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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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TitleXiyuan lu xiangyi 洗冤錄詳義 [Explanation of the Meaning of Washing Away the Wrongs]
Topic4.2 Magistrates handbooks: Handbooks for legal experts
Historical periodLate Qing (1797-1911)
AuthorXu Lian 許槤 (comp.)
Publication typeWoodblock
CommentRem.: According to Xu Lian’s preface (written in Suzhou), “The Xiyuan lu is to forensics what the Code is to judicial sentences”; he stresses that, whereas a faulty judicial sentence can be corrected during the review and appellate processes, an autopsy is made once and for all since the decomposition of the corpse prevents a later examination; he also insists that scholars selected to become magistrates on their proficiency in baguwen are easy preys to the coroners’ false reports, either because of their lack of experience or because they stay away from the filthiness of corpse examination. The aim of this new Xiyuan lu ed. was to establish a critical edition of a text long corrupted by transmission and emendation. All the versions and relevant texts available to the author have been repeatedly consulted. The layout of the printed page is on three levels: the bottom register (ceng 層) gives the original Xiyuan lu text in the late-seventeenth century version of the Board (see [Lüliguan jiaozheng] Xiyuan lu), with punctuation; the middle register is the xiangyi proper, adducing author’s comments, discussions, quotes from some 30 other works (including the original Xiyuan jilu), from provincial and national precedents and from commentaries to the Code, and so on; the upper margin provides rubric headings to help the reader find his way in the main text (these headings are listed in the lengthy table of contents). Following Yao Deyu, the compiler of the Xiyuan lu jie (q.v.), Xu Lian criticized the officially sanctioned figures of the corpse and of the skeleton, and proposed his own versions. To the Chinese-style plates representing the skeleton he added a set of “actualized” plates (xianni 現抳) of the skeleton and bones, which may have been taken from Western representations, even though the author claims they were drawn by artists who attended autopsies with him. This part of Xu’s research was published separately in 1886, with comments (see Jiangu buyi kaozheng). [n.p.]
Ed.: 1883 new engraving of the Guizhou provincial judge office (with Zhiyi and Zhiyi bu, in a set also including the Jianyan hecan and Jianyan jizheng [qq.vv.]), with the Siku summary on the Xiyuan lu and prefaces by Song Ci (1247) and Xu Lian (1854). [*Beitu fenguan] [*Columbia] (phtc. préfaces et mulu, zhiyi, biao)
Call Numberoki B3890800
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