An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Huangchao wugong jisheng 皇朝武功紀盛

May 1, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Huangchao wugong jisheng 皇朝武功紀盛 "History of the greatest military achievements of Our August Dynasty" is a comprehensive description of four important wars of the Qing dynasty 清 (1644-1911) from the origins to the end of the Qianlong reign-period 乾隆 (1736-1795). The 4-juan long book was compiled by the writer and historian Zhao Yi 趙翼 (1727-1814).

Zhao had a very successful political career in which he served governor-general Li Shiyao 李侍堯 (d. 1788), but was also a famous writer, often mentioned together with Yuan Mei 袁枚 (1716-1797) and Jiang Shiquan 蔣士銓 (1725-1784) or the historians Qian Daxi 錢大昕 (1728-1804) and Wang Mingsheng 王名盛. Zhao Yi wrote the critical history books Nian'ershi zhaji 廿二史札記, Aodian zaji 粵滇雜記, Gaiyu congkao 陔餘叢考, Yanpu zaji 檐曝雜記, Oubei shichao 毆北詩抄 and Oubei shihua 毆北詩話.

The Wugong jisheng encompasses the descriptions of four wars which can also be read or were published separately. In some sense, the Wugong jisheng is therefore a kind of series. It describes the war against the Three Feudatories, the Dzunghar campaigns, the Myanmar campaigns, and the Second Jinchuan War. Three of the texts are concise reports including important imperial edicts and drafted memorials. They are virtually extracts of the official military annals of these campaigns, the Pingding sanni fanglüe 平定三逆方略, the first part of the Pingding Zhunga'er fanglüe 平定準噶爾方略, and the Pingding Liang Jinchuan fanglüe 平定兩金川方略.

The Myanmar campaigns are a narrative written on the base of personal experience as a secretary (sheren 舍人) of Fuheng 傅恒 (1720-1770), who conducted part of the campaigns. He obtained information about the Jinchuan war directly from the mouth of Wenfu 溫福 (d. 1773) and Agūi 阿桂 (1717-1797), the leading commanders. Zhao also took part in the war against the rebellion in Taiwan in 1786-1788. The book was finished in 1792. It is included in the series Duhuazhai congshu 讀畫齋叢書.

Table 1. Concents of Zhao Yi's 趙翼 series Huangchao wugong jisheng 皇朝武功紀盛
平定三逆述略 Pingding sanni shulüe Concise description of the pacification of the Three Rebels
平定準噶爾前編述略 Pingding Zhunga'er qianbian shulüe Concise description of the first step of the pacification of the Dzunghars
平定緬甸述略 Pingding Miandian shulüe Concise description of the pacification of Myanmar
平定兩金川述略 Pingding Liang Jinchuan shulüe Concise description of the pacification of the Two Jinchuans
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 916.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (ChangchunL Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 645.