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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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TitleMujian 牧鑑 [A Mirror for Shepherding]
Topic4.1 Magistrates handbooks: General
Historical periodEarly Ming (1368 -1584)
AuthorYang Yu 楊昱
CollectionGuanzhen shu jicheng 官箴書集成
Number of volume1
Publication typeWoodblock
CommentRem.: The work is composed of four parts, respectively entitled zhiben 治本, zhiti 治體, yingshi 應事 (this is the longest part), and jieren 接人, comprising a total of 35 sections (mu 目) and 728 entries (tiao 條) altogether; Li Zhongzhuan’s preface compares its intention (yi 意) to that of Zhen Dexiu’s Zhengjing (q.v.), and its structure (ti 體) to that of Zhu Xi’s Xiaoxue. The short entries consist of discussions, admonitions, and anecdotes on past officials culled from the classics, histories and philosophers. In his own preface the author compares his compilation to the mirrors into which people look to improve their appearance: in this case the mirror is the ancients and what needs to be improved is government. Every aspect of a local official’s career, behavior, and functions is covered. The author was a retired official from Tingzhou 汀州 (Fujian) when Li Zhongzhuan was appointed there as assistant prefect. Li states that, had he known the work earlier, he would not have printed his own, similar compilation, the Xunliang huibian 循良彙編 (q.v.). He insisted that Yang’s com­pilation, which had stayed unpublished for 20 years, be collated and published, so that present-day officials who wished to benefit from the influence of the good officials of ancient times might have a “true mirror” (zhenjian 真鑑). (In his preface the author modestly claimed that he was keeping the text for his own use in the case of a new appointment.)
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