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Tianxia junguo libing shu 天下郡國利病書

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Tianxia junguo libing shu 天下郡國利病書 "On benefit and faults of the empire's local administration" is a comprehensive history of local administration from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644). Its author, Gu Yanwu 顧炎武, collected materials from various local gazetteers (difangzhi 地方志) from the whole empire, the official dynastic histores, the veritable records of the Ming dynasty (Mingshilu 明實錄), memorials to the thone, and private writingsto evaluate the effects of good and bad government in order to have a compendium at hand how to benefit (li 利) the people and the state and how to avoid malfunction (bing 病). This was especially important in a time when corruption and bad government were rampant and would eventually lead to the end of the dynasty.
The book begins with a geographic overview of the empire, proceeds to the two capitals of the Ming dynasty, Nanjing and Beijing, and then goes on to the thirteen provinces, the Western Regions and tribute states as Annam, and many other foreign countries. Gu Yanwu describes in detail the local conditions and politics in field distribution, taxation, hydraulic works, mining, hydrology, military, border defence and many more topics.
The book is available in two different versions. The original draft version by Gu is to be found in the third series of the reprint series Sibu congkan 四部叢刊, another version in 120 juan "scrolls" was printed in Chengdu 成都, Sichuan. The second version contains many errors, all the more as the book was not really finished during Gu Yanwu's lifetime.


Sources: Li Xun 李洵 (1992), "Tianxia junguo libing shu 天下郡國利病書", 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. 2, p. 1140. ● Mo Zongtong 莫宗通 (1997). "Tianxia junguo libing shu 天下郡國利病書", in Men Gui 門巋, Zhang Yanjin 張燕瑾 (ed.), Zhonghua guocui da cidian 中華國粹大辭典 (Xianggang: Guoji wenhua chuban gongsi), p. 108.

August 22, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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