An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Ming dianhui 明典彙

Jan 23, 2014 © Ulrich Theobald

Ming dianhui 明典彙 (明典匯) "Collection of Canons of the Ming Dynasty", original title Guochao dianhui 國朝典彙 or Mingchao dianhui 明朝典彙 (明朝典匯), is an official collection of rituals and ceremonial regulations compiled during the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Xu Xueju 徐學聚 (early 17th cent.), courtesy name Jingyu 敬輿, style Shilou 石樓. He hailed from Lanxi 蘭溪, Zhejiang, obtained his jinshi degree during the Wanli reign-period 萬曆 (1573-1619) and was Right Assistant Censor-Pacifier (you jiandu yushi xunfu 右僉都御史巡撫) of Fujian, and later rose to the office of Vice Censor-in-Chief (fu duyushi 副都御史).

The compendium of 200 juan includes regulations for court rites that were issued between the foundation of the Ming and the reign of Emperor Muzong 明穆宗 (the Longqing Emperor 隆慶, r. 1567-1572). The first part of the book (33 juan) represents the basic guidelines for the administration of a state (Chaozheng daduan 朝政大端) and quotes many edicts regulating the proper conduct of court rituals. The rest of the book is arranged according to jurisdictional matters that were subject to the Six Ministries.

The Ming dianhui is therefore a rich source not only on court rituals themselves, but also such concerned with administrative, economic and military matters. Most of the text is based on sources in the "veritable records" (shilu 實錄, see Mingshilu), an official chronicle of imperial edicts, but also on unofficial histories (baishi 稗史).

Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 498.