January 31, 2012

Collected Poems of Yizhizhai Studio

The author of this work, Ding Yan (1794–1875), was a native of Shanyang (part of present-day Huai’an, Jiangsu Province), an accomplished scholar, and a government official. After achieving the rank of ju ren, a successful candidate at the provincial level examination, but failing to acquire his jin shi (doctoral degree), he declined minor official appointments and returned to Shanyang, where he became active in local affairs. In 1842 he led the local civilian corps in defense of his city, confronted the British fleet that had entered the Yangtze River, and took charge of the repair of the city walls. In 1843 he was awarded the title of secretary of the Grand Secretariat. Ten years later he defended his city again, this time against the Taiping rebels. In 1853 he was accused of committing errors in organizing the militia, and he was sentenced and banished but later released. In 1861 Ding was formally appointed, by imperial decree for his efforts in defending Shanyang, to serve on the commission for training the civilian corps in northern Jiangsu, and he eventually gained the title of an official of the second rank. He was public spirited and contributed to famine relief and the dredging of waterways. He advocated the issuance of paper money and the strict prohibition of opium. He also headed several local academies and was one of the chief compilers of the local histories of Shanyang. Ding was mainly renowned for his scholarship and literary accomplishments. Some 50 works attributed to him are known, of which 23 were collected in 1862 under the title of Yi zhi zhai cong shu (Collected works of Yizhizhai Studio). His poems and short essays in 16 juan, entitled Yi zhi zhai shi wen ji (Collected poems and essays of Yizhizhai Studio), was never printed. Scholar and archaeologist Luo Zhenyu (1866–1940) acquired a manuscript copy of this author’s work from Ding’s descendants, from which in 1915 he selected and printed one juan of Ding’s essays and one juan of his poems. The Library of Congress edition is a Qing manuscript that retained the original title. It has a number of prefaces, poems, and inscriptions written by various scholars and men of letters. Among them are Ding’s own preface (dated 1832) and those by Zhou Ji (dated 1836) and Sheng Dashi (1824), poems by Pan Deyu (1828) and Wang Gui (1831), as well as inscriptions by Zhu Qi (1844) and Huang Juezi (1836). There are also handwritten markings that could have been in Ding Yan’s own hand.

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.  

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).

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.

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.

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.