Accounts of the Jiangbei Grain Office


 Jiang bei liang tai zhang mu: bu fen juan (Accounts of the Jiangbei grain office) is a manuscript copy from the Qing dynasty, in two volumes, by an unknown author. The title comes from the spine of the manuscript case. The title on the cover of volume 1 reads: “The Jiangbei Grain Office’s original records of the reimbursements and the prices of the goods.” That on the cover of volume 2 reads: “The Jiangbei grain office’s accounts of rations distributed to officers and soldiers.” It records food rationing for the officers and soldiers in the amount of silver. It also contains prices for various arms and defense supplies, such as sulfur and powder. The information is recorded in great detail, with exact amounts of silver currency. Volume 1 has nine leaves, with a seal impression straddling each leaf. Such seals were used for important official records, such as invoices during transactions, to guarantee the entirety of the records on file and check against each single record. The round-shaped red seal impression with four characters ruo he fu jie (two matching halves of the seal) provides the clue that this is an official document. The grain offices were established during the time when the Qing army battled the Taiping rebels (1850‒64) to manage military rations during army marches. The Taiping Rebellion was a devastating civil war that caused at least 20 million deaths. Both the Jiangnan and the Jiangbei grain offices were branches, each supporting the two camps to the south and north of the Yangtze River, forming a circle surrounding the Taiping Rebellion. Their main task was to meet the supply needs of the armies on the front. The contents of this work clarify the arrangements for food rationing of the members of the army, the army provisions system, and various arms used, as well as of the battles between the Qing army and the Taiping rebels. Although this work is not dated, it can be assumed that it was issued during the Xianfeng reign (1851‒61). The pages were bound into volumes after being repaired and mounted. The copy presented here is the only one still in existence.

Last updated: January 10, 2018