An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Shengjing tongzhi 盛京通志

Sep 24, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

(欽定)盛京通志 (Qinding) Shengjing tongzhi is a local gazetteer of Shengjing (also called Mukden), the secondary (or original) capital of the Qing empire 清 (1644-1911) , the modern city of Shenyang 沈陽, Liaoning. The so-called Qianlong version from 1778/1784, compiled towards the end of the Qianlong reign-period 乾隆 (r. 1736-1795), was the result of a long series of revised versions.

The first gazetteer was compiled in 1684 on imperial order and under the supervision of Dong Bingzhong 董秉忠, courtesy name Zidan 子丹, metropolitan magistrate (yin 尹) of the prefecture of Fengtian 奉天, i.e. Shengjing, and Sun Cheng 孫成. This version has a length of 32 juan or chapters and included 9 maps, including one of the city of Ningguta 寧古塔 and one of Mt. Changbai 長白山 (by the Manchus called Golmin Šanggiyan Alin), which was declared a sacred mountain by the Kangxi Emperor 康熙帝 (r. 1661-1722). In 1712, Liao Tengkui 廖騰煃 added a chapter "Miscellaneous matters" (Zazhi 雜志). This moderate revision was carried out on the occasion of the first draft of the imperial geography Da-Qing yitong zhi 大清一統志, and was finished in 1711. This first version of a Shengjing gazetteer was was regularly revised in 1735, 1736, 1748, and 1778.

The version from 1734, known as (Yongzheng) Shengjing tongkao (雍正)盛京通志, with a length of 48 juan, and 1 fascicle of maps, was compiled under the supervision of Lü Huizeng 呂耀曾 (1679-1743), courtesy name Zonghua 宗華, magistrate of Fengtian, style Puyan 朴巖, and Wei Shu 魏樞, courtesy name Youbi 又弼 or Shenzhai 慎齋, who hailed from the city and was an expert in the Confucian Classics. The compilation, for which a special compilation office was created, took the local gazetteer of Guangdong, Guangdong tongkao 廣東通志, as a model, and includes a special chapter on statutes (Dianmo 典謨). It is only preserved in manuscript version. The book, enriched with 11 maps (including one on Heilongjiang), was finished in 1735 and revised a year later. The Lü version is included in the series Zhongguo bianjiang congshu 中國邊疆叢書.

Figures 1-2. Illustrations from the (Yongzheng) Shengjing tongkao (雍正)盛京通志
Top: City of Shengjing (Shenyang, Mukden) with inner and outer city wall, the central palace, administrative buildings and religious sites. Bottom: Mt. Changbai, the sacred mountains of the Manchus. From the Zhongguo bianjiang congshu edition.

Yet in 1736, Wang He 王河, assistant magistrate (cheng 丞) of the city, was entrusted with a further revision, which was carried out with the support of Wei Shu. This version, 48-juan long, includes 14 maps and illustrations and described the prefecture, and actually the whole region of Liaodong, in 33 chapters. New is a chapter called "Miscellaneous matters" (Zazhi). The compilers consulted ancient histories on the region, like the official dynastic histories Liaoshi 遼史 and Jinshi 金史. The text quotes from edicts issued by the early Qing emperors, and presents the biographies of many military leaders and civilian officials. It lists exact figures of household registrations and tax revenues, and presents a list of postal stations. Of particular interest is the creation during the Kangxi reign-period of canals for the transport of tribute grain which reached not just to Shengjing, but farther north to Heilongjiang. This version was reprinted in 1852.

The version from 1748, arranged by an unknown person (Wang Youdun 汪由敦?), is 32-juan long. It exends descriptions, and in particular that of imperial palaces (ch. 5), but also imperial edicts, until the year of publication. On the other hand, it eliminated some biographies and added some from the founding period of the Qing empire. Its scholarly and literary quality is rated as superior to the earlier versions.

The standard version of the Qianlong reign-period was compiled in 1778-1779 under the supervision of Agūi 阿桂 (1717-1797) and Dong Hao 董誥, and – after revision by Liu Jinzhi 劉謹之 (1739-1787) and Cheng Weiyue 程維岳 – submitted to the throne. This Qianlong version had a length of 130 juan, received the title Qinding Shengding tongzhi, and was first printed in 1784.

The book includes 35 maps of the imperial residence and is divided into 37 chapters speaking of geography, administration, population, historic sites, local products, and many aspects more. It is one of the most important sources on China's northwestern region in the pre-modern era and reveils many aspects of geography, population, and economy. It quotes the Treaty of Nerchinsk (Ch. Nibuchu tiaoyue 尼布楚條約 from 1689 between Qing China and Russia, and relies on the statements of earlier books, like the history of the early Manchu state Manzhou yuanliu kao 滿洲源流考 or the local histories Longsha jilüe 龍沙紀略 and Songmo jiwen 松漠紀聞, a history of the Jurchen people. The text analyses the institution of Banner fields (qitian 旗田), "salary fields" (guanzhuang 官莊), and hunting parks (yuanchang 園場) in great detail. Among the biographies are also person from the old houses of the Liao and Jin.

The Qianlong version is found in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書. It was again printed in 1917, with modern typeset. A last version of the Shengjing tongzhi was created by Lei Yicheng 雷以誠 (1806-1884), courtesy name He 鶴, who was assistant magistrate of the city. His version is based on the 1736 version and was finished in 1852.

Table 1. Contents of the (欽定)盛京通志 (Qinding) Shengjing tongzhi
1-7 聖制 "Sacred Orders"
8-9 綸音 "Silken Tassel" Words by the Emperor
10-17 天章 "Heavenly Stanzas"
18 京城 The capital city
19 壇廟 Altars and temples
20 宮殿 Palaces
21 山陵 Tomb mounds
22 星土 Astronomy
23 建制沿革 Administrative history
24 疆域形勢 Borders and geography
25-28 山川 Mountains and rivers
29-33 池城 City walls and moats
33 關郵 Passes and postal system
34 津梁(附船艦) Bridges (app. Navigation)
35-36 戶口 Census
37-38 田賦(附旗田官莊課稅) Field tax (app. Banner fields, salary fields, levies)
39-42 職官 State offices
43-44 學校 Schools
45-46 官署 Administrative institutions
47-50 選舉 Examination
51-52 兵防 Defence
53-57 名宦 Famous officials
58-64 歷朝人物 Eminent persons through history
65-81 國朝人物 Eminent persons of the Qing period
82-88 忠節 Persons of loyal conduct
87 孝義 Persons of filial conduct
88 文學 Literati
89 隱逸 Hidden worthies
90 流寓 Foreign residents
91 方伎 Magicians and diviners
92 仙釋 Daoist and Buddhist monks
93-96 列女 Outstanding females
97-99 祠祀 Shrines
100-104 古跡 Historic sites
105 風俗 Customs and habits
106-107/td> 物產 Local products
108 雜志 Miscellaneous matters
109-114 列朝藝文 Literature through the ages
115-130 國朝藝文 Literature under the Qing
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