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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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TitleMuling yaojue 牧令要訣[Essential Secrets for Magistrates]
Topic4.1 Magistrates handbooks: General
Historical periodLate Qing (1797-1911)
AuthorBichang 璧昌
CollectionGuanzhen shu jicheng 官箴書集成
Number of volume7
Publication typeWoodblock
CommentRem.: A short (24 pages) elementary handbook for beginning magistrates, based on the author’s own experience of this situation. There is no mulu and the entries have no title; they succeed one another without apparent order or logic. Yet the text contains much valuable and detailed information of a practical and extremely concrete nature. It discusses the most basic topics, such as population registers (menhu ce 門戶冊), rules for the tribunal (tanggui 堂規), levying taxes, dealing with judicial cases, river conservancy, famine relief (with a plate representing a gruel distribution center), arresting bandits, and local defense. In his preface to Huang Fuchen’s Dai Zhili zongdu quanyu muling wen (q.v.), a text written in his name and inspired by Bichang’s treatise, Bichang’s son Hengfu 恒福 says that he printed and distributed the latter wherever he was posted.
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