The 20-juan long book (Qinding) Manzhou yuanliu kao (欽定)滿洲源流考"(Imperially endorsed) Studies in the detailed history of the Manchus" is a history of the early Manchus compiled on a decree of the Qianlong Emperor 乾隆帝 (r. 1736-1795) and submitted to the throne in 1777 by Agūi 阿桂 (1717-1797), Yu Minzhong 于敏中 (1714-1779) and Hešen 和珅 (1750-1799).
The book consists of four parts, namely the Manchu families, the territory, its topography, and national habits. All parts go back to the oldest history of China's northwestern region (what later became known as Manchuria; modern Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang), beginning with the putative ancestors of the Manchus, the Sushen 肅慎, Yilou 挹婁, Wuji 勿吉 and Mohe 靺鞨, until the time when the direct ancestors of the Manchus, the Jurchens, founded the Jin empire 金 (1115-1234), and on to the founding of the Manchu empire under Nurhaci (Qing Taizu 清太祖, r. 1616-1626).
Although the book is of course very important for the early history of the people of the Manchus a great part of it is an artificial construction of a continuing past that never existed in the described shape. This is true for the history of the Jurchens in antiquity as well as for the history of the region of Jianzhou 建州 during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644).
|8.-13.||疆域||Jiangyu||The region and its borders|
|14.-15.||山川||Shanchuan||Mountains and rivers|
|16.-20.||國俗||Guosu||Customs and habits|