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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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TitleXiangxing gujian 祥刑古鑑, 2 j. [The Ancient Mirror of Auspicious Punishments]
Topic1. Code and commentaries
AuthorSong Banghui 宋邦僡 (Z. Huiren 惠人)
Publication typeWoodblock

A treatise on moderation in applying punishments, set in sixteen rubrics, namely: (j. 1) “One must be careful when setting precedents” (修例宜慎); “One must be fair and lenient in handing down judgments” (定讞必平恕); “Investigating tirelessly in order to get the right facts” (耐煩聽察務得確情); “Warning against the excessive use of torture” (戒濫刑); “One cannot have a priori view when accepting a complaint” (受訴不可有成見); “Exactness is important when deciding on a case” (決獄貴有斷制); “Sincerely guiding in order to make the small folks repent” (至誠開導令愚民悔悟); “One must conclude cases quickly in order to avoid protracted complications” (案宜早結以免拖累); (j. 2) “Being strict on statuses” (嚴名分); “Being prudent in doubtful cases” (慎疑獄), “Warning against implicating [relatives]” (戒株連); “Redressing unjust judgments” (平反冤獄); “Preventing tampering with documents” (杜舞文); “Practicing the benevolence beyond the law” (體法外之仁); “Pitying prisoners” (恤囚); “Reading the Classics one can penetrate the meaning of the law” (蒙讀書可以通律意). Each rubric includes three sections preceded by a short introduction, viz. “instructions from the Classics” (jingxun 經訓), with occasional commentaries by “former Confucians”; “maxims” (geyan 格言) from previous emperors and officials, occasionally quoting from official handbooks; and “concrete examples” (shishi 事實) culled from historical and encyclopedic works (without indication of the source). The last two are arranged chronologically. Essays by such authors as Wang Huizu, Liu Heng, Yang Jingren or Yuqian are appended to some of the rubrics. Three texts are appended to the work: the Xingjie 刑戒 by Lü Kun, the Jianyan zonglun 檢驗總論 from the Xiyuan lu (q.v.), and a short prescription to cure wounds by blades entitled Shenmiao jinchuang yaofang 神妙金瘡藥方. The author spent years as an official in the ministry of Justice. He explains in the fanli that he borrowed much materials from Jiang Yi’s Chenjian lu and Yang Jingren’s Jingshi bian (qq.vv.), whose format he has indeed followed in this work.

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