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Unless otherwise specified, the descriptions of sources in this section are extracted from Pierre-Etienne Will and collaborators, Handbooks and Anthologies for Officials in Imperial China: A Descriptive and Critical Bibliography, 2 vols., Leiden: Brill, 2020
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TitleMinggong shupan qingming ji 名公書判清明集 [A Collection of Enlightened Judgments by Famous Officials]
Topic2.3 Judicial cases: historical casebooks
Historical periodAntique and Medieval period
Reprint (year of)2005
CollectionLidai panli pandu 歷代判例判牘
Number of volume2
Place of publication北京
Publication typePrint

An anthology of judicial decisions composed by “famous judges,” a majority of them from Jianzhou 建州 (present-day Fujian). The 1261 pref. has been attributed by certain scholars (see below, Chen Zhichao) to Zhan Yanfu 詹琰夫, a literatus from Fujian who authored a Daoist work in 1216; he might possibly also be the compiler of the work. The period covered is more or less the first half of the thirteenth century. The 1569 pref. explicitly states that this is a handbook for officials. The original Song work seems to have been compiled for the market from materials easily available in the Jianzhou prefectural archives. The two versions are actually quite different: (1) the Song ed. with 1261 pref. contains only 117 cases, all of them belonging to the “family and marriage” section (戶婚門), arranged into 22 subcategories, with an introductory list of 28 different authors (among them Zhen Dexiu and Song Ci, the authors of Zhengjing and Xiyuan jilu [qq.v.]), of whom only 13 are represented in the extant text. (2) The Ming ed. with 1569 pref. contains 473 decisions; the huhun section covers j. 4-9, with a somewhat different arrangement of subcategories and more authors; the rest of the 14 j. are devoted to sections (each with subcategories) concerning “officials” (官吏, 1-2), “taxes and services” (賦役, 3, also including “academic affairs,” 文事), “human relationships” (人倫, 10), “categories of persons” (人品, 11), and “punishing crimes” (懲惡, 12-14). Each case has a caption describing its content, followed by the name of the judge. Zhang Siwei says in his pref. that he had the text copied from two different sections of Yongle dadian (under the characters qing 清 and pan 判, respectively); it was then edited and published by his disciple Sheng Yiren. According to He Zhongli (see below), the treatment of corruption cases illustrates the attitude of elites towards the political and institutional crisis of the time. De Pee (see below) considers that the work was to serve primarily as a collection of writing models, even though by that time the verdict (shupan) was no longer a required genre in examinations; along with Birge (see below), he emphasizes the strongly Neo-confucian orientation betrayed in the work’s treatment of social and familial matters. Ōzawa et al. (see below) stress that the contents of the cases demonstrate the wide resort to courts by all strata of the population. Both Niida Noboru and Shiga Shūzō (see below) have studied family property and inheritance as illustrated in the huhun section of the work, the latter criticizing the notion of “common family property” (kazoku kyōsan 家族共產) introduced by the former. For Lau Nap-yin (see below), Qingming ji is a synthesis of two genres that flourished in the Song, the compilation of model cases and the administrative handbook; indeed, a quantity of entries deal with purely administrative matters, beginning with Zhen Dexiu’s instructions to his subordinates (of 1222 and 1232; see under Xishan zhengxun) that open the work: “...the Qingming ji is not merely a casebook but also a guidebook for legal governance, i.e., rule by the law.”

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