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Yuan dianzhang 元典章 "Statutes of the Yuan dynasty" is a collection of edicts on legislative matters from the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368). The edicts are arranged topically and only include such issued before 1322. The unabbreviated title of the collection is Da-Yuan shengzheng guochao dianzhang 大元聖政國朝典章 "Statutes of the sacredly governed the state of the Great Yuan dynasty". During the reign of Emperor Chengzong 元成宗 (r. 1294-1307) it was ordered that in all local administration units edicts concerning legislative matters had to be collected and submitted for the compilation of a code.
The whole collection comprises 60 juan "scrolls" and is arranged according to ten topics, containing documents until the year 1320, with a supplement extending the content until 1322. Each topic is divided into smaller categories, headlines, and paragraphs (tiao 條), totalling 2,390. The arrangement is similar to the Tang liudian 唐六典 "The six statutes of the Tang dynasty 唐 (618-907)", but might also be derived from the categories into which the archives of the local districts had to be divided.
The Yuan dianzhang is a very rich and important source for the study of the administration of the Yuan period, containing informations about virtually all aspects of Yuan society, law, economy and politics. A very interesting is the use of common language used during that time in everyday conversation, as well as a lot of Mongolian expressions.
There are several slightly differing versions of the Yuan dianzhang. In 1908 the Law Academy of Beijing 北京法律學堂 printed a version (the so-called Shen edition 沈刻本), but the most widespread edition is that reprinted by the Palace Museum in Taipeh 故宮博物院 in 1972. The newest edition is that of the Shanghai guji press 上海古籍出版社 from 1995.
A Chinese study of the Yuan dianzhang by Chen Yuan 陳垣 appeared in 1931, and there are several Japanese studies of the collection.
詔令 Zhaoling Edicts and decrees
聖政 Dhengzheng The Holy Reign
朝綱 Chaogang The structure of the court
臺綱 Taigang The structure of the secretariates
吏部 Libu The Ministry of Personnel
戶部 Hubu The Ministry of Revenue
禮部 Libu The Ministry of Rites
兵部 Bingbu The Ministry of War
刑部 Xingbu The Ministry of Justice
工部 Gongbu The Ministry of Official Works
Source: Yi Linzhen 亦鄰真 (1992), "Yuan dianzhang 元典章", 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. 3, pp. 1453-1454.
September 13, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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