An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Huangchao qiyun lu 皇朝啟運錄

Feb 19, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald

Huangchao qiyun lu 皇朝啟運錄 "The foundation of Our Dynasty", also called Huang-Ming qiyun lu 皇明啟運錄, is a chronicle of the Ming dynasty 明 (1368-1644) written by Chen Jian 陳建 (1497-1567). It is the first part of his Huang-Ming tongji 皇明通紀.

The oldest surviving edition is part of the book Huang-Ming lichao zizhi tongji 皇明歷朝資治通紀 that was printed during the Jiajing reign-period 嘉靖 (1522-1566), but only the fascicles 3 to 8 (of 8 juan) are preserved. A copy of a "new print" was owned by the Tianyige Library 天一閣. It is divided into two parts and served as the modern reprint (Huang-Ming tongji) by the Zhonghua Book Company from 2008.

Chen Jian's aim was to present the private reader a book on the pre-history of the Ming dynasty. This was necessary because the official chronicle of that time, Taizu shilu 太祖實錄, was not accessible to the public. Other books on that period of time, like Huang-Ming kaiguo gongchen lu 皇明開國功臣錄 by Huang Jin 黃金 (1507), Liu Tingyuan's 劉廷元 Guochao mingchen yanxing lu 國朝名臣言行錄 or Wang Zongmu's 王宗沐 (1524-1592) Huang-Ming mingchen yanxing lu 皇明名臣言行錄, were either focusing on supporters of the dynastic founder, or on the period before Zhu Yuanzhang (the eventual Emperor Taizu 明太祖, r. 1368-1398) assumed the title of king of Wu 吳 (like the books Guochu shiji 國初事迹 by Liu Zhen 劉辰 (1334-1412), the official dynastic history Yuanshi 元史 or the Xu tongjian gangmu 續通鑒綱目 by Shang Lu 商輅 (1414-1486), and a third group was very detailed in concrete action of Zhu Yuanzhang, but ignored the greater background of the events, like Wu Pu's 吳樸 (c. 1500-1570) Longfei jilüe 龍飛紀略, Zhu Zhanji's 朱瞻基 (1399-1435年) Wulunshu 五倫書 or Huang-Ming zhengyao 皇明政要 by Lou Xing 婁性 (fl. 1481).

Chen's book was finished in 1552. Its arrangement is unfortunately quite confuse for which reason it is classified as a "miscellaneous history" (zashi 雜史) in the bibliographic chapter of the official dynastic history Mingshi 明史. Other book catalogues categorized it as a thematically arranged jishi benmo-type 紀事本末 book, in spite of its obvious character as a chronicle (biannian 編年).

The book begins with the rebellion of Zhu Yuanzhang in the year 1351, and then describes his conquest of the southeast and the proclamation of the kingdom of Wu, the occupation of central China and the advancement to the north, his proclamation as emperor and the pacification of north China, the rewards given to his meritorious collaborators, and the integration of the northwest and the southwest in the Ming empire.

Qian Maowei 錢茂偉 (1992). "Chen Jian ji qi Huang-Ming qiyun lu chutan 陳建及其《皇明啟運錄》初探", Ningbo shifan xuebao (She-ke ban) 寧波師範學報(社科版), 1992 (1).