An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Nantai jiuwen 南臺舊聞

Jan 19, 2014 © Ulrich Theobald

Nantai jiuwen 南臺舊聞 "A History of the Southern Terrace" is a treatise on the institution of the Censorate (yushitai 御史臺, from the Ming period 明, 1368-1644, on called duchayuan 都察院) written during the early Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Huang Sijing 黃思璥 (1666-1742), also called Huang Shujing 黄叔璥, courtesy name Yupu 玉圃, style Duzhai 篤齋. He hailed from Daxing 大興 near Beijing and obtained his jinshi degree in 1709.

He was investigating censor (jiancha yushi 監察御史) himself and later circuit intendant of Chang-Zhen-Yang 常鎮揚, and so had a lot of experience with the structure of the Censorate and its function. He also wrote a book on his inspection travel to the newly conquered island of Taiwan called Nanzheng jicheng 南征記程, and a similar text, Taihai shicha lu 臺海使槎錄.

The title of the 16-juan long Nantai jiuwen is derived from an early name of the Censorate. Such a book was necessary because about ten earlier texts on this institution from the Tang 唐 (618-907) to the Ming period were all lost. Huang Sijing therefore analyzed a lot of sources to reconstruct the history of this office, and added his own experience as a private source. His book describes the history of the Censorate from the Tang period until the end of the Ming period. It is divided into 13 chapters that are arranged chronologically and is all the more valuable because Huang added to all stories which sources he had made use of.

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, 1421.