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." 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).
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:
- "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."
- "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."
- Other sources such as materials collected from provincial centres and "culled from other official sources such as memorials, ministerial papers and the Metropolitan Gazette."
|Taizu Shilu (太祖實錄)||Hongwu|
|Taizong Shilu (太宗實錄)||Yongle *|
|Renzong Shilu (仁宗實錄)||Hongxi|
|Xuanzong Shilu (宣宗實錄)||Xuande|
|... et al.|
* The short period of the Jianwen reign is included in the Taizong Shilu about the Yongle reign.
- Wade, 2005b, 3.
- Dreyer 2007, 217–218.
- Wade, 2005b, 4.
- Dreyer, Edward L. (2007). Zheng He: China and the Oceans in the Early Ming Dynasty, 1405–1433. New York. NY: Pearson Longman. ISBN 9780321084439.
- Wade, Geoff (2005b) "The Ming Shi-lu as a source for Southeast Asian History,", provides detailed and extensive background information on how the Ming Shi-lu was composed and the rhetoric that it uses.
- Wade, Geoff. tr. (2005) "Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource," Singapore: Asia Research Institute and the Singapore E-Press, National University of Singapore.