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Diankao 滇考

Mar 1, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Diankao 滇考 "Research in the history of Yunnan" is a history of the province of Yunnan. The 2-juan long book was written by the Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) author Feng Su 馮甦 (1628-1692), courtesy name Zailai 再来, style Gao'an 蒿庵. He hailed from Linhai 臨海, Zhejiang, and was a provincial judge (tuiguan 推官) in Yongchang 永昌, Yunnan, and later rose to the offices of governor (xunfu 巡撫) of Guangdong 廣東 and vice Minister of Law (xingbu shilang 刑部侍郎). Feng Su wrote numerous books, like Yuedong zouyi 粵東奏議, Jianwen suibi 見聞隨筆, Nanzhongji 南中集, Dianxing jiwen 滇行紀聞, Fuyue riji 撫粵日記, Quehuilu 劫灰錄, Shiyuangao 石園稿, Zhihuantang gao 知還堂稿, and compiled the local gazetteers Dianshengzhi 滇省志, Taijunzhi 臺郡志, Chuxiong fu zhi 楚雄府志 and Taizhou fu zhi 臺州府志.

The book Diankao was written during his years in Yunnan. It was finished in 1665. Feng Su experienced that Yunnan was a region that could only be governed with greatest difficulties. He therefore collected all available written information, mostly fragments and single chapters of other books, and compiled these to his 37-chapters long Diankao. Feng Su eliminated all information about geography, the native population and local products and concentrated on political matters. The first part begins with the establishing of an independent government by Zhuang Qiao 莊蹻, a descendant of King Zhuang of Chu 楚莊王 (r. 613-591), and ends with the conquest of the empire of Dali 大理, reigned by the family Duan 段, by Mongol troops. The seconds parts deals with the creation of the province of Yunnan under the Yuan dynasty 元 (1279-1368) and ends with Li Dingguo's 李定國 (1620-1662) conquest of Shadingzhou 沙定州. Administrators who knew all these historical incidents of order and chaos therefore were enlightened enough to known that Yunnan is not difficult to govern.

The Diankao is included in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Sources:
Gao Wende 高文德, ed. (1995). Zhongguo shaoshu minzu shi da cidian 中國少數民族史大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin jiaoyu chubanshe), 2400.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 677.
Wang Zhaoming 王兆明, Fu Langyun 傅朗云, ed. (1991). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Dili 地理卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 382.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 904.