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Title: Secret Archives: a Treasury of Qing Historical Documents

Archival documents are not only records produced during administrative activities, but also an important source of materials for studying the implementation of policies and the formulation of legal institutions. Since the ancient times there has been a system for safekeeping national archives on account of their referential value and confidentiality. It is noted in Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian) that King Cheng of Western Zhou had commanded his officials to store important archives in a jinguei (golden cabinet), revealing that the ruler was cautious of preserving archives. Considered by many as the earliest archiving system, the practice of preserving administrative documents has been carefully observed and followed in each succeeding dynasty, leaving an important treasury of materials of historical value.

Such archives were sealed and preserved carefully, and access by others was next to impossible. Documents thus treated would include all those compiled under imperial commission, such as veritable records, court diaries, imperial genealogical records, proclamation mandates, compilations of decrees, and all those that could help compile dynastic histories.

After Manchu ruled China, the system of archival management of the Ming was adopted. Clear and strict regulations for archival practices, such as registering, copying, recalling, repairing, checking, and filing, were written out. For example, the huge number of archival documents preserved in the Grand Council was regulated to be examined and repaired after several years in consideration of their frequent use by officials and the resulting damages. We may thus get a sense of the kind of attitude of Qing court held towards the management and preservation of national archives.

The  section ''Secret Archives: a Treasury of Qing Historical Documents'' highlights the valuable historical resources held by the National Palace Museum, such as imperial decrees and official documents, biographies of officials, and palace memorials and accompanying illustrations.  Not only does it reveal the secret veil of national archives which were considered confidential, but also help the visitors to garner an understanding of the development of official documents during the Qing dynasty. Meanwhile, they also show how the Qing government was administrated, the court life, and the relationship between the emperor and officials, as well as the process of the rise and fall of each reign.

Propositions and Palace Memorials from Court Officials

 
Memorial on the status of constructing wood paling in Taiwan (New Window)
     
 

Memorial on the status of constructing wood paling in Taiwan
Presented by Chan Jibu, Investigating Censor to Taiwan
1725

 


 

Official Documents

 
Mingyichen Liehzhuan (New Window)
 
Mingyichen Liehzhuan (New Window)
 
 

Mingyichen Liehzhuan
Biographical Materials of Officials of the Ming Dynasty
Edition of the State Historiography Institute, Qing dynasty

 

Mingyichen Liehzhuan
Biographical Materials of Officials of the Ming Dynasty
Edition of the State Historiography Institute, Qing dynasty

 
 
Taiwan Luetu (New Window)
     
 

Taiwan Luetu
Map of Taiwan(Chinese version)
1662-1722, Qing Dynasty

     

Palace Memorials & Illustrations

 
Memorial on the dispatching of officials and the escorting of Taiwan's aboriginals to Beijing (New Window)
     
 

Memorial on the dispatching of officials and the escorting of Taiwan's aboriginals to Beijing
Presented by Jueluo Manbao, Governor-general of Fujian and Zhejiang
1717

 


 

Historical Documents on Taiwanese Aboriginals

 
Huangwing Zhigong Tu (New Window)
 
 
 

Huangwing Zhigong Tu
Illustrations of Tribute Missions to the Imperial Qing
Taken from the Siku Quanshu Huiyao (Condensed Version of the Complete Library of the Four Treasuries) of the Ci-zao Hal, Qing dynasty