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Miaofang beilan 苗防備覽

Oct 25, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Miaofang beilan 苗防備覽 "Overview of the borderland defence against the Miao" is a book on the administration of the native population of southern China, the so-called Miao 苗, written during the high Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Yan Ruyu 嚴如煜 (1759-1826), courtesy name Bingwen 炳文, style Leyuan 樂園.

The book of 22 juan describes in 14 chapters the villages of the natives, important passes and routes of the region of Sichuan, Hunan and Guizhou, customs and habits, the local garrisons, military agro-colonies, and provides biographies of important people from the region and information to their writings. It is therefore a very concise overview of the military, economic and cultural aspects of the border region of southern China. Maps give details not only of the provinces along the "Miao border" (Miaojiang 苗疆), but also of the prefectures, sub-prefectures and districts. One aim of this book was to give information about the region in order to be able to quickly suppress future rebellions of the natives against the increasing immigration of Chinese settlers.

The book was printed in 1820 and 1843, and is found in the series Xiaofanghuzhai yudi congchao 小方壺齋輿地叢鈔, but divided into several texts, namely Miaojiang shuidao kao 苗疆水道考, Sansheng bianfang xingshi lu 三省邊防形勢錄, Miaojiang chengbao kao 苗疆城堡考, Miaojiang cunzhai kao 苗疆村寨考, Miaojiang xianyao kao 苗疆險要考, Miaojiang daolu kao 苗疆道路考, Miaojiang fengsu kao 苗疆風俗考, and Miaojiang shilü kao 苗疆師旅考.

Sources:
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