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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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TitleJiang gong zhengxun 蔣公政訓 [Master Jiang’s Teachings on Government]
Topic4.1 Magistrates handbooks: General
Historical periodEarly Ming (1368 -1584)
AuthorJiang Tingbi 蔣廷璧
CollectionGuanzhen shu jicheng 官箴書集成
Number of volume2
Publication typeWoodblock

According to Jiang Zonglu’s note, the work originated in recommendations that an anxious Jiang Tingbi sent him while he had just come of age and had been appointed magistrate of Junxian 濬縣 (Henan). Zonglu, who claims it was an invaluable guide during his own career, allowed colleagues to make manuscript copies. Jiang Tingbi did not want to have the text in print, but in 1559, after his death, Zonglu edited it, dividing the recommendations into separate items, with a view to “printing it for transmission in the family” (刻為家傳), so that his sons and grandsons would know the origin of his own successful career (庶蔣氏子孫知魯成立之所自); his note must be from this year since he signed as Henan surveillance commissioner, a post he occupied only in 1559. In 1560 he was able to prevail upon Grand Secretary Xu Jie (1503-83) to write a preface. It is indicated at the beginning that the text was organized (類編) by Tan Bingqing 譚秉清 and seven others, who were Jiang Tingbi’s disciples at the Nanjing National University (南雍門人), and collated (校正) by a Junxian subordinate official (治生) named Wang Huang 王璜. The 73 entries are organized into five parts, corresponding to the standard magistrate handbook format. The first, “Caution at the beginning” (謹始), deals with the attitude to maintain and the measures to take on arrival in office. The second, “Rule oneself” (治己), focuses on the private and public behavior of the magistrate. The third, “Dealing with people” (處人), discusses the magistrate’s behavior with his colleagues and the gentry. The fourth, “Controlling subordinates” (御下), focuses on yamen personnel. The fifth, “Substance of administration” (治體), the longest by far, discusses in some detail the technical aspects of government, including the organization of work at the yamen, maintenance of order, administration of justice, taxes and corvée, and more.

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