Collected Imperial Mandates of the Wanli Reign


Si lun lu (Collected imperial mandates of the Wanli reign) is a collection of imperial decrees, edicts, and proclamations published during the Wanli reign (1573‒1620), compiled by Zhou Yongchun (1573‒1639), a native of Jincheng. Zhou Yongchun received his jin shi degree in 1601, became a magistrate in a number of counties, and later was a chief supervising secretary at the Office of Scrutiny for Rites and censor in chief. He took over the governorship of Liaodong, where he was in charge of military affairs. He fought in the winter of 1619 in the Battle of Sarhu, during the conflicts between the Manchus and the Ming dynasty that ended with the defeat of the Ming army. Zhou Yongchun was later exiled at the beginning of the Tianqi reign (1621‒27). While working at the Office of Scrutiny for Rites, Zhou recorded the imperial edicts compiled by the six ministries, dated from 1572 to 1614. The words si lun in the title originated in Li ji (Book of rites), one of the classics of the Confucian canon, and indicated the sayings of an emperor and their meanings. The edicts are grouped in order of the Bureau of Personnel (four volumes), followed by the Bureau of Revenue (two volumes), Rites (two volumes), War (two volumes), Justice (one volume) and Public Works (one volume). They include documents relating to dismissals from office, grain transportation, taxes and levies of service, memorials on where to display classics, and imperial concubines. Also included are edicts on various criminal cases and their handling, the construction of rivers and canals, and imperial tombs. The dates of the edicts are also given. In addition to Zhou Yongchun’s own preface (dated 1613), there is one dated 1614 by Zhang Wenda (died 1625), a minister of the Bureau of Personnel. The book has a seal impression of the private collection called Bao jin lou, the library of the 18th-century book collector Lu Zhi (born 1725) of Jin Xian, Zhejiang Province.

Last updated: January 10, 2018