 6 juan was compiled by Wang Qingyun 王慶雲 (1798-1862), courtesy name Jiahuan 家鐶, Xianguan 賢關 or Yanding 雁汀, during the Xianfeng reign-period 咸豐 (1851-1861) and was first only circulating in the shape of a manuscript that was not divided into fascicles. The first print was published by Master Huang 黄氏 from Ningxiang 寧鄉, Hunan, and in 1890 Long Zhangzhong 龍璋重 published a commented edition. A further edition was presented in 1902 by the Shanghai Shuju Press 上海書局, and in 1958 the Beijing Guji Press 北京古籍出版社 published Wang Shihua's 王湜華 commented edition.

Stone Canal Library (Shiquge 石渠閣) was the name of the imperial library during the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE), and therefore this term was later used as a general name for the emperors' libraries or collections of valuables.

The Shiqu yuji is divided into 87 chapters (mu 目 "meshes"). The first fascicle covers topics concerning tax cuts, remittances or abatements, the second part explains regulations of the civilian and military officialdom. The structure, planning and method of levies, mainly the land-and-poll tax, is the theme of the third part. It includes descriptions of pre-calculating provincial revenues, and methods to bring forward leftovers to the next financial period. The fourth part is dedicated to tribute grain, its transport to the capital, the management of official granaries and of agro-colonies in the borderlands. Part number five covers all aspects of monetary policy and the salt monopoly, from mining to mint administration, salt tax revenues and the contracts with salt merchants. The last part of the book deals with taxes on merchandise, the foreign customs, and a quite distant theme, namely questions of field irrigation around the capital.

The text is based on many official compilations on matters of statecraft like Qing huidian 清會典, Qing wenxian tongkao 清文獻通考, Zhongshu zhengkao 中樞政考 or Fuyi quanshu 賦役全書, as well as historiographical sources like the Qingshilu 清實録 or the biographical collection Guoshi liezhuan 國史列傳 (Qingshi liezhuan 清史列傳), but also the Peking gazette (dibao 邸報) and private publications. These sources are enriched, and often corrected, by Wang Qingyun's notes and comments.

The text includes a lot of charts and tables. The Shiqu yuji is therefore a very convenient overview of Qing-period financial administration.

Li Jianzhong 李建中 (1994). "Shiqu yuji 石渠餘紀", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Jingji 經濟卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 479.
Wang Songling 王松齡, ed. (1991). Shiyong Zhongugo lishi zhishi cidian 實用中國歷史知識辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 732.