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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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Title(Xue Wenqing gong) Congzheng mingyan 薛文清公從政名言 [Xue Xuan’s Famous Sayings on Government Service]
Topic4.1 Magistrates handbooks: General
Historical periodEarly Ming (1368 -1584)
AuthorXue Xuan 薛瑄
CollectionGuanzhen shu jicheng 官箴書集成
Number of volume1
Publication typeWoodblock

A selection of Xue Xuan’s aphorisms on government that is larger than Congzheng lu (see previous entry) but similar in form and content, featuring 291 entries, about 50 of which are also found in the other work. (Xue’s biography in DMB mistakenly claims the two works are the same.) The partition in three juan in some editions does not affect the contents. The 1570 ed. has only 216 entries. The Japanese eds. feature some variants from the Chinese text, including cutting some entries into two. Though a systematic textual comparison of all eds. remains to be done, the differences in substance seem negligible. Hu Zuanzong’s pref., signed as Henan right provincial administration commissioner (右布政使), suggests that he compiled and published Xue’s sayings on government from his collected works (which he calls the Xue Jingxuan ji 薛敬軒集) to make them available to people concerned with good governance. (He had similarly compiled a Dushu lu 讀書錄 [A Record of Things Read] based on Xue’s dicta on books and learning, in other words, the xue 學 as opposed to the zheng 政.) Hu strongly insists on the impeccable pedigree of Xue’s ideas, which go back to Confucius (via the Cheng brothers and Zhu Xi) and the Duke of Zhou (via the Shiji). He compares Xue’s dicta to the classic Song handbooks, Lü Benzhong’s Guanzhen and Hu Taichu’s Zhoulian xulun (qq.v.), claiming that Xue’s approach is even more useful for everyday government: the work is the “right prescription for today’s officials” (固今時居官者之藥石也).

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