New text! An Imperial Guide

Eight Steps to Proper Servitude

Juul Eijk
31 March, 2020

Han i araha ambasai mujilen be targabure bithe / 人臣心儆錄  'An Admonition of the Intentions of Officials' (1655)

Mujilen serengge tumen baitai fulehe . sain ehe i tuqire ba kai .
'Intention, that is the cause of ten thousand events. It is where good and bad originate from!'

Under Shunzhi 'khan's auspices' (Han i araha), the earliest years of Daiqing rule over China proper saw the publication of  'An Admonition of the Intentions of Officials'. Printed in 1655, this work serves as an instruction manual for the proper behavior of all of the Khan's officials. In eight chapters, the Khan lays out how he expects his officials to behave, with clear descriptions of behavior deemed unacceptable and clear instructions on how to act in all sorts of situations. For example, when you notice your fellow officials pursue their own interests, rather than serve their Khan loyally (usually the advice is to loyally report their crimes). 

ejen amban , ama jui i adali . jui , ama de alaqi ojorakv somishvn akv . amban , ejen de hafumbuqi ojorakv gvnin akv . duibuleme tuwaqi , terei doro emu kai . 
‘The ruler and his servant are like father and son: there is no secret a son could not tell his father. There is no thought that the servant could not entrust to the ruler. If we compare these two, they are really one and the same principle.’

Despite the text’s early date, quotes like these that strongly reflect Confucian concepts permeate this text. Filial piety is a central theme, and toward the end, a number of Confucian philosophers and scholars are quoted. Its conspicuously Confucianist content demonstrates the Daiqing’s early mastery of Chinese concepts of rulership and the Manchu Khan filling the vacuum of Chinese rulership. No longer was he only Khan of Manchus and Mongols: “Emperor of China” had been added to his CV. 

Due to its clear and large font, the Admonition makes for an excellent exercise in Manchu transliteration for beginning students. When consulting dictionaries in order to read through this text, one will realize that despite its early date, a large number of crimes and deeds mentioned are in fact fixed expressions that have been recorded in the Liubuchengyu 六部成語. Therefore, this dictionary is highly recommended for this text and available through the family’s

Click here to read the text.

(Facimiles from Minzu university)

Juul Eijk (1996) is a prospective PhD candidate, doing research into Manchu-Tibetan relations and Qing historiography. He teaches Manchu and Mandarin at Leiden University, and is involved with as one of the project members.