Punctuated and collated by Hung Chin-fu
The Institutes of the Yuan Dynasty is an 800,000-character canon comprising official documents from the mid Yuan Dynasty by unnamed compilers around seven hundred years ago. It serves as a source of reference for Yuan officials handling official affairs, a tool for book sellers to make profits, and a treasure trove for the study of Yuan history following the dynasty’s demise. The book is riddled with people from different walks of life, including corrupt officials, abusive husbands, and cruel step-mothers. Textually, there are passages written in Classical Chinese, contemporary vernaculars, and Chinese transliteration from Mongolian original (e.g. many appanage-holders were all given the Mongolian name “Darughachi” in Han’er, Khitan and Jurchen languages). The transliteration, excessive abridgement, erroneous reproduction have contributed to this book as being “the most difficult to decipher.” In 2011, four Chinese historians of the Yuan Dynasty first published the book’s full-text collation. The Institutes of the Yuan Dynasty is the result of 16 years of independent research and collation. Despite the many discrepancies between the two collations, it is hoped that this latter work would serve as a useful tool for other historical cohorts.