An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Huang-Ming shigai 皇明史槪

Jun 11, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Huang-Ming shigai 皇明史槪 "Overview to a history of the August Ming", short Mingshigai 明史槪, was written by Zhu Guozhen 朱國禎 (d. 1632), courtesy name Wenning 文寧, from Wucheng 烏程 (Wuxing 吳興Zhejiang). He obtained in jinshi degree in 1589 and was Minister of Rites (libu shangshu 禮部尚書) and concurrently Grand Academician in the Eastern Lodge (Dongge daxueshi 東閣大學士), then Grand Academician of the Hall of Literary Profundity (Wenyuange daxueshi 文淵閣大學士), and finally Senior Grand Secretary (shoufu 首輔). In the end, he was dismissed because of his involvement into the affair around the chief eunuch Wei Zhongxian 魏忠賢 (1568–1627). From then on, he dedicated his time to studies of historical documents and began compiling a history of the Ming dynasty 明 (1368-1644) until 1572, yet he died before the book was finished. Zhu also wrote the books Dazhengji 大政記 and Yongzhuang xiaopin 涌幢小品.

The 121-juan long book consists of several separable parts, and is therefore occasionally called a congshu-style 叢書 series.

Table 1. The series Huang-Ming shigai 皇明史槪
(Ming) 朱國禎 Zhu Guozhen (comp.)
Edition from the Chongzhen reign-period; reproduced as Siku quanshu 四庫全書 edition
書名, length in juan Title Author(s)
皇明大政記 三十六卷 Huang-Ming dazheng ji 朱國禎 Zhu Guozhen
皇明大事記 五十卷 Huang-Ming dashi ji 朱國禎 Zhu Guozhen
皇明大訓記 十六卷 Huang-Ming daxun ji 朱國禎 Zhu Guozhen
皇明開國臣傳 十三卷 Huang-Ming kaiguo chen zhuan 朱國禎 Zhu Guozhen
皇明遜國臣傳 五卷 Huang-Ming Xunguo chen zhuan 朱國禎 Zhu Guozhen
Source: Congshu zonglu xxx ???

The collection thus consists of "Grand politics", "Important events", "Grand instructions", and biographies of state officials and important persons.

Concerning the reigns of Ming Guangzong 明光宗 (r. 1620) and Ming Xizong 明熹宗 (r. 1620-1627), facts are somewhat distorted because Zhu Guozhen relied on official documents compiled by the eunuch faction. Yet the biographical part of the book is of high historiographical value. The book served Zhuang Tinglong 莊廷鑨 (d. 1655) as a source for his Mingshi jilüe 明史輯略. It was printed during the Chongzhen reign-period 崇禎 (1628-1644).

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 931.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 640.