Compendium of Laws, Regulations, and Punishments of the Ministry of Justice in Nanjing


After Emperor Yongle of the Ming dynasty moved the capital to Beijing in 1420, the bureaucratic administrative organs, such as the six bureaus, remained in the old capital, Nanjing, on a smaller scale. Presented here is a compendium of laws, regulations, and punishments compiled by the Ministry of Justice in charge of all penal matters and imprisonment. Initiated by Pang Song (1490‒1566), the director of the Shandong Bureau of the Ministry of Justice, the compendium was compiled and issued because this was the only bureau that had not yet issued such a code. The compiler, Gao Dong, a sheng yuan (government student) from Wuxi, relied heavily on the manuscript of Ying Tingyu (1497‒1578), an official and scholar from the Jiangxi Bureau, as well as on the original documents collected by Ying. The work has three prefaces, one written in 1555, by Tao Shangde, another one written in 1556, by Zeng Jun (died 1570), both bureau officials, and an undated one by Pang Song himself, who also wrote the petition and presented the work to the court. It consists of five juan in ten volumes, with the preliminary juan containing explanations, table of contents, and illustrations of heaven and earth and the hall of the ministry, and a chart of official titles. The following four juan, with a historical review of the necessities of penal laws and penal systems, deal with various laws and judicial processes, titles of various officials, their deeds, memorials and writings. Also included are a number of so-called bang wen (placards on regulations and punishments to be displayed in public). This is an edition of the Jiajing reign (1522‒66), issued by the Ministry of Justice in Nanjing.

Last updated: January 10, 2018