History of Jin

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Not to be confused with Book of Jin.


The History of Jin, or Jin Shi (Chinese: 金史; pinyin: Jin Shi) is a Chinese historical text, one of the Twenty Four Histories, which details the history of the Jin Dynasty founded by the Jurchens in northern China. It was compiled by the Yuan Dynasty historian and minister Toqto'a.

History of Compilation[edit]

Although the Jin dynasty was destroyed by the Mongols in 1234, the initiative for writing a dynastic history - in accordance with Chinese political traditions - was only begun under Kublai Khan, who had decided to embrace Chinese political norms and found the Yuan Dynasty. In 1261 the idea of compiling histories for both the Jin and Liao Dynasties was first mooted, and after the conquest of Southern Song, the project was expanded to compile all three histories.

Issues with the format and rules of compilation, however, hampered progress, and it was only in 1343 that the imperial commission was finalised, with Toqto'a as the overseer, and a team of six, including the scholar Ouyang Xuan, as chief compilers. The work was completed in just over a year.

For its material, the History of Jin drew heavily on the historical records of the Jin Dynasty itself, while the events of its final years drew heavily on the private works and records of scholars such as Yuan Haowen, Liu Qi, Yang Huan and others.

Layout[edit]

The History of Jin contains a total of 135 scrolls, or chapters, divided as follows:

  • 19 Imperial biographies (本紀), detailing the lives of Jin emperors
  • 39 Treatises (志), detailing facts of economic and social history during the period
  • 4 Chronological tables (表)
  • 71 Biographies (列傳), detailing lives of important people during the period