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Beizhenglu 北征錄

Jan 6, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Beizhenglu 北征錄 "Records of the northern campaigns", full title Jin Wenjinggong Beizhenglu 金文靖公北征錄, is a history of the Wanli Emperor's 萬曆 (Emperor Shenzong 明神宗, r. 1402-1424) campaign against the Tatars 韃靼 (Mongols) in 1410 written by the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Jin Youzi 金幼孜 (1368-1431), original name Jin Shan 金善. He hailed form Xingan 新淦 (modern Xingan 新干, Jiangxi) and was Minister of Rites (libu shangshu 禮部尚書) and Grand Academician in the Hall of Military Glory (Wuyingdian daxueshi 武英殿大學士).

The Wanli Emperor was deeply impressed by his literary abilities and appointed him examining editor of the Hanlin Academy (Hanlin jiantao 翰林檢討) and allowed him participating in governmental affairs. Apart from the Beizhenglu, Jin also wrote a supplement called Beizheng houlu 北征後錄.

The Beizhenglu (also called Beizheng qianlu 北征前錄), a text of 2 juan length, was written "in the saddle" after the personal experience when the author accompanied the Emperor to subdue the Mongol tribes under Aruγtai (d. 1434, Chinese transcription Alutai 阿魯臺). The book includes deliberations of the Wanli Emperor and his ministers about the war and its organisation and is arranged in a kind of diary. Not all matters mentioned in the Beizhenglu are correct, but it nevertheless provides an excellent insight into this campaign.

The Beizuhenglu was printed by the Dongfang Xuehui 東方學會, and there is also an edition published by the Wenhai Press 文海出版社 in Taibei, as part of the reprint series Zhongguo fangzhi congshu 中國方志叢書. It is also known under the title of Jin Wenjinggong Beizhenglu 金文靖公北征錄, Wenjinggong being the posthumous honorific title of Jin Youzi.

The Beizheng houlu is written in a similar descriptive style and describes the campaign against the Oirats 瓦刺 in 1414.

Sources:
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 228.
Zhongguo fanglüe congshu 中國方略叢書 (Chengwen Publishing), www.chengwen.com.tw/tc/cat/str/guo3.htm.