Yongle bie lu [Separate Records of the Yongle Reign].

61; 49 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. wrappers, orig. stitching. [Shenyang]: Liao hai shu she, Preface dated 1908.


WU, Tingxie. Xuande bie lu [Separate Records of the Xuande Reign]. 67; 69 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. wrappers, orig. stitching. [Shenyang]: Liao hai shu she, Preface dated 1917.

First editions. Wu (1865-1947), a late Qing, early Republican government official, was one of the most indefatigable compilers of chronological tables of office holders. The son of a Qing official, Wu himself served as an official both under the Qing and in several of the regimes that controlled China in the early Republican period. He participated in some of the great scholarly projects of the republic, including the historiography commission that produced the Draft History of the Qing [Qingshi gao] in 1927 and in the writing of bibliographical précis for a projected continuation of the Complete Writings of the Four Repositories [Siku quanshu], the Qianlong emperor’s great manuscript library assembled in the 1770s. Before the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, Wu taught in Shenyang and worked there on several editorial projects.

The books Yongle bielu and Xuande bielu are excerpts from the Ming-dynasty court chronicle (the so-called Veritable Records) for Emperors Yongle (r. 1402-24) and Xuande (r. 1425-35). The books were published as appendices of the collectanea Liaohai congshu [Collected Writings of the Northeast]. This series of historical sources was published in Japanese-occupied Shenyang by Jin Yufu (1887-1962). Regional history was on many intellectuals’ minds in this period, when China was politically fragmented and, in some parts, under foreign threat and aggression. Wu and Jin appear to have known each other during the time when they overlapped in Shenyang. Jin wrote, in an obituary after Wu’s death in 1947, that he once sought out Wu for advice on the historian’s craft (yu chang qingye menxia). This relationship is perhaps the reason Jin included Wu’s books as appendices to his series.

Fine set, preserved in a hantao. Our description is very largely dependent on the researches of Prof. Marten Soderblom Saarela of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.

❧ Guo Jun, “Liaohai congshu de chuban jiqi jiazhi” in Tushuguan xue yanjiu, 1986, No. 3, pp. 114-19.

Price: $1,350.00

Item ID: 7877

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