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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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TitleHuanxiang yaoze 宦鄉要則[Important Items for Officials In Post and At Home]
Topic4.1 Magistrates handbooks: General
Historical periodLate Qing (1797-1911)
AuthorZhang Jianying 張鑒瀛
CollectionGuanzhen shu jicheng 官箴書集成
Number of volume9
Publication typeWoodblock
CommentRem.: A practical and extremely concrete handbook centered on the formal aspects of the life of administrators—both in service (huan 宦) and retired (xiang 鄉)—with a wealth of detail on the formats, procedures, and terminology applying to the different types of documents and correspondence, both public and private, and a strong emphasis on etiquette. It is probably the most thorough introduction in existence to every kind of paperwork involved in an official’s life. J. 1 is devoted to formal correspondence related to the judicial, fiscal, ritual, and administrative functions of officials, providing sample formats and descriptions of the most commonly written and received documents, such as memorials, communications between civilian and military officials of every rank, reports to superiors, proclamations, judgments, and the like, explaining every step of the procedure as well as the terminology in use and such formal constraints as page-setting, taboos to respect, words to use, and so on. Some texts from other authors (e.g. Huang Liuhong) are quoted along the way. J. 2 deals with the various steps from selection at the capital to assuming one’s post, transferring accounts (jiaopan 交盤), dealing with clerks and with the administrative bureaus (fang 房, for which there is a long list of abuses to discourage), and so on, as in standard magistrate handbooks; there is a strong emphasis on documents and forms as well as on the social aspects of official life, such as the etiquette and rituals governing intercourse between officials of equal or different rank and the numerous forms of correspondence involved, all described with the utmost detail. J. 3 starts with a long list of errors to avoid in writing correspondences (bian’e 辨訛), then discusses the style of various notifications between officials (tongzha shi 通札式) ; this is followed by a large quantity of examples of epistolary addresses to be used in every conceivable kind of circumstances (ge xin qishou shi 各信起首式), by instructions on how to write calling cards (guanxian shouben shi 官銜手本式), CVs (lüli shouben shi 履歷手本式), cards on twin red sheets (shuanghong bingshi 雙紅稟式), or one red and one white (hongbai bing 紅白稟), enclosures (jiadan bingshi 夾單稟式), and more, also in all sorts of circumstances (the variety is staggering). J. 4 is devoted to correspondences between officials written on the occasion of marriages, birthdays, and other ceremonies, including lists of gifts, thank-you notes, as well as models for invitations (qingtie shi 請帖式) or parting (citie shi 辭帖式) notes. J. 5 focuses on the documents related to funerals and mourning; tables of degrees of mourning are provided at the end. J. 6 is devoted to the terms of address (chenghu 稱呼) to use in writing toward relatives, both male and female, in every conceivable combination, including relatives by marriage; the last section deals with terms of address to use towards masters, friends, classmates, and there is an appendix on terms to use by women. J. 7 features a variety of materials, such as a list of all the official titles (including honorary titles for officials’parents) arranged by descending order of rank (pinji 品級), first civilian and then military; the regulations on conferring honorary ranks to the officials’ ascendants; honorary ranks conferred to elderly people (from age 70 to age 120 and over); alternative appellations for official titles in the capital and in the provinces; schools and examinations; and regulations on avoidance and on mourning. In his short introduction (bianyan 弁言) the author claims that his aim has been to provide access to a type of knowledge that private secretaries like to “copy secretely” (michao 秘鈔) in order to enhance its value. The fanli insists that the book’s contents are much fuller than those of the Huanxiang yingchou beilan 宦鄉瀛酬備覽 (q.v.), which was published a few years earlier: the term yingchou well emphasizes the importance of social intercourse in the work’s approach to official life. In the Zhenyi shuju, 1892 and 1905 eds. the introductory statement and fanli are preceded by a short but extremely precise juan shou, entitled Zengbu 增補 huanxiang yaoze (introduced in the 1886 Huanxiang laoren preface to the 1905 ed.), devoted to how to present official documents and correspondence and to the alternative appellations for official posts and their incumbents. For an update published at the very end of the Qing see Huanxiang xin yaoze. [Tables et extraits phtcp. et phtgr.; n.p.].
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