Image :  Harmony and Integrity :  The Yongzheng Emperor and His Times 國立故宮博物院 National Palace Museum (New window)
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Selection: The Life and Times of the Yongzheng Emperor
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Title: Art and Culture in the Yongzheng Era
  Imperial Imprints  
The most famous among the enterprises of imperial publishing from the Yongzheng reign is Completed Collection of Graphs and Writings of Ancient and Modern Times. Its entire set of books is composed of 10,000 fascicles (chapters), with the table of contents alone taking up forty. Containing about 170 million characters, this collectanea is divided into six collections loosely defined as astronomy, geography, people, things, philosophy, and economics. Each features a certain number of books and is accompanied by diagrammatic explanation, preserving vast amounts of knowledge amassed in many books and records in China over the ages, which is why it may be called the greatest encyclopedic collection of its day. And to demonstrate the orthodox status of Manchu authority to rule China, and to establish the Qing dynasty as the legitimate successor of Chinese culture, the draft version of History of the Ming, which had been compiled and edited since the Shunzhi and Kangxi eras, was finally completed in the last years of Yongzheng's reign. The most voluminous and complete of the official histories in China, it is also the one which took the longest amount of time to finish. Furthermore, to reinforce imperial authority as well as edify and promulgate, the Yongzheng Emperor personally edited commentaries on the virtues and merits of rulers in Chinese history, memorials to the throne by renowned officials, words of the ancient sages, and his own vermilion-rescript edicts. His Established Statutes In Effect and Vermilion-Rescript Edicts serve as models for how a ruler administers the country. Yongzheng's distribution of Discourse on Cliques narrates how officials should follow the principles of loyalty and righteousness in relation to a benevolent ruler. General Comments on the Sacred Edicts (of Kangxi) was also intended to instill others with the Confucian values of the "three guidances" (ruler, father, husband) and "five virtues" (benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, faithfulness) to bring peace and stability to society. By thus maintaining social order, the country and its government would theoretically remain stable.
 

Continuity in Culture
The Yongzheng era saw the completion of the editing and printing of Completed Collection of Graphs and Writings of Ancient and Modern Times as well as the official history of the previous Ming dynasty, revealing its epochal significance in the fulfillment of projects started in the past while creating a model for the future. The former project preserves many texts from the ages, thereby passing on Chinese learning, culture, and thought to future generations. The latter serves as a model for the production of an official history and also proclaims the orthodoxy of Manchu rule in China.

Completed Collection of Graphs and Writings of Ancient and Modern Times (New window) History of the Ming (New window)
Completed Collection of Graphs and Writings of Ancient and Modern Times

Jiang Tingxi (1669-1732) et al., Qing dynasty

Imprint of 1726 in moveable type, Yongzheng reign, Imperial Printing Office
 
History of the Ming

Zhang Tingyu (1672-1755) et al., Qing dynasty

Draft imprint, Yongzheng reign (1723-1735), Imperial Printing Office
 
 

Edification and Promulgation
The Yongzheng Emperor used many imperial imprints to vigorously promote the legitimacy of his own rule and the sagaciousness of imperial authority. Many of these publications also promulgate the principles of traditional Confucian relations, which Yongzheng employed to reinforce his rule while establishing his own lofty image as a sagacious ruler and edifying his officials and the people.

Imperially Produced Discourse on Cliques (New window) General Comments on the Sacred Edicts (of Kangxi) (New window)
Imperially Produced Discourse on Cliques

Emperor Shizong (Yongzheng, 1678-1735), Qing dynasty

Imprint of 1725, Yongzheng reign, Imperial Printing Office
 
General Comments on the Sacred Edicts (of Kangxi)

Emperor Shizong (Yongzheng, 1678-1735), Qing dynasty

Imprint of 1724, Yongzheng reign, bilingual Chinese and Manchu edition
     
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