For recent information about late imperial archives in China, see:
These give biographic information, and often quote the subject's written works (esp. memorials)
(see also civil and military examination bibliographies)
a. Provincial regulations:
b. Board regulations [Such-and-such a board's ze li 則 例]
c. Salt Monopoly:
d. Administrative punishments statutes [chu fen ze li 處 分 則 例]
Manchu sources are most useful for: Early Qing period (and late Ming); affairs concerning Manchus, Mongols, & problems of the north and northwest frontier for the 17th and 18th centuries.
Gazetteers also exist for Sung, Yuan, Ming and Republican periods. See Chin En-hui and Hu Shu-chao, eds., Zhongguo di fang zhi zong mu ti yao 中 國 地 方 志 綜 目 提 要 (General digest of Chinese gazetteers). 3 vols (Taipei: Han-mei t'u-shu yu-hsien kung-ssu, 1996), which lists 8577 gazetteers geographically, with information on authorship, dating and contents.
Other good works:
To locate gazetteers:
In order to use archival material in published or unpublished form, it is necessary to understand the system that produced these documents. The basic ingredients of this system are: edicts (by the emperor) & memorials (from officials).
The most important change in this system occurred between 1700 and 1750 when the Grand Council [Jun ji chu軍 機 處] replaced the Grand Secretariat as the highest decision making body below the emperor, and when secret memorials to the emperor gradually reduced further the role of the Grand Secretariat. Grand Secretariat materials in Taiwan are housed at Academia Sinica. Many have been cataloged, some are published, and available to scholars. Grand Council materials in Taiwan are at the National Palace Museum. They are being cataloged, published, and are open to foreign scholars. The Palace Museum in Taiwan has recently expanded its archive building for Qing documents, and the Ming-Qing Archives at Academia Sinica, Taiwan, founded by Chang Wejen, has issued many important collections. For the Academia Sinica, Taiwan, collection, see:
A great deal of central government records survive in China. There is a Ming-Qing Archives Office at the western part [Xi hua men 西 華 門] of the National Palace Museum in Peking, and articles have appeared based on Grand Council type documents. For introduction to the materials there and elsewhere, see: