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Shuofang beisheng 朔方備乘

Sep 16, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Shuofang beisheng 朔方備乘 is a book on Mongolia, Xinjiang, northeast China, and - in particular - Russia compiled by the late Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) historian He Qiutao 何秋濤 (1824-1862), courtesy name Yuanchuan 愿船, from Guangze 光澤, Fujian. He only held a minor post in the Ministry of Justice (xingbu 刑部), but was a teacher in the Baoqilianchi Academy 保企蓮池書院. He was very interested in the history of the borderlands of the empire and also compiled an annotated version of Činggis Qaɣan's conquests, Jiaozheng Yuan Shengdi qinzheng lu 校正元圣帝親征錄.

His book, originally called Beijiao huibian 北徼彙編 and having a length of 6 juan, is a history of the northern region from the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) to the then-present day, with a focus on administrative history. The name Shuofang beisheng was bestowed by the Xianfeng Emperor 咸豐帝 (r. 1850-1861), to whom the author submitted his text in 1855. It is also known as Shuofang zhuancheng 朔方傳乘.

The structure of the book imitated that of official histories (zhengshi 正史), with chapters of different character, namely instructions by the emperor (shengxun 聖訓), concise reports (shulüe 述略), analysis of different topics (kao 考), records (ji 記), biographies (zhuan 傳), compilations (ji 輯), maps or geographical descriptions (tuzhi 圖志), and tables (biao 表). A substantial part of the text is focusing on Russia. These parts in particular make use of other sources on Europe, like Giulio Aleni's (Ai Rulüe 艾儒略, 1582-1649) Zhifang waiji 職方外紀, or Zhang Penghe's 張鵬翮 (1649-1725) Shi Eluosi xingcheng lu 使俄羅斯行程錄. Yet there are quite a few errors concerning place names and such of persons related to Central Asia and Europe.

The book includes 25 maps with explanations. The introductory part includes, among others, quotations from the the history Pingding Luosha fanglüe 平定羅刹方略 and the imperial geography Da-Qing yitong zhi 大明一統志.

Figure 1. Map of Russia from the Shuofang beisheng 朔方備乘
Map of Russia in the late Daoguan reign-period 道光 (1821-1850)

All copies of the original version were distributed, with no original left. The only attestable copy, owned by Huang Zonghan 黃宗漢 (1803-1864), was destroyed by fire. He Qiutao's son He Fanglai 何芳徠 finally tried to reconstruct the book on the base of his father's drafts. This means that the transmitted book is not the version how the book was once presented to the imperial court. This version, with a length of 80 juan and five introductory fascicles (shoujuan 首卷), was printed in 1881. It is included in the series Zhongguo bianjiang congshu 中國邊疆叢書.

Table 1. Contents of the Shuofang beisheng 朔方備乘
首卷 Introduction: 1-3 Sacred instructions 聖訓, 4 Sacred splendours of literature 聖藻, 5 Imperially endorsed books 欽定書: 1 Pingding Luosha fanglüe 平定羅剎方略, 2 Da-Qing yitong zhi 大清一統志, 3 Huang-qing tongdian 欽定皇清通典, 4 Huang-Qing wenxian tongkao 欽定皇清文獻通考, 5 Huang-Qing huidian 欽定皇清會典
1-6 Concise reports of sacred wars 聖武述略: 1 Tribes of the (North)Eastern Sea 東海諸部內屬述略, 2 Tribes of the Solun 索倫諸部內屬述略, 3 Qalqa Mongols 喀爾喀內屬述略, 4 Subjugation of the Dzunghars 準噶爾蕩平述略, 5 Uriankhai 烏梁海內屬述略, 6 Tribes of the Kazaks 哈薩克內屬述略
7-30 Investigations 考: 7 Astronomy of the northern regions 北徼星度考, 8 landmarks 北徼界碑考, 9 rules 北徼條例考, 10 military posts 北徼喀倫考, 11 topography 北徼形勢考, 12 the Russian Office 俄羅斯館考, 13 the Russian School 俄羅斯學考, 14 the city of Albazino 雅克薩城考, 15 the city of Nerchinsk 尼布楚城考, 16 geography of the Baltic region etc. 波羅的等路疆域考, 17 of Siberia etc. 錫伯利等路疆域考, 18 countries dependent from Russia, like Armenia? 俄羅斯亞美里加屬地考, 19 cities 北徼城垣考, 20 villages 北徼邑居考, 21 forests of the far north 艮維窩集考, 22 Sakhalin and islands closeby 庫葉附近諸島考, 23 mountain ranges 北徼山脈考, 24 rivers of the far north 艮維諸水考, 25 River Selengga 色楞格河源流考, 26 River Irtysh 額爾齊斯河源流考, 27 waterways of the north 北徼水道考, 28 religions 北徼教門考, 29 local products 北徼方物考、30 tribes of the Wusun 烏孫部族考
31-36 Treatises and biographies on the northern regions from official histories 傳: 31 Han and Wei 漢魏北徼諸國傳, 32 Zhou, Qi, Sui, and Tang 周齊隋唐北徼諸國傳, 33 Liao, Jin, and Yuan 遼金元北徼諸國傳, 34 Biographies of princes in the northern regions of the Yuan period 元代北徼諸王傳, 35 of military commanders in the northern regions through history 歷代北徼用兵將帥傳, 36 of military commanders in the northern regions in the Qing period 國朝北徼用兵將帥傳
37-38 Events in their entirety 紀事始末: 37 trade with Russia 俄羅斯互市始末, 38 subjugation of the Torɣut 土爾扈特歸附始末
39-40 Documents 記: 39 Documents submitted by Russia 俄羅斯進呈書籍記, 40 collected records of Russia 俄羅斯叢記
41-55 Critial analysis of source books 考訂諸書: 41 Zhifang waiji 考訂職方外記, 42 Shi Eluosi xingcheng lu 考訂使俄羅斯行程錄, 43-44 Yiyulu 考訂異域錄, 45 Longsha jilüe 考訂龍沙紀略, 46 Suifu jilüe 考訂綏服紀略, 47 Eluosi zuoling kao 考訂俄羅斯佐領考, 48 Eluosi shiji 考訂俄羅斯事輯, 49 Eluosi shi buji 考訂俄羅斯事補輯, 50 Yinzhai qianji 考訂㐆齋簽記, 51 Eluosi guo zongji 考訂俄羅斯國總記, 52 Eluosi mengpin ji 考訂俄羅斯盟聘記, 53 Haiguo tuzhi 考訂海國圖志, 54 Yuandai beifang jiangyu kao 考訂元代北方疆域考, 55 Kangyou jixing 考訂康輶紀行
56-60 Critical discussions to source books 辨正諸書: 56 Xiyu wenjian lu 辨正西域聞見錄, 57 Yanpu zaji 辨正檐曝雜記, 58 Guisi cungao 辨正癸巳存稿, 59 Yinghuan zhilüe 辨正瀛環志略, 60 various books 群書正誤
61-67 Tables 表: 61-62 Events in the northern regions 北徼事跡表, 63 historical development 北徼沿革表, 64 place names 北徼地名異同表, 65 parts of Russia 俄羅斯境內分部表, 66 dynasties 北徼世次表, 67 political leadership 北徼頭目表
68 Maps 圖說
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