An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Ye'erqiang shoucheng jilüe 葉爾羌守城紀略

Apr 20, 2018 © Ulrich Theobald

Ye'erqiang shoucheng jilüe 葉爾羌守城紀略 is a short book on the defence of Yarkant against the invasion of Kokand. It was written by Bičang 壁昌 (1795-1854), courtesy name Xingquan 星泉, a member of the Bordered Yellow Mongolian Banner (Menggu xianghuang qi 蒙古鑲黃旗, see Eight Banners). He began his career as a scribe (bithesi/bitieshi 筆帖式), and rose the ladder of merit quickly and was a prefect of Daming 大名, governor (xunfu 巡撫), provincial Banner general (jiangjun 將軍), and finally Governor-General (zongdu 總督) of Liang-Jiang 兩江 (Jiangnan 江南/today's Jiangsu, Jiangxi). Apart from this book, he also wrote Bianshou jiyao 邊守輯要 (on border defence, only in manuscript form), Bingwu jianwen lu 兵武見聞錄 (a personal report), and Muling yaojue 牧令要訣 (a manual on local administration). His literary remains are found in the collection Bi Qinxianggong yishu 壁勤襄公遺書.

In 1827, Bičang was ordered to accompany Nayancheng 那彥成 (1764-1833), who was appointed Imperially Dispatched Grand Minister Inspector-General (qinchai dachen 欽差大臣) and entrusted with the restructuring of the region after the invasion of Jāhangīr Khwāja (Jahanghir Khoja, in Chinese called Zhangge'er 張格爾, 1788-1828), the ruler of Kokand. A year later, Bičang was appointed Grand Minister Superintendent (banshi dachen 辦事大臣) of Yarkant. In 1830, the Khoja's brother Yusuf (Yusupu 玉素普) invaded the western part of Xinjiang, occupied Kašgar and Yengisar and besieged Yarkant. The garrison and population of the city withstood for 80 days before relief troops arrived and repelled the invaders.

During his mandate as provincial general in Fuzhou 福州, Bičang decided to write down his memories on this war. The book was printed in 1848. In 1982 a mimeographic print (youyinben 油印本) was published by the Library of the Minzu University of China (Zhongyang minzu xueyuan tushuguan 中央民族學院圖書館).

Zhou Weizhou 周偉洲, Ding Jingtai 丁景泰, eds. (2006). Sichou zhi lu da cidian 絲綢之路大辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 788.