An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Mulingshu 牧令書, Mulingshu jiyao 牧令書輯要

Mar 4, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald

Mulingshu jiyao 牧令書輯要 is an excerpt of Xu Dong's 徐棟 (1793-1865) Mulingshu 牧令書 "The book of the governor and the magistrate", a kind of handbook for district magistrates.

Xu Dong, original name Xu Fen 徐棻, courtesy name Deru 德如, style Zhichu 志初, was once prefect in Xing'an 興安 and Xi'an 西安 in the province of Shaanxi, and therefore had great experience in the administration of local territories. The book was written after that time, when he served in the Ministry of Works (gongbu 工部). It was revised by Ding Richang 丁日昌 (1823-1882) and in 1868 submitted to the throne. The emperor acknowledged it and ordered to distribute it all over the empire. It was reprinted in 1873 by the Chongwen Press 崇文書局.

The original book was 23-juan long and divided into 18 chapters, but Ding Richang cut it down to a size of 10 juan, and added a preface with remarks in the methods of compilation (Liyan 例言) and a list with short careers (Xingming jueli kao 姓名爵里考) of the more than sixty persons whose writings were quoted in the book.

The Mulingshu jiyao is part of Ding Richang's collection Muling quanshu 牧令全書 which includes five texts, namely Xu Dong's Mulingshu jiyao and Baojiashu jiyao 保甲書輯要 (both revisions by Ding), Zhang Yanghao's 張養浩 (1270-1229) Mumin zhonggao 牧民忠告 from the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368), and three short books of the Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) writer Liu Heng 劉衡 (early 19th cent.), namely Yongli yongyan 庸吏庸言, Dulü xinde 讀律心得, and Shuliao wenda 蜀僚問答 (app. Qinpin zhouxian yishi 欽頒州縣事宜).

The Mulingshu itself is found in the series Guanzhen shu jicheng 官箴書集成.

Table 1. Contents of the Mulingshu 牧令書
1 治原 The basics of government
2 政略 Outlines of administration
3 持家 Controlling one's family
4 用人 The employment of men
5 事上 Service to superiors
6 接下 Treatment of subordinates
7 取善 Accepting good [suggestions]
8 屏惡 Rejecting bad [measures]
9-10 農桑 Farming and mulberry cultivation
11 賦役 Taxation and labour recruitment
12-14 籌荒 Preparations for disasters
15 保息 Ensuring relaxation [and thus prosperity]
16 教化 Education
17-19 刑名 Law and order
20 戢暴 Elimination of oppressors
21 備武 Military preparedness
22 事彙 Administrative reports
23 憲綱 Laws and regulations
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, 1433.
Lu Wei 駱偉, ed. (2000). Guangdong wenxian zonglu 廣東文獻綜錄 (Guangdong: Zhongshan daxue chubanshe), 431.
Wu Shuchen 武樹臣, ed. (1999). Zhongguo chuantong falü wenhua cidian 中國傳統法律文化辭典 (Beijing: Beijing daxue chubanshe), 378.
Zhang Jie 張婕 (2013). "Guanzhen zhong de minti sixiang: Yi Mulingshu wei zhongxin 官箴中的民本思想——以《牧令書》為中心", Jinri Zhongguo luntan 今日中國論壇, 2013 (9)