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Mengda beilu 蒙韃備錄

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Zhao Gong's 趙珙 (sometimes also referred to as Meng Gong 孟珙) Mengda beilu 蒙韃備錄 "A refined [report] of the Mongolian Tartars" is an eye-witnesses report of the Mongols' early conquest of the Jin empire 金 (1115-1234). Zhao himself had traveled north where he met Prince Muquli 木華黎 (1170-1223) attacking the northern Jin capital of Yanjing 燕京 (modern Beijing). Yet Zhao's book is not a pure event history but a full and comprehensive account of the social, administrative and economic system of the early Mongol empire, and of north China at that time in general.

The oldest extant version is to be found in the reprint series Shuofu 說郛, one the base of which the early Republican scholar Wang Guowei 王國維 (1877-1927) made his commented edition Mengda beilu jianzheng 蒙韃備錄箋證. An older commentary was written by the Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Cao Yuanzhong 曹元忠 (1865-1923).

Table 1. Contents of Mengda beilu 蒙韃備錄
立國 Liguo The founding of the Mongol empire
韃主始起 Dazhu shi qi The beginning of the khan's campaigns
國號年號 Guohao nianhao Names and terms of the dynasty
太子諸王 Taizi zhuwang The princes
諸將功臣 Zhujiang gongchen The generals
任相 Renxiang The ministers
軍政 Junzheng The army
馬政 Mazheng Providing horses
糧食 Liangshi Providing food
征伐 Zhengfa Campaigning
官制 Guanzhi The administration
風俗 Fengsu Customs
軍裝器械 Junzhuang qixie Weapons and equipment
奉使 Fengshi Court communication and procedures
祭祀 Jisi Sacrifices
婦女 Funü Females
燕聚舞樂 Yan zhong wuyue Dancers and musicians of Yanjing
Sources:
Gao Wende 高文德, ed. (1995). Zhongguo shaoshu minzu shi da cidian 中國少數民族史大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin jiaoyu chubanshe), 2338.
Jia Jingyan 賈敬顔 (1992). "Mengda beilu 蒙韃備錄", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 2, 652.
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. 2, 934.
Wang Zhaoming 王兆明, Fu Langyun 傅朗雲, ed. (1991). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Dili 地理卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 365.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 877.
Further reading:
Garcia, Chad D. (2012). "A New Kind of Northerner: Initial Song Perceptions of the Mongols", Journal of Song-Yuan Studies, 42: 309-342.
Khair, Tabish, et al. (2005) "Two Chinese Accounts of the Early Mongols (1221 and 1237): from Mengda Beilu and Heida Shilüe", in idem, ed. Other Routes: 1500 Years of African and Asian Travel Writing (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), 102-111.
Olbricht, Peter, Elisabeth Pinks (1980), based on preliminary works of Erich Haenisch and Yao Ts’ung-wu, Meng-Ta pei-lu und Hei-Ta shih-lüeh: Chinesische Gesandtenberichte über die frühen Mongolen 1221 und 1237 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz).