Memorials to the Throne of Our Glorious Dynasty

This work was one of the banned books in the Qing dynasty. Book banning and destruction have a long history in China and became especially prevalent under Emperor Qianlong (reigned 1736–95) of the Qing dynasty, when the encyclopedia of the Si ku quan shu (The complete collection of the four treasuries) was in progress. Some 3,100 works, about 150,000 copies of books, were either burnt or banned. Books on Ming history, biography, philosophy, literature, and even some works on science, technology, and economics that were regarded as having proscribable content, such as anti-Manchu sentiments or objectionable words, were targeted. This work was not included in Si ku quan shu zong mu (The general catalog for the complete collection of the four treasuries). The title can be found both in Jin shu zong mu (The general catalog of banned books) and in Wei ai shu mu (Catalog of works against custom or law). The general catalog of banned books recorded it with a different title, Bu kui tang ke zou shu (Memorials engraved at Bu kui tang). In the imperial Chinese court, documents, such as memorials and edicts, functioned as tools to facilitate communication between the emperor and his administration and his officials, to enable the emperor to comprehend state affairs and to use them as bases of his policies. The term zou yi chiefly indicates personal memorials presented by high officials to the emperor, often with recommendations and proposals for action. Some memorials might not be sanctioned by the emperor, and others might not ever reach the throne. However, they are important historical sources that help understand the range of views held on various subjects and events at the time. A number of selected memorial collections and writings on state affairs of the Ming dynasty have survived. This work was compiled by Wu Daoxing during the Wanli reign (1573–1620). After receiving his jin shi (doctoral degree) in 1595 and later being promoted to the rank of wen lin lang, Wu Daoxing held office at the Court of Imperial Sacrificial Ceremony. The work consists of 32 years’ documents, dating from the first year of the Wanli reign of the Ming dynasty (1573), arranged in 24 parts, with headings, such as jun dao (the way of the ruler) and guo shi (national policy). The compiler’s preface is dated 1607.

Geographic Surveys by the Imperial Order

This work is an incomplete manuscript in three volumes, probably one of the earliest official atlases of the Qing dynasty, which began in 1644. The title, Qin ding fang yu lu cheng kao lue (Geographic surveys by the imperial order), on the cover of volume three, was crossed out at a later date and replaced in red ink with Qin ding huang yu quan lan (Complete atlas by the imperial order). A label on the same cover reads, “these are the draft copies for the compilation at Wu ying dian [the imperial printing press and bindery], and were originally the property of Li Qiyuan [a scholar and member of the Hanlin Academy].” The compilation of this work was by Wang Shihong (1658–1723) and others during the 46th and 47th years of the Kangxi reign (1707–8). The three volumes chiefly document counties and prefectures of most, but not all, of Shanxi Province, as well as the roads continuing into the neighboring provinces of Henan and Shaanxi, in northeast-central China. At the time of the Kangxi reign (1622–1762), the work neither seemed to have been finished nor printed in its entirety. It is unknown whether there ever was a complete copy of this atlas.

Zhang Xianghe's Memorials to the Throne

This work contains memorials written by Zhang Xianghe (1785–1862), dating from January–December 1853, the third year of the Xianfeng reign, with those of the month of January incomplete. According to the biography of Zhang Xianghe in chapter seven of Qing shi gao (History of the Qing dynasty), Zhang achieved his jin shi (doctoral degree) in 1820 and assumed a number of posts, eventually rising to the post of president of the Board of Works in 1859–61. In 1853, when these memorials were written, Zhang was recalled to the capital from Shaanxi Province, where he had been the presiding magistrate. These memorials were probably written while he was still in Shaanxi, but they were not printed at the time, thus parts of them were lost. In one of his memorials, Zhang proposed that due to the increasing military actions in the southeastern region, it was imperative to strengthen the military forces’ training and to raise defenses. He also recommended the bao jia system (an administrative system for organizing the population based on households) to maintain public order. Only eight out of what most likely were 50 or 60 volumes of Zhang’s memorials have been found—these documents written in his last year as magistrate. No information is available on whether other volumes still exist.

Festering Cancer Spreads Evil Influence

This work is a manuscript copy with a table of contents, but without a preface, which takes its title from the cover of the first volume. The work has six juan in six volumes and contains memorials written by Qing official Huang Juezi (1793–1853), who played an important role during the First Opium War (1839–42). In the first memorial, dated the 18th year of the Daoguang reign (1838), he recommended the enactment of drastic laws to prohibit opium. The memorial was sent to all high administrative officials in the provinces for discussion, the results of which were reported to the throne by Lin Zexu, the imperial commissioner with plenipotentiary power appointed by the emperor to end the domination of opium at Canton. In the last memorial, from 1843, Huang Juezi requested the emperor to issue an imperial edict to remove three high officials, Qishan, Yijing, and Wenyu, from office and order them to reflect on their misdeeds. Qishan, who held various high offices, replaced Lin Zexu in 1840 and headed the negotiations with the British, in which he agreed to the cession of Hong Kong and an indemnity of $6 million in silver. Qishan was condemned, dismissed, and banished, but after the termination of the war in 1842 he was reinstated and became governor-general of several provinces. Yijing, a great-grandson of Emperor Qianlong (1711–99), was given the rank of general as the commander of Zhejiang province, and Wenwei was made an assistant commander. In March 1842, Yijing’s forces attacked Ningbo, which had been occupied by the British, but were totally defeated. Yijing also failed in other military actions. He was imprisoned the same year but was later pardoned and reinstated. Huang’s memorial indicated that these three officials were responsible for the military reverses of the war. In addition to memorials and imperial edicts, this manuscript contains correspondence, biographies, and verses. The texts are well organized and are useful sources for the study of the Opium Wars.

Jing Xin Collection of Poems by Chen Zi

This manuscript collection contains poems by Chen Zi (1683–1759), a native of Yuyao, Zhejiang Province, and a famed poet and calligrapher during the Kangxi and Qianlong periods of the Qing dynasty. Though twice recommended for official positions, Chen declined to serve the Qing court. The poems in the work were copied and preserved by his friends during the Qing literary inquisition. Literary inquisition in China had a long history, but during the Qing dynasty such official persecution of intellectuals, commonly called wen zi yu (imprisonment for writing), was particularly rampant. To prevent opposition from intellectuals and silence them, the authorities interpreted the meaning of an individual’s works according to their own rules and sought any single word or sentence for necessary evidence to persecute. Both Chen’s preface and a foreword by Zheng Yiting are imbued with sorrow for the change of dynasty, grief over literary inquisition, and laments over having been born in an inopportune time. The work has six juan, the first five containing 30 poems and the sixth one entitled Jiu jiu yue fu (Poems written in yue fu style), with references to historical events in the Ming dynasty. The poems are arranged chronologically dating from the 52nd year of Kangxi (1713) to the 12th year of the Qianlong reign (1747).

Collected Works on the Northern Peak Temple

The Northern Peak Temple was the official temple dedicated to Hengshan in northeast China, one of the Five Sacred Peaks, worshipped for generations. It is located in Quyang, central Hebei Province. Originally a shrine from 98 B.C., the temple took shape in A.D. 500–512. The relics that now remain date back to 1270, when the temple was renovated. They consist of a main hall, the foundations of another hall, a pavilion, and three gates. The murals in the central hall depict sacred peak deities; three officials of Heaven, Earth, and Water; peaks; mountains; and immortals. At the site are also numerous steles engraved with inscriptions. During the Jiajing period (1522–66), Hou Tingxun, magistrate of Quzhen County, petitioned the provincial governor to compile these inscriptions of historical value. Hou and others were sent to the site to copy them. Eventually Huangfu Fang (1503–82), a poet and Ming official, compiled a volume in three juan and issued it in the 11th year of Jiajing (1532) with the title of Bei yu bian (Compilation of the Northern Peak). This work, a later and much-expanded edition in 10 juan (in four volumes), was compiled by Wei Xueli, a subprefect of Guangping, Hebei, and was issued in the 18th year of the Wanli reign (1590). It contains treatises, with illustrations, on the Northern Peak Temple, other peaks and temples in Quyang, Hengshan, and other areas, and the temple paintings. It also contains a map of China, entitled “Map of the unified domain of the great Ming.”

Gazetteer of Zhongdu, the Middle Capital

The first Ming emperor, Hongwu (1328–98), also well known by his personal name Zhu Yuanzhang, established the national capital in Nanjing. He also renamed Linhao (present-day Linhuai, Fengyang, Anhui Province), where he was born, as Zhongdu and designated it as the middle capital. Construction began there in 1372 of an imperial city with imposing palaces and a capital with inner, middle and outer cities and nine gates, but the emperor suddenly stopped the building in 1375. Although Zhongdu never became the political center of China, some of the concepts of city planning used in its construction, including the palace arrangements, had great influence on the planning of Beijing and occupy an important position in the history of city planning in China. Zhongdu was one of the most majestic constructions in China, and followed, in a new style, in the tradition of the Song and Yuan periods. Today, only some remains of the city can be found, such as imperial tombs, the drum tower, and Longxing Temple. This manuscript work was compiled by Zhang Liangzhi, a native of Anyi, Shanxi Province, who achieved the degree of ju ren (a successful candidate of imperial examinations at provincial level) in 1528 and secured a post at the Ministry of Revenue. In the 26th year of the Jiajing reign (1547), Zhang Liangzhi became an official at the Bureau of Investigation at Zhongdu, where eight garrisons were stationed to guard the imperial tombs. It was here that Zhang wrote this work. Included in it are the names of local officials, listed chronologically. The last official listed, in 1558, is Li Shouxiu, who also could be the person responsible for issuing of the work, which has a preface by the author.

A New Treatise on Self-Admonishment

This is a three-volume manuscript written in Chinese in the early 18th century by the Korean statesman Kim Ch’ang-jip (1648–1722). He was from a powerful branch of the Kim clan based at Andong, North Kyongsang Province, and was later accused of treason and executed in 1722. He was known to have visited the Chinese imperial capital regularly. A preface written by Li Yi indicates that Kim learned from Chinese men of virtue and high officials by reading the stele inscriptions that extolled their lives and deeds, unofficial histories, and other miscellaneous writings. He wrote down his ideas on exemplary behavior and conduct, to serve as a guide for his descendants. He also quoted sayings from Korean sources. Following the arrangement of a 13th-century Chinese work, Zi jing bian (Treatise on self-admonishment) written by the Song author Zhao Shanliao, Kim Ch’ang-jip organized his writings in three juan, with the first consisting of 12 entries, the second 25 entries, and the third 23 entries. Each entry cites the sources used. The exhortations in the work were to be adopted by men of high status and learning of the time. The manuscript came into the Library of Congress collection in 1929.

St. Wladimir's (i.e., Vladimir's) Monument, Kiev, Russia, (i.e., Ukraine)

This photochrome print of St. Vladimir’s Monument in Kiev is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites Primarily in Poland, Russia, and the Ukraine” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). The bronze monument, erected in 1853, stands atop Vladimirskaya Hill and towers over the Dnieper River. It is dedicated to Prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich (958–1015), or St. Vladimir, who brought Christianity to Kievan Rus in 988. The 20-meter monument was designed by sculptor Vasily Demuth-Malinovsky (1779–1846). The statue, which comprises only five meters of the monument’s total height, is by the sculptor Pyotr Klodt (1805–67). It features the figure of St. Vladimir with a cross in his right hand and a prince's cap in his left hand. The brick and iron pedestal decorated with stars and crosses is by Konstantin Ton (1794–1881).

Memorials from Qinghai

Memorials were personal memoranda presented by officials to the emperor, often with proposals for action. They were one of the chief media for communication between the emperor and his officials. The memorials provide insight into the range of views held at the time on various subjects, and are important historical sources. This is a collection of handwritten memorials in ten volumes, written by Yushi (1825–1906) during the reign of Emperor Tongzhi (1862–74) and Emperor Guangxu (1875–1908). Yushi was a Han native whose original family name was Liu, who later became a member of one of the Manchu Eight Banners. He achieved his jin shi (doctoral degree) in 1852 and entered the government, serving in a number of official posts, including one at the Grand Secretariat. In 1859 he became an investigating censor of Shandong and later of Shaanxi. Two years later he became the prefect of Lanzhou and Pingliang. In 1870 he was promoted to grand minister superintendent of Xining, Qinghai, where he assisted Zuo Zongtang (1812–85), the most prominent military leader and statesman of the time, in suppressing the anti-Qing movement of the Muslims in the region. In 1878 he became the military governor of Urumqi. This work contains his memorials written during his years in the Qinghai region. Many of the memorials detail military maneuvers and provide information relating to events that supplement the official histories of the period. Also included are memorials requesting the recruitment of soldiers to protect vital garrisons, the recruitment of civil corps, and correspondence involving penalties for the provincial treasurer for delay in delivering pay and provisions for soldiers. The book has two prefaces, one by the author and another by Li Hongzao (1820–97), a fellow high official who was a tutor at the imperial court and served as grand councilor.