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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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Title(Yuzhi) Guanzhen 御製官箴 [Imperially Composed Admonitions to Officials]
Topic4.1 Magistrates handbooks: General
Historical periodEarly Ming (1368 -1584)
Authoremperor Xuanzong of the Ming (Zhu Zhanji 朱瞻基)
CollectionGuanzhen shu jicheng 官箴書集成
Number of volume1
Publication typeWoodblock

This short text can be considered a rarity, as help for those who want to cross the “sea of officialdom” is provided not by a “compass” (指南)—a set of methods, if not tricks—but by an “ark of compassion” wherein the Buddha saves living creatures. The text enumerates five principles that an official should follow in order to protect life, including what to serve at banquets and how to perform official sacrifices. The introduction recalls the good works of a certain prefect Yan Lu 顏魯. The final sentence is a sort of postscript: Zhang Shanlai 張山來 says that the worth and value of these principles is immeasurable.

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