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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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TitleJuguan guaguo lu 居官寡過錄 [How an Office Holder Earns Few Demerits]
Topic4.1 Magistrates handbooks: General
Historical periodEarly Qing (1644-1796)
AuthorPanjiao yeren 盤嶠野人
CollectionGuanzhen shu jicheng 官箴書集成
Number of volume5
Publication typeWoodblock

The title implies that the advice provided in the work makes it possible to be a good official (良吏), therefore to receive “few demerits” (寡過). To help readers achieve this goal, the text provides a wide range of information for new magistrates in the form of anecdotes, advice, and references to the lives and words of exemplary officials. The revised ed. has no mulu, but each entry is captioned by a title summarizing its content. The two eds. are differently organized. In the 1775 ed. (with mulu), the entries providing the usual advice to new magistrates all the way from appointment at the capital are spread over the 4 juan. They include considerations on how to deal with underlings, ordinary people, and literati; the places and people to visit and the related procedures and protocol; the documentation necessary when assuming office; and techniques for tax collection, punishment of misdemeanor, crime prevention and prosecution, suppression of banditry, and so forth. In j. 1-2 there is a mix of unsigned entries (presumably due to the author) and texts attributed to a number of authors from various periods (for some, official position, courtesy name, name, and place of origin are all indicated, but there is no date); j. 3-4 are entirely quotations from various authors—j. 3 on judicial matters (including several quotations from Li Yu, obviously culled from Zizhi xinshu [q.v.]), and j. 4 on fiscal and economic matters. In his short intro. to the 6-j. revised ed., Li Yuanchun notes that the structure of the book is not very satisfying (前後體例似不甚合); he reorganized it, and also added entries of his own (marked with the character bu 補, and in fact quite numerous) and removed some useless regulations; notes have also been added in the upper margin, some apparently updating the text. The unsigned paragraphs providing advice for new magistrates and on the various domains of local administration are all in j. 1-2; the section on judicial administration in j. 2 includes some quotations from other authors. J. 3-5 are entirely composed of administrative texts (proclamations, correspondences, reports, etc.) borrowed from a variety of authors, covering such topics as controlling clerks, accepting gifts, protecting the populace from harassment, extortion, pettifogging, managing natural disasters, promoting education, and prohibiting heterodox religions (j. 3); the production, transportation, and sale of salt, the grain tribute, land utilization, the collection of customary fees by officials, and the funding of public works projects (j. 4); and military issues (j. 5). J. 6 is entirely composed of judicial sentences (判, 判語, 讞語, etc.), mostly dealing with homicide, sexual crimes, and other serious forms of wrongdoing.

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