Compiled by Hsi-yuan Chen
Exhibition Catalogs and Guides
In the Qing dynasty, directives by the emperor came primarily in the form of imperial mandates, edicts, decrees, and orders. Take the imperial edicts, they were announced to officials and the general public about the promulgation of the empire’s policies or common laws. Of all the imperial edicts, the enthronement proclamation and the last testament were the most important. They respectively refer to the first edict by a newly-enthroned emperor and the last edict announced in the name of a deceased emperor. Such edicts were closely associated with the succession to the imperial throne and the blessing of the heavenly mandate. The imperial court used these edicts to clearly proclaim the transition of imperial power and the continuation of its legitimacy in ruling. The first or the last edict notwithstanding, the transfer of imperial power would have been completed at the time of announcement.