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Sanchao Liaoshi shilu 三朝遼事實錄

Sep 2, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Sanchao Liaoshi shilu 三朝遼事實錄 "Veritable records of the events in Liaodong during the three reigns" is a book of the rise of the Jurchens (Nüzhen 女真), the future Manchus (Manzhou 滿洲) in the northeast during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) under the Wanli 萬曆 (1573-1619), Taichang 泰昌 (1620), and Tianqi 天啟 (1621-1627) reign-periods. The book of 17 juan length was written by Wang Zaijin 王在晉 (1564-1643), courtesy name Mingchu 明初, from Taicang 太倉 near Suzhou 蘇州, Jiangsu. In 1622, Wang was appointed Minister of War (bingbu shangchu 兵部尚書), in concurrence with the office of Right Censor-in-chief (you fudu yushi 右副都御史) and took over high command at the northeastern border.

Wang also wrote the books Haifang zuanyao 海防纂要 or maritime defence, Lidai shanling kao 歷代山陵考 and Guochao shanling kao 國朝山陵考 on imperial tombs, and Tongcao leibian 通漕類編, a book on tribute grain transport.

The book begins with a short description (Zonglüe 總略) of the rise of the Jurchens. The text narrates how Nurhaci unified the tribes and proclaimed his seven grievances (qi da hen 七大恨) and announced to revenge the injustice the Ming had committed against his father and the people of the Jurchens. The text ends with the occupation of the land just north of the Great Wall at the Shanhai Pass 山海關. Wang not only gives an account of the military encounters between the Ming and the Jurchens, but also of the factional quarrels at the Ming court that contributed to the political weakness of the Ming. The account quotes from many memorials to the throne and is written in a quite neutral manner, speaking frankly of the supply problems and the incapacity of the Ming generals. It was nevertheless prohibited during the Qianlong reign-period perhaps because of Wang's embellishment of his own merits and the defamation of others.

The book was first printed in 1629, and a Qing-period manuscript survived. In 1930 the Beijing University 北京大學 (Beiping?) published a new manuscript version. A year later the Nanjing Library (Nanjing guocui tushuguan 南京國粹圖書館) published a facsimile of the Ming-period print which was reproduced in 1981 by the Jiangsu Guanglin Guji Keyinshe 江蘇廣陵古籍刻印社. A modern, punctuated edition was published in 1990 in the series Changbai congshu 長白叢書 (Jinlin Wenshi Press 吉林文史出版社).

Sources:
Li Bingzhong 李秉忠, Wei Canjin 衛燦金, Lin Conglong 林從龍, ed. (1990). Jianming wenshi zhishi cidian 簡明文史知識詞典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 577.
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. 1, 908.
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), 55.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 29.