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Unless otherwise specified, the descriptions of sources in this section are extracted from Pierre-Etienne Will and collaborators,Official Handbooks and Anthologies of Imperial China: A Descriptive and Critical Bibliography (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming).
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TitleDa Qing lüli jizhu 大清律輯註[Code of the Great Qing with compiled annotations]
Topic1. Code and commentaries
Historical periodEarly Qing (1644-1796)
AuthorSHEN Zhiqi 沈之奇
Publication typePrint

The most authoritative and influential code commentary of the early Qing, which became obsolete after the publication of the Da Qing lüli in 1740, but remained in unofficial usance however.


This influential work due to a muyou specialist is also known as Da Qing lü jijie fuli (q.v.); indeed, while the cover-leaf and the central margins have Da Qing lü jizhu, the title at the chapter heads is Da Qing lü jijie fuli. Shen’s work was acknowledged as a major influence, together with Wang Kentang’s jianshi (q.v.), on the general commentary to the Code officially adopted in 1725; later, Shen’s 1715 commentary “with slight revisions appeared in almost every private code published in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries” (Ch’en Fu-mei). In his fanli (reproduced as an “original preface” in many later editions of the Code with commentaries) Shen claims that the many reprint editions (翻刻) of the Penal Code keep transmitting “innumerable” errors from each other; he has corrected these errors basing himself on the original official imprint, but even the latter contains engraving errors (刊刻之誤), which he has not dared to change. As in most works of the same sort published since the Ming (see the entries above), the front matter includes a table listing the statutes of the penal code (436 in the 1746 and 1755 eds.), followed by tables of the “five punishments”, instruments of torture, degrees of mourning, “eight characters”, “six spoils”, tariffs of monetary redemption of punishments, and compensations for wrongly inflicted punishments; the tables are accompanied by sometimes lengthy explanatory texts. The main text is split into two horizontal registers. The lower (and main) register quotes the text of the statutes, followed by a commentary in small characters providing a clear and detailed explanation of its sense, and of the relevant substatutes. The upper register features such contents as explanations of words and terms in the materials quoted in the lower register, historical data on the same materials, further explanations complementing the commentary quoted in the lower register, quotations from earlier commentators, which the author occasionally discusses, or theoretical considerations on the law and its application. In his fanli Shen cites a number of Ming works belonging to the same genre, namely the Guanjian 管見, [Dulü] suoyan, Xingshu juhui, [Da Ming lü] dufa, [Lüli] xuzhi, [Lüjie] bianyi, [Lütiao] shuyi, Fajia pouji, Lüjie [fuli], and [Da Ming lü fuli] jianshi (all qq.vv. except the first). He says that despite their qualities they are not without defects, and that in his commentary about half is borrowed from these authors and about half are his own “humble views” (bijian 鄙見). The revision published in 1746 by Hong Hongxu 洪弘緒 (Z. Gaoshan 皋山, a legal secretary hailing from Hangzhou) aimed at updating Shen Zhiqi’s work taking account of the new versions of the Qing Code published in 1725 and especially 1740 (Shen had been using the 1646 version with 447 substatutes as against 1,049 in the Qianlong revision, not counting relatively minor changes in the body of statutes); it also introduced some references to leading cases, basing himself on his own compilation of cases, the Cheng’an zhiyi (q.v.). For the 1755 new ed. of his 1746 publication, Hong added a few entries taking account of the minor revisions of the Qianlong Code published in 1743, 1746 and 1750; the order of the tables at the beginning is also slightly different (the six spoils, tariffs of redemption, and compensations for wrongs are placed before the rest, with separate page-numbering; the table for the eight characters is bound just before j. 1, at the beginning of the second fascicle). (phtg. préf. etc. éd. 1755).

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