The Veritable Records of the T'ien-ch'i Emperor
Item No. : 187320
Veritable Records of the Ming Dynasty is an official chronological history of imperial courts during the Ming dynasty. In ancient times, historians would serve next to the emperor, “the left historian recording words, the right historian recording matters,” thereby taking down every word and action of the emperor. Later courts would then compile them into a veritable, or actual, record of events in their reign. These matters would be organized and combined with official memorials, instructions, and precedents collected by officials in various departments as supplementary materials, creating an annual chronological record of major events under each emperor. For this reason, such veritable records are a valuable source of historical information. To compile the official History of the Ming, the early Qing dynasty court had all of the veritable records moved to its Ming Historiography Institute. After History of the Ming had been compiled, all the Veritable Records of the Ming Dynasty were deliberately destroyed by fire in the 48th year of the Qianlong emperor’s reign, corresponding to 1783. In 1929, the Institute of History and Philology was able to purchase 8,000 sacks of archives from the storerooms of the Grand Secretariat, much to the joy of the academic world. As the IHP was organizing this batch of archives, fragmentary chapters of the original Veritable Records of the Tianqi Emperor were discovered. As a rare manuscript copy from the inner court of the Ming dynasty, they are not only rare but also extremely precious.