An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Libu zhi gao 禮部志稿

May 29, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Libu zhi gao 禮部志稿 "Draft to an official treatise on the Ministry of Rites" is an outline of an official institutional codex for the Ministry of Rites (libu 禮部). It was compiled on imperial order during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) and submitted to the throne in 1620. The 110-juan long book was compiled under the supervision of Lin Yaoyu 林堯俞 (1558-1626), but according to the bibliographic treatise in the official dynastic history Mingshi 明史 the real compiler must have been Yu Ruji 俞汝楫 xxx, who had authored a book called Liyi zhi 禮儀志 (also called Libu zhi shu 禮部志書) with a length of 100 juan.

The book describes the administrative system of the Ministry of Rites, the various offices and their respective duties. The first part (1-6) includes imperial edicts of the whole Ming period concerned with ritual matters, juan 7 gives an overview of the offices. The next part describes the various offices and their functions in detail. These are followed by a table listing the highest officials from the foundation of the Ming dynasty and memorials to the throne concerning state rituals. Fascicles 56-63 include biographies of ministers, and the rest of the book is concerned with rules and regulations for the various departments of the Ministry.

The Libu zhi gao is not only important for its insight into this very crucial central government institution but also because it provides historical information not included in official histories like the "Veritable Records" of the Ming, the Mingshilu 明實錄 or the treatises on ritual matters (Li zhi 禮志) and ritual music (Yue zhi 樂志) in the history Mingshi, or the official statecraft encyclopaedia Ming huiyao 明會典. Some information can not even be found in the state ritual collection Ming jili 明集禮.

Because the Ministry of Rites was responsible for the tributes presented by foreign countries, there is also some information to be found not provided in the geography Xingcha shenglan 星槎勝覽.

The Libu zhi gao is included in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Table 1. Contents of the Libu zhi gao 禮部志稿
1.-6. 聖訓 Sacred instructions
7. 建官建署 Setting up offices and appointment of officials
8. 禮部總 Overview over the Ministry of Rites
9.-24. 儀制清吏司 The Bureau of Ceremonies
25.-34. 祠祭清吏司 The Bureau of Sacrifices
35.-44. 主客清吏司 The Bureau of Receptions
45.-46. 精膳清吏司 The Bureau of Provisions
司務廳 The General Services Office
47.-50. 歷官表 Chronological table of ministers
51.-55. 奏疏 Memorials to the throne concerning ritual matters
56.-63. 列傳 Biographies of ministers
64.-84. 儀制清吏司事例 Precedents of the Bureau of Ceremonies
85.-93. 祠祭清吏司事例 Precedents of the Bureau of Sacrifices
94.-102. 主客清吏司事例 Precedents of the Bureau of Receptions
103. 精膳清史司事例 Precedents of the Bureau of Provisions
104.-110. 總事例 General precedents
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 1420.
Wu Enrong 吳恩榮 (2016). "Sikuguan chen dui Libu zhigao de shangai ji qi zhengzhi yuyi 四 庫館臣對《禮部志稿》的删改及其政治寓意", Yunnan shehui kexue 云南社会科学, 2016 (7).
Wu Enrong 吳恩榮 (2019). "Libu zhigao bianzuan fangshi kaolun 《禮部志稿》編纂方式考論", Tangshan Shifan Daxue xuebao 唐山師範學院學報, 2019 (7).
Wu Enrong 吳恩榮 (2019a). "Libu zhigao de tili yu bianzuan sixiang 《禮部志稿》的體例與編纂思 想", Zhaoqing Xueyuan xuebao 肇慶學院學報, 2019 (7).
Wu Enrong 吳恩榮, Cheng Chiling 程熾玲 (2017). "Libu zhigao de zuozhe, chengshu yu banben kaoshu 《禮部志稿》的作者、成書與版本考述", Zhaoqing Xueyuan xuebao 肇慶學院學報, 2017 (1).