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Chinese Literature
Jixiao xinshu 紀效新書 "The New Book on Effectful Discipline"


The Jixiao xinshu 紀效新書 "New book on effectful discipline" is a military treatise written by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Qi Jiguang 戚繼光. The book is 18 juan "scrolls" long. There is also a version from the late Ming period which is 14 juan long, which in some chapters differs from the 18 juan version. The book is enriched with illustrations.
The Jixiao xinshu mainly deals with the body of troops, from selecting able-bodies peasants, grouping them into units, teaching them commands, signals and battle movements, their way of life in the encampments, the art of fighting, and different ways of warfare, especially naval warfare, but also the defense of forts along the coast. From his own personal experience, the author brings forward the most important points to be observed. In a general treatise, Qi Jiguang gives an overview of the situation along the southern coast and describes how troops can be trained to met the challenges the coastal defense is exposed to. The main enemy at this part of the empire were naval raids by pirates, not only at the coast, but also in the hinterland. A general must dispose of a body of able troops on which he can rely in all situations. The spirit of the corps is a very important issue, which can only built up if the troops learn in practice how to fight. Training was a very important method to have an excellent army at hand. If the troops are well-trained in all different methods of fighting, they will be able to immediately obey the commander's order to change tactics according to the actual situation. The Jixiao xinshu describes a lot of firearms and other weapons used in fighting, which shows the wide range of muskets and cannons the Ming armies disposed of.
There are several prints from the Ming and the Qing 清 (1644-1911) periods. One print from 1797 is preserved in Japan. The Jixiao xinshu is included in the collectanea Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and Mohai jinhu 墨海金壺.


Source: Zou Jing 鄒經 (1989). "Jixiao xinshu 紀效新書", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Junshi 軍事, vol. 1, p. 440. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.

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January 15, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail