Ming Shilu

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Not to be confused with the History of Ming, also known as the Mingshi.

The Ming Shilu (traditional Chinese: 明實錄; simplified Chinese: 明实录; literally: "Veritable Records of the Ming") contains the imperial annals of the Ming emperors (1368–1644). It is the single largest historical source for the dynasty. According to modern historians, it "plays an extremely important role in the historical reconstruction of Ming society and politics." [1] After the fall of the Ming Dynasty, the Ming Shilu was used as a primary source for the compilation of the Mingshi (History of Ming).[2]

The section (shilu) for each emperor was composed after the emperor's death by a History Office appointed by the Grand Secretariat using different types of historical sources such as:

  1. "The Qiju zhu (起居注 qǐjūzhù), or 'Diaries of Activity and Repose'. These were daily records of the actions and words of the Emperor in court."[3]
  2. "The 'Daily Records' (日曆 rìlì). These records, established precisely as a source for the compilation of the shilu, were compiled by a committee on the basis of the diaries and other written sources."[3]
  3. Other sources such as materials collected from provincial centres and "culled from other official sources such as memorials, ministerial papers and the Metropolitan Gazette."[3]
Record Reign era
Taizu Shilu (太祖實錄) Hongwu,[2] 1st Ming Emperor
Taizong Shilu (太宗實錄) Yongle[2] *, 3rd Ming Emperor
Renzong Shilu (仁宗實錄) Hongxi,[2] 4th Ming Emperor
Xuanzong Shilu (宣宗實錄) Xuande,[2] 5th Ming Emperor
Yingzong Shilu (英宗實錄) Zhengtong/Tianshun,[2] 6th (& 8th) Ming Emperor
Xianzong Shilu (憲宗實錄) Chenghua,[2] 8/9th Ming Emperor
Xiaozong Shilu (孝宗實錄) Hongzhi,[2] 9/10th Ming Emperor
Wuzong Shilu (武宗實錄) Zhengde,[2] 10/11th Ming Emperor
Shizong Shilu (世宗實錄) Jiajing,[2] 11/12th Ming Emperor
Muzong Shilu (穆宗實錄) Longqing,[2] 12/13th Ming Emperor
Shenzong Shilu (神宗實錄) Wanli,[2] 13/14th Ming Emperor
Guangzong Shilu (光宗實錄) Taichang,[2] 14/15th Ming Emperor
Xizong Shilu (熹宗實錄) Tianqi,[2] 15/16th Ming Emperor
... et al.

* The short period of the Jianwen reign is included in the Taizong Shilu about the Yongle reign.[2]


  1. ^ Wade, 2005b, 3.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Dreyer 2007, 217–218.
  3. ^ a b c Wade, 2005b, 4.