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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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TitleLinmin baojing 臨民寶鏡[The Precious Mirror of those who Govern the People]
Topic1. Code and commentaries
Historical periodLate Ming (1585-1644)
AuthorSu Maoxiang 蘇茂相(comp.)
Publication typeWoodblock
CommentRem.: Su Maoxiang was a president of the Board of Punishments, and Pan Shiliang (the author of the preface, also given as a collator of the text) a chief minister of the Court of judicial review (Dali si 大理寺). The prefaces insist on the importance of law and its good application to ensure good governance and the moral improvement of the people. This large-scale encyclopedic guide for local officials may have been intended as a competitor to compilations like the Guanchang zhengyao or the Shitu xuanjing (qq.vv.). One might consider it a “mirror” in that practical instructions and models in handbook style are loosely matched with the corresponding articles of the Penal Code. From j. shou 3 this materializes in the setting of the page, where the upper register (a little less than one third of the page) contains all sorts of materials, mainly on local government, while the lower register is devoted to the Code (the last two end-chapters are devoted to the Xiyuan lu and related texts); the same layout is found in the 31-page long table of contents. J. shou 1-2 are devoted to generalities on the administration and regulations, with numerous models for documents, communications, etc.; the first text cited is an essay on various judicial problems entitled Weizheng guimo lun 為政規模論, found under the title Weizheng guimo jieyao 節要 lun in several similar late-Ming editions of the Code with added materials. J. shou 3 enumerates the statutes and related materials of the mingli part of the Code; as in the ten juan that follow, which deal with the six other parts of the Code (namely, li 吏 [j. 1], hu 戶 [j. 2-3], li 禮 [j. 4], bing 兵 [j. 4-5], xing 刑 [j. 6-10], gong 工 [j. 10]), the statutes and related decrees and substatutes introduced in the lower part of the page are augmented with both commentaries and examples of accusations, investigations (shenyu 審語), discussions (yiyu 議語), decisions (duanyu 斷語), judgments (panyu 判語), proclamations (gaoshi 告示), and more. In j. shou 3 the upper register is devoted to a set of instructions entitled Xinguan daoren yaolan 新官到任要覽, equivalent to the opening section of a standard magistrate handbook; in j. 1-4 it contains a variety of proclamations, communications and directives, directed at both officials and the populace; in j. 5-9 it mostly contains model judgments in “free style” (santi) collected under the general title Xinqi santi wenfa shenyu 新奇散體文法審語 (starting about the middle of j. 5); in j. 10 it is made up of hypothetical cases (introduced by jiaru 假如) under the general title Xinni zhaoyi tishi 新擬招議體式. In fact the contents of the two registers rarely reflect each other exactly: as with other handbooks using this sort of format, the impression is, rather, of two texts running independently from each other even though they deal with the same general contents. In the copy at Beitu the three end chapters (末卷) feature the Xunfang zongyue (q.v.), the Wuyuan lu and Pingyuan lu (qq.vv.), and the Xiyuan lu (q.v.), respectively; the Xunfang zongyue also features in other copies, and the last two juan are likewise devoted to materials on forensic examinations. The practical utility of this extremely rich but somewhat confusing work is stressed on the cover-leaf of the Wang Zhenhua fragmentary copy at Ōki, which enumerates on the left-hand part of the page 28 types of communications, statements (judgments, etc.) or documents illustrated in the book. As Pan’s preface says, “Reading through [the book] [everything] becomes immediately clear: it is like facing a mirror and seeing oneself” 一開閱自明,如對鏡自見. The popularity of the work in the first years of the Qing is apparent in all the editions with the characters “Da Ming” scraped, as enumerated above, and is confirmed by Liu Banghan, the compiler of the Zhengxing daguan (q.v.) in 1662, according to whom the Linmin baojing used to be considered as the best of all the “books on administrative discipline” in existence (吏治之書向以臨民寶鏡稱最). [Phtc. préfaces et table].

Ed.: - *Undated Shulin Wang Zhenhua ed. (書林王振華梓行) originally entitled Xinke Da Ming lüli linmin baojing at the beginning of the chapters, with prefaces by Pan Shiliang 潘士良 (1632) and Qing Bai Li 清白吏 (1632); title on cover-leaf Linmin baojing; the characters 大明 or 明 in the title have been scraped, suggesting an early Qing printout of the late Ming blocks; bookseller/printer at the beginning of the chapters is Zhang Zhongfu 張鍾福. [Naikaku, *photo-reproduction at Chicago, Jimbun, Princeton]
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