An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Lidai zhiguan biao 歷代職官表

Mar 21, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

(Qinding) Lidai zhiguan biao (欽定)歷代職官表 "(Imperially endorsed) Table of government officials through history" is a list of the occupants of the highest state offices through history. It was compiled on official order during the Qianlong reign-period 乾隆 (1736-1795) of the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) under the supervision of Ji Yun 紀昀 (1724-1805), Lu Xixiong 陸錫熊 (1734-1792), Sun Shiyi 孫士毅 (1720-1796) and Lu Feixi 陸費墀 (1731-1790).

The book of 72 juan was to be a mirror of success and failure of central government politics. The lists are geared to the state official system of the Qing period and arranged according to departments. Each section begins with the Qing period and only in the second place lists the chronological occupation of these offices. Inspite of this arrangement, it is clearly explained if the administrative system was different in older times, when offices and institutions were created or abolished, or were renamed. The sources for the pre-Qing periods were lists from encylopaedias on statecraft, as the Tongdian 通典 or Wenxian tongkao 文獻通考, or the treatises on state offices (Zhiguan zhi 職官志) in the official dynastic histories. Information on the Qing period offices were copied from the Qing huidian 清會典. The book is a great help for research, but it also includes some errors and is in some places not easy to use.

It is included in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Huang Benji 黃本驥 (1781-1856), courtesy name Zhongliang 仲良, style Huchi 虎癡, published a shortened version with a length of 6 juan. He hailed from Ningxiang 寧鄉, Hunan, obtained his juren degree during the Daoguang reign-period 道光 (1821-1850) and was educational instructor (jiaoyuyu 教諭) of Qianyang 黔陽, Hunan. He also wrote a kind of official bibliography, the Huang-Qing jingji zhi 皇朝經籍志.

The official list of high ministers, the 72-juan long Lidai zhiguan biao that had been compiled during the Qianlong reign-period was never published except in the Siku quanshu. Huang Benji regretted that this list was not available to the public and therefore decided to publish a shortened version with 67 tables and the same title. The original and Huang's book use the administrative terminology of the Qing dynasty and also follow the Qing custom that each government section has a fix number of officials with a determined rank. Huang left out the critical apparatus that was attached to each table, but his book is still extremely useful for consultation.

Unfortunately Huang made numerous of errors while copying the original information from the official text. His book was first published in 1846 in the series Sanchangwuzhai congshu 三長物齋叢書. In 1965 the Zhonghua Shuju 中華書局 published a modernized version of Huang's book, with a reprint in 1980. This edition is the most helpful tool for high state officials through Chinese history.

Table 1. Contents of Huang Benji's 黃本驥 Lidai zhiguan biao 歷代職官表
1 宗人府 Zongrenfu The Court of the Imperial Clan
内閣 Neige The Grand Secretariat
吏部 Lìbu The Ministry of Personnel
戶部 Hubu The Ministry of Revenue
禮部 Lǐbu The Ministry of Rites
樂部 Yuebu Music Ministry
2 兵部 Bingbu The Ministry of War
刑部 Xingbu The Ministry of Justice
工部 Gongbu The Ministry of Works
理藩院 Lifanyuan The Court of Colonial Affairs
都察院 Duchayuan The Censorate
通政使司 Tongzhengshisi The Office of Transmission
大理寺 Dalisi The Court of Judicial Review
3 翰林院 Hanlinyuan Hanlin Academy
詹事府 Zhanshifu The Household of the Heir Apparent
太常寺 Taichangsi The Court of Imperial Sacrifices
光祿寺 Guanglusi The Court of Imperial Entertainments
太僕寺 Taipusi The Court of the Imperial Stud
順天府 Shuntian fu Metropolitian Prefecture of Shuntian
鴻臚寺 Honglusi The Court of State Ceremonial
國子監 Guozijian The Directorate of Education
欽天監 Qintianjian The Directorate of Astronomy
太醫院 Taiyiyuan The Imperial Academy of Medicine
4 内務府 Neiwufu The Imperial Household Department
鑾儀衛 Luanyiwei The Imperial Procession Guard
領侍衛內大臣 Lingshiwei neidachen Grand Ministers Controlling the Imperial Guardsmen
八旗都統 Baqi dutong Commanders-in-chief of the Eight Banners
前鋒護軍統領 Qianfeng, hujun tongling Commanders-general of the Vanguard and the Guards Brigade
步軍統領 Bujun tongling Commanders-general of the Infantry
火器健銳虎槍各營 Huoqi, jianrui, huqiang geying (Commanders of) the Firearms, Scouting and Tiger-Hunting Brigades
5 盛京官 Shengjing guan Heads of the metropolitan administrations
總督巡撫 Zongdu xunfu Governors-general and provincial governors
學政 Xuezheng Provincial education commissioners
司道 Sidao Heads of circuits
府州縣官 Fu-zhou-xian guan Heads of prefectures 1st and 2nd class and districts
各省駐防將軍 Gesheng zhufang jiangjun Provincial Banner generals
提督總兵等綠營官 Tidu zongbing deng lüying guan Provincial and regional commanders of the Green Standard brigades
6 河道各官 Hedao ge guan Heads of the waterways circuits
漕運各官 Caoyun ge guan Heads of the transport offices
鹽政 Yanzheng The salt administration
各處駐札大臣 Gechu zhuzha dachen Grand Ministers resident (in Tibet and Xinjiang)
宗室封爵 Zongshi fengjue Nobility of the imperial house
世爵世職 Shijue shizhi Heritable nobility
加銜 Jiaxian Persons bearing brevet titles
文武階 Wenwu jie Various civilian and military officials
王府各官 Wangfu ge guan Heads of princely establishments
新疆、蒙古、土司各官 Xinjiang, Menggu, tusi geguan Native heads of the administrations of Xinjiang, the Mongol leagues, and native chieftains
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, 1422, 1425.
Lü Jian 呂健 (1994). "Lidai zhiguan biao 歷代職官表", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Lishi 歷史卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 727.
Zhou Chaomin 周朝民 (1983). "Lidai zhiguan biao he Lidai dili yange biao 《歷代職官表》和《歷代地理沿革表》", Lishi jiaoxue wenti 歷史教學問題, 1983 (6).
Zhou Shao 周劭 (1993). "Lidai zhiguan biao yu shengguantu 《歷代職官表》与《升官圖》", Dushu 讀書, 1993 (4).