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Heida shilüe 黑韃事略

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Heida shilüe 黑韃事略 "Short notes on the Black Tartars" is a Southern Song period 北宋 (1127-1279) account on the Mongols and their customs.

Before the Mongols created their steppe federation under the leadership of Činggis Qaɣan (Genghis Khan, r. 1206-1227) the inhabitants of the steppe north of the Gobi desert were called "Black Tartars" (Hei Dada 黑韃靼) by the Chinese, while the Mongols living south of the Gobi were the "White Tartars" (Bai dada 白韃靼, Önggüd).

Peng Daya 彭大雅 (d. 1245), and later Xu Ting 徐霆, traveled as ambassadors of the Song court to the Black Tartars during the 1230es. Peng first wrote down his observances in a kind of travel report (jianwenlu 見聞錄 "what I have seen and heard") in a draft form. Xu Ting later added his own impressions as a kind of commentary. Both describe personalities, geography and climate, the economic life of pastoral nomadism, language, calendar and many more aspects of daily life of the steppe inhabitants.

The oldest surviving print is the 1542 reproduction of a Song period manuscript copy. In 1925 the historian Wang Guowei 王國維 (1877-1927) published a modern annotated edition.

Sources:
Gao Wende 高文德, ed. (1995). Zhongguo shaoshu minzu shi da cidian 中國少數民族史大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin jiaoyu chubanshe), 2330.
Jia Jingyan 賈敬顔 (1992). "Heida shilüe 黑韃事略", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 364.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 933.
Wang Zhaoming 王兆明, Fu Langyun 傅朗雲, ed. (1991). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Dili 地理卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 339.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 846.
Further reading:
Garcia, Chad D. (2012). "A New Kind of Northerner: Initial Song Perceptions of the Mongols", Journal of Song-Yuan Studies, 42: 309-342.
Khair, Tabish, et al. (2005) "Two Chinese Accounts of the Early Mongols (1221 and 1237): from Mengda Beilu and Heida Shilüe", in idem, ed. Other Routes: 1500 Years of African and Asian Travel Writing (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), 102-111.
Olbricht, Peter, Elisabeth Pinks (1980), based on preliminary works of Erich Haenisch and Yao Ts’ung-wu, Meng-Ta pei-lu und Hei-Ta shih-lüeh: Chinesische Gesandtenberichte über die frühen Mongolen 1221 und 1237 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz).