July 31, 2012

Ceremonial Etiquette for the Newly Appointed Officials

Xin guan dao ren yi zhu (Ceremonial etiquette for the newly appointed officials) is a Ming edition of two juan, in two volumes, on ceremonies and rules for new officials. The author is unknown, but inside the book is an inscription indicating that it was a reprint of an original edition printed by imperial order. The preface, dated 1565, was written by Guo Banshan and states that the original work was owned by Liu Zizhen, who reprinted the book on the advice of one of his friends. Many similar works on these subjects were written in China over the centuries and were listed in bibliographies and catalogs. The first juan deals with banquets, sacrifice offerings, festivities, and other related topics. The second juan addresses the proper rules an official must follow in order to lead the people, his daily duties, the importance of being informed of all important matters, how to conduct official business, learning about the people’s livelihood, etiquette, and disaster prevention. The book has a seal impression of Taozhai, the style name of Xu Shichang (1855–1939), who, among many official posts, was at one time the viceroy of Manchuria and chief of the general staff, and between October 1918 and June 1922, president of the Republic of China.

Zhejiang Provincial Civil Examination Records

This book is a collection of civil examination records from Zhejiang Province, dated the eighth year of the Zhengde reign (1513) of the Ming dynasty. The civil examination system in China officially began in the first half of the seventh century and continued with various modifications until its abolition in 1905 in the late Qing dynasty. Its purpose was to train and select qualified officials to form an efficient bureaucracy to administer the vast nation under the emperor. The system was designed to reward merit in any male candidate, rather than social or political connections or wealth. However, sons of gentry and wealthy merchants, the “elites,” were disproportionately successful in passing the exams and receiving appointments. In return, they supported and strengthened the imperial and social structure. Together with the imperial court, they also influenced the curriculum for the civil examinations, which presented difficulties for the lower classes. The primary resources contained in these published civil examination records of the Ming and Qing dynasties shed light on the educational, cultural, social, and political aspects of the times. These records often contain a preface, exam topics, and the names and ranks of the officials in different roles for the examination, such as examiners, supervisors, invigilators, collectors, copyists, proofreaders, and suppliers. The examinations were held at different levels, from local, prefectural, provincial, and metropolitan, to the highest palace level. The syllabus ranged from classical Confucian studies, such as Si shu (the Four Books), to economy, statecraft, literature and poetry, governance, national defense, history, law, military matters, natural studies, agriculture, and customs. In late imperial China, the examination system provided entry to official appointments. This work has one juan in two volumes. The two chief examiners in 1513 were Chen Long, a Confucian instructor from Fuzhou Prefecture, Fujian Province, who also wrote the preface, and Lin Shiming, also an instructor from Shandong Province. The work contains a list of successful candidates.

Metropolitan Civil Examination Records from the 23rd Year of the Chenghua Reign (1487)

This work is a collection of civil examination records dated the 23rd year of the Chenghua reign of the Ming dynasty (1487). The civil examination system in China officially began in the first half of the seventh century and continued with various modifications until its abolition in 1905 in the late Qing dynasty. Its purpose was to train and select qualified officials to form an efficient bureaucracy to administer the vast nation under the emperor. The system was designed to reward merit in any male candidate, rather than social or political connections or wealth. However, sons of gentry and wealthy merchants, the “elites,” were disproportionately successful in passing the examinations and receiving appointments. In return, they supported and strengthened the imperial and social structure. Together with the imperial court, they also influenced the curriculum and the educational requirements for the civil examinations, which presented difficulties for the lower classes. The primary resources contained in these published civil examination records of the Ming and Qing dynasties shed light on the educational, cultural, social, and political aspects of the times. These records often contain a preface, exam topics, and the names and ranks of the officials in different roles for the examination, such as examiners, supervisors, invigilators, collectors, copyists, proofreaders, and suppliers. The examinations were held at different levels, from local, prefectural, provincial, and metropolitan, to the highest palace level. The syllabus ranged from classical Confucian studies, such as Si shu (the Four Books), to economy, statecraft, literature and poetry, governance, national defense, history, law, military matters, natural studies, agriculture, and customs. In late imperial China, the examination system provided entry to official appointments. Among the chief examiners listed in this book are Yin Zhi (1427–1511), a member of the Imperial Academy, president of the Bureau of War, and junior guardian of the heir apparent during the Chenghua reign, and Wu Kuan (1435–1504), a Ming poet and essayist, who was from an artisan family in Jiangsu, won highest honors in the metropolitan and palace examination in 1472, and became president of the Board of Rites. The preface was written by Yin Zhi and the postscript by Wu Kuan.

Metropolitan Civil Examination Records from the 7th Year of the Tianshun Reign (1463)

This work is a collection of civil examination records dated the seventh year (1463) of the Tianshun reign (1457–64). The civil examination system in China began in the first half of the seventh century and continued with various modifications until its abolition in 1905 in the late Qing dynasty. Its purpose was to train and select qualified officials to form an efficient bureaucracy to administer the vast nation under the emperor. The system was designed to reward merit in any male candidate, rather than social or political connections or wealth. However, studies show that sons of gentry and wealthy merchants, the “elites,” were disproportionately successful in passing the examinations and receiving appointments. In return, they supported and strengthened the imperial and social structure. Together with the imperial court, they also influenced the curriculum and the educational requirements for the civil examinations, which presented difficulties for the lower classes. The primary resources contained in these published civil examination records of the Ming and Qing dynasties shed light on the educational, cultural, social, and political aspects of the times. These records often contain a preface, exam topics, and the names and ranks of the officials in different roles for the examination, such as examiners, supervisors, invigilators, collectors, copyists, proofreaders, and suppliers. The examinations were held at different levels, from local, prefectural, provincial, and metropolitan, to the highest palace palace level. The syllabus ranged from classical Confucian studies, such as Si shu (the Four Books), to economy, statecraft, literature and poetry, governance, national defense, history, law, military matters, natural studies, agriculture, and customs. In late imperial China, the examination system provided entry to official appointments. Among the chief examiners in 1463 were Peng Shi (1416–75), a scholar and a senior grand secretary, and Qian Pu, a high official and calligrapher. The preface was written by Peng Shi and the postscript by Qian Pu.

Metropolitan Civil Examination Records from the Sixth Year of the Hongzhi Reign (1493)

This is a collection of civil examination records in two juan, in four volumes, dated the sixth year (1493) of the Hongzhi reign (1488–1505). The civil examination system in China began in the first half of the seventh century and continued with various modifications until its abolition in 1905 in the late Qing dynasty. Its purpose was to train and select qualified officials to form an efficient bureaucracy to administer the vast nation under the emperor. The system was designed to reward merit in any male candidate, rather than social or political connections or wealth. However, sons of gentry and wealthy merchants, the “elites,” were disproportionately successful in passing the examinations and receiving appointments. In return, they supported and strengthened the imperial and social structure. Together with the imperial court, they also influenced the curriculum and the educational requirements for the civil examinations, which presented difficulties for the lower classes. The primary resources contained in these published civil examination records of the Ming and Qing dynasties shed light on the educational, cultural, social, and political aspects of the times. These records often contain a preface, examination topics, and the names and ranks of such officials as examiners, supervisors, invigilators, collectors, copyists, proofreaders, and suppliers. The examinations were held at different levels, from local, prefectural, provincial, and metropolitan, to the highest palace palace level. The syllabus ranged from classical Confucian studies, such as Si shu (the Four Books), to economy, statecraft, literature and poetry, governance, national defense, history, law, military matters, natural studies, agriculture, and customs. In late imperial China, the examination system provided entry to official appointments. This work names two chief examiners  for 1493: Li Dongyang (1447–1516), a literary author and calligrapher who held many posts, including that of the secretary of the Bureau of Rites; and Lu Jian (1442–95), a reader of the imperial Hanlin Academy. Li Dongyang wrote the preface.

Genealogy of the Bi Family of Xin'an

Chinese genealogical works are historical records that document a patriarchal clan’s pedigree and the deeds and events associated with the clan. Included are names of the person, or persons, responsible for issuing the genealogy, as well as prefaces and postscripts. These works are a useful complement to the general historical records and important sources for the study of Chinese history and culture. This genealogy of the Bi family, which originated in Xin'an County, Anhui Province, was compiled by Bi Hui, Bi Lan, Bi Jichuan, and others. It traces the family back as far as the Tang dynasty and the years 685–88, when Bi Jing, the founder of the clan, governed four prefectures. He later was sent to Shezhou, Anhui, where he settled down, establishing a 30-generation family dynasty. Details of the family are compiled in an organized manner. The first eight juan record the genealogical details. Juan nine lists official positions held by family members over the generations. Juan ten details the unsung morals of family members. Juan 11 lists literary achievements; Bi Shangzhong (1416–97), the famed Ming dramatist, is mentioned there and his autobiography is appended. Juan 12 lists virtuous and steadfast widows in the family. Juan 13 discusses the longevity of family members. Juan 14 gives details of mountains and rivers and Juan 15 describes palaces and houses. Juan 16 and Juan 17 contain poems and essays. Only about 100 copies of the work were printed. Each copy carries the name of the receiver of the book with a code name. This copy has an inscription in black ink in a red bell-shaped mark at the end, with the notation that it was received by Bi Dan, a 12th-generation descendant, with the code name Ma. There are eight prefaces and one postscript dated 1508–9.