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Imperial Mandates: Proclamations of the Emperor
Memorials, Their Copies, and Archives
Official Documents and Historiographical Compilations
Archival and Illustrated Materials on Taiwan Aborigines
Official Historiographical Compilations

"The rise of a dynasty must accompany the history of another. Making it known to posterity is an important task indeed." This text is taken from an imperial edict dated to the eighth day of the first lunar month of 1649 by Dorgon, the Imperial Father Regent, for inaugurating an institute to compile the Veritable Records of Emperor Wen, T'ai-tsung, explaining the importance attached to the tradition of compiling and editing dynastic histories by the Ch'ing court. In the Ch'ing dynasty, institutes were established for compiling and editing of various historical documents. They can generally be divided into the following three categories:

"Court Diary Volumes"
Enlargement  Figure 13
"Court Diary Volumes"
8th and 9th years of the Chia-ch'ing reign (1808), Ch'ing Dynasty
36.3 x 21.6 cm (H x W)

Regular institutes, such as the Veritable Records Institute and Imperial Records Institute;
Permanent institutes, such as the Historiography Institute, Military Institute, and Court Diary Institute;
Temporary institutes, such as the Ming History Institute, Statutes Institute, and the Chronologies Institute.

The court editing of historical documents came mostly under the direction of Grand Academicians, the actual writers being mainly members of the Hanlin Academy. This assured quality of the texts and consistency with official thought. The historical books composed by institutes established by the court are commonly called "official documents" (figs. 13, 14, 15, 16).

"Veritable Records of Emperor Wen, T'ai-tsung, of the Great Ch'ing" Enlargement  Figure 14
"Veritable Records of Emperor Wen, T'ai-tsung, of the Great Ch'ing"
3rd month of the 6th year to 3rd month of the 7th year of the Ch'ung-te reign (1642-1643), Ch'ing Dynasty
Large red silk version
45 x 30 cm (H x W)
"Annals of Emperor Kao, T'ai-tsu, of the Great Ch'ing" Enlargement  Figure 15
"Annals of Emperor Kao, T'ai-tsu, of the Great Ch'ing"
Yellow silk version from the Historiography Institute, Ch'ing Dynasty
37.6 x 22.6 cm (H x W)
和碩睿忠親王多爾袞列傳 Enlargement  Figure 16
"Biography of Prince Regent Dorgon"
Historiography Institute edition, Ch'ing Dynasty
40.5 x 24 cm (H x W)


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