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Timeline of the Ming & Qing Palace Events

Introductory Matters
In this imperial chronology, each year is listed according to the Chinese lunar calendar with traditional notations for each year (e.g., jiashen) followed by the internationally recognized Gregorian calendar year (e.g., 1644) that approximately corresponds to the given lunar year. Information on the imperial reign is listed with each calendar year. Specific events are listed after a title denoting the lunar month (e.g., 1st Month) in which they occurred.
  Ages of historical figures are given as traditionally calculated by the Chinese lunar calendar. This traditional way of counting a person's age uses the word sui (year of age). The word conveys how many lunar years—even if only for a few days or months—an individual has experienced in life.
  Chinese names are shown in the conventional Chinese order with the surname (family name) followed by the given name. When possible, Manchu names are rendered according to the Möllendorff system of transliteration (Romanization). If the original Manchu name is unknown, the name is shown with a hyphenated version of the transliterated Chinese name. Some Jurchen and Manchu figures are more commonly known by their Chinese names; in those cases, the Chinese name is used. Official titles and imperial institutions are rendered according to Charles O. Hucker's A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Stanford, 1985) when possible.
 
The Reign of the Yongzheng Emperor (approx. 1723-1735)
 
Guimao Year (approx. 1723)
Yongzheng Reign, 1st Year
 
1st Month:
The Yongzheng Emperor issues a total of eleven edicts to admonish officials including governors-general (zongdu), provincial governors (xunfu), provincial military commanders (tidu), and regional commanders (zongbingguan). The admonishments affect civil officialsdown to prefectural and magistrate level, and military officers down to assistant regional commanders (canjiang) and brigade commanders (youji). 
Provincial military commanders, regional commanders, and regional vice commanders (fujiang) are granted bows, arrows, quivers, and bow sheaths used by the deceased Kangxi Emperor.
The palace education system is established, and the etiquette for princes greeting their tutors is formalized.
 
2nd Month:
The emperor admonishes Yuntang (a beile, prince of the blood of the third degree), the ninth son of the Kangxi Emperor.
The deceased Kangxi Emperor is given his posthumous title Ren (lit. "Benevolent") and temple name Shengzu (lit. "Holy Ancestor"). His mausoleum is named the Jing Tomb. A supervisor-in-chief (zongguan dachen) is appointed for the Eastern Qing Tombs. The post is assigned to the regional commander (zongbing) at Malanyu. Yunlu, the sixteenth son of the Kangxi Emperor, is designated heir to Boggodo, the Prince of Zhuang. 
 
3rd Month:
Longkodo, Ma-qi, and Nian Gengyao are named grand guardians (taibao). Nian is also promoted as a duke of the third rank. 
 
4th Month:
The coffin of the late emperor is moved to the Hall of Tranquil Delight (Anxiang dian) at the mausoleum; Yunti is ordered to guard the coffin.  
Yunxiang, the Prince of Yi, is charged to govern the Ministry of Revenue. His son, Hongchang, is granted the title of prince (gusai beise in Manchu, commonly simplified to beizi in Chinese, prince of the blood of the fourth degree). The emperor's younger brother Yunyou, the seventh son of the Kangxi Emperor, is promoted from the title of Commandery Prince of Chun (Chinese junwang, prince of the blood of the second degree; Manchu doroi giyūn wang) to the Prince of Chun (qinwang, prince of the blood of the first degree). Proficient calligraphers, he and Yunzhi are commissioned to inscribe stelae and tablets for the Jing Tomb.
Yunli, the seventeenth son of the Kangxi Emperor, is granted the title of the Commandery Prince of Guo (junwang, prince of the blood of the second degree).
Translation examinations are introduced into the civil examinations at provincial and metropolitan levels.
The Imperial Diary Office (Qiju zhu guan) is reinstalled.
The emperor begins administering state affairs at the Gate of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing men).
 
5th Month:
The emperor holds audiences at the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian).
Empress Dowager Renshou, mother of the Yongzheng Emperor, dies and her coffin is placed in the Palace of Tranquil Longevity (Ningshou gong) for a time of mourning.
Yunti (a beile, prince of the blood of the third degree) is promoted to the title of Commandery Prince of Xun (junwang, prince of the blood of the second degree).
A residence is constructed in Zhengjiazhuang, Qi County, where Yunreng and his son Hongxi, the Commandery Prince of Li (junwang, prince of the blood of the second degree), are instructed to reside.
 
7th Month:
The banner commander's official Manchu title gusai ejen (gushan ezhen in Chinese, which is a leader of a banner in the Eight Banner military organization) is changed to gusai amban (gushan angbang in Chinese; Manchu amban means commander-in-chief, Chinese dutong) and idu ejen (or yidu ezhen in Chinese, literally "commander on duty") to idu janggin (yidu zhangjing in Chinese).
Elaborated Meanings of the Classic of Filial Piety (Xiaojing yanyi) is distributed.
Longkodo and Wang Xu are ordered to supervise the compilation of The History of Ming (Ming shi), for which Xu Yuanmeng and Zhang Tingyu are appointed directors-general (zongcai). 
 
8th Month:
The emperor summons princes and Grand Ministers and instructs them saying, "The heir to the throne should be determined as soon as possible. The events of the eleventh lunar month of the last year forced a hasty decision. Shengzu was a sage to whom We are no match. Today We have written a secret edict, which is sealed in a box covered by silk brocade. The box has been placed behind the horizontal tablet that reads Zhengda guangming( lit. "Uprightness and Brightness"). You must remember this." The secret appointment of the heir-apparent is thus established.
The deceased empress dowager is given her posthumous title Xiaogong (lit. "Piety and Reverence").
Acting on a proposal from Li Weijun, the governor (xunfu) of Zhili Province, the tax register for adult males is abolished, and a percentage of the traditional tax for labor is added to the tax on cultivated land.
 
9th Month:
The Kangxi Emperor is buried in the Jing Tomb with Empress Xiaogong.
The emperor orders the compilation of the Legal Codex of the Qing Dynasty (Lü li).
Rankings for eunuchs are specified as follows: rank four for the eunuch supervisor-in-chief (zongguan taijian), rank six for the deputy eunuch supervisor-in-chief, rank seven for the attendant eunuch supervisor (suishi shouling taijian), and rank eight for the palace eunuch supervisor (gongdian shouling taijian).
 
10th Month:
Nian Gengyao is named as Pacifier of the Frontier General-in-chief (fuyuan dajiangjun).
 
11th Month:
The sacrifice to heaven is held on the Circular Mound (Huanqiu) at the Temple of Heaven on the winter solstice. Additional sacrificial offerings to Shengzu (the Kangxi Emperor) are offered.
 
12th Month:
The emperor banishes all foreign missionaries to Macau. Catholicism is banned, and Catholic churches are converted into public buildings called gongsuo (a generic term in official parlance, which usually referred to a place of assembly).
Lady Ula Nara, the emperor's first wife from the Ula Nara clan, is named empress, while the emperor's consort, the sister of Nian Gengyao, is promoted to honored consort (gui fei). Lady Niohuru is granted the title Consort-in-ordinary Xi (lit. "Brilliance"; an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei), and Lady Geng, another consort, is named Concubine Yu (lit. "Abundance"; an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin).
Yuntao, Commanery Prince Lü (junwang, prince of the blood of the second degree), is demoted in princely rank (to beile, prince of the blood of the fourth degree) due to his "ingratitude".
This year, Censor Mang-hu-li of the Irgen Gioro clan is commissioned to paint the portrait of the late Kangxi Emperor that is subsequently placed in the Hall of Imperial Longevity (Shouhuang dian) near Prospect Hill (present-day Jingshan Park, popularly called Coal Hill) in a show of reverence and offerings on the emperor's birthday, the first day of each year, and other festivals.
Regulations concerning imperial ceremonial garments are promulgated, as follows: Satin in the colors of dark blue, bright yellow, red, and clair de lune is to be used in three different designs. Nine dragon roundels shall decorate the garment; each dragon shall have a pearl in its mouth.  
Nine small roundels with dragon design shall ornament the waist. Polychrome clouds shall be dispersed about the entire robe. The robe's bottom hem shall be embellished with the design of rocks rising above horizontal waves and the Eight Treasures, which symbolize that mountains and rivers under one unified rule will last through the ages.
 
Jiachen Year (approx. 1724)
Yongzheng Reign, 2nd Year
 
1st Month:
The grain sacrifice at the Temple of Heaven is held with additional offerings to the Kangxi Emperor. By edict, the late Grand Secretary Tuhai is granted the privilege of enjoying offerings at the Imperial Ancestral Temple (Tai miao). 
Yue Zhongqi (1686-1754) is granted the title General of Vigor and Valor (fenwei jiangjun) and charged to lead the Qinghai Campaign. 
Stipulations are released noting that eunuchs above the age of seventeen (in sui) shall no longer be accepted for service by the court.
 
2nd Month:
Amplified Instructions on the Sacred Edict (Shengyu guangxun) is distributed throughout the empire. 
The emperor indicates that he is to personally attend the ceremony at the Piyong Hall in the Directorate of Education. He orders the change of diction in memorials describing the emperor's visit to the academy from "inspection" (xing) to "respectful visit" (yi). 
The Ploughing Ceremony (Gengji li, also known as the First Furrow Ceremony) is performed, during which the emperor ploughs an additional furrow after the first three furrows. 
 
3rd Month:
The emperor visits the Directorate of Education where he performs the oblations to honor Confucius (shidian) and lectures on the Book of Documents (Shang shu) and Great Learning (Da xue) at the Hall of Principles (Yilun tang). He decides to increase the number of students admitted to the academy via the provincial civil examinations.
 
4th Month:
The emperor summons princes and Grand Ministers to admonish Yunsi, the Prince of Lian, and orders him to reform his behavior. The princes are ordered to supervise him and report any impropriety to the emperor. 
Yun'e, the Commandery Prince of Dun (junwang, prince of the blood of the second degree), is dispatched to accompany the return of Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, the Living Buddha of Urga, come to mourn the death of the Kangxi Emperor, to the region of the Khalkha Mongols (a reference to the area of the largest subgroup of the Mongol people). The prince refuses his errand on pretext, stays in Zhangjiakou, holds prayers without imperial consent, and calls the emperor "that new ruler called Yongzheng". He is stripped of all titles and imprisoned for grievous disrespect.
 
4th Month (Intercalary):
The compilation of Collected Statutes of the Qing Dynasty (Daqing huidian) continues. 
The captured rebel Khoshote leaders of Kokonor (in modern day Qinghai Province) are escorted to the capital. The emperor views the presentation of war captives from the Meridian Gate (Wu men). 
 
5th Month:
The sacrifice to the Earth is held at the Square Moat Altar (Fangze tan) with additional offerings to the Kangxi Emperor. 
Officials who were formerly overtly servile to Yunsi are punished. Several princes are either demoted or stripped of all titles. Most of the eunuchs originally from the capital and its environs are dismissed due to their perceived meddling. 
Eunuchs are ordered to practice martial arts in preparation for future imperial inspection tours.
The Guards Brigade of the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Yuanming yuan) and the Three-Banner Guard Brigade of the Imperial Household Department (Neiwu fu) are deployed.  
 
6th Month:
A stele is erected at the Directorate of Education on the occasion of the successful pacification of the rebels in Kokonor (Qinghai).
Sacrificial ceremonies are performed at the damaged Temple of the Confucius at Queli, Shandong Province, and officials are dispatched to supervise the renovation. 
Yuntao (a beizi, prince of the blood of the forth degree) is demoted to the rank of defender duke (zhenguo gong).
 
7th Month:
The emperor writes his Discourse on Factions (Pengdang lun), which is subsequently distributed to officials. 
 
8th Month:
The emperor orders for regulations involving avoidance examinations to include the civil examinations at both the provincial and metropolitan level. Examination papers are to be reviewed by specially-designated officials.
 
10th Month:
Zhu Zhilian, said to be a descendent of the Ming imperial family, is named a marquise of the first degree and charged with enshrining and worshiping his ancestors. The Shrine for the Loyal and Righteous (Zhongyi ci) is to be constructed in the capital by imperial mandate. 
 
11th Month:
The mausoleum of Empress Xiaozhuang is named the Zhaoxi Tomb. 
Hongsheng (son of the Kangxi Emperor's fifth son, Yunqi) is stripped of his noble rank. 
 
12th Month:
The Directorate of Education is to erect, by imperial mandate, stelae recording the names of Metropolitan Graduates (jinshi, successful candidates in the highest-level civil service examinations). 
 
Yisi Year (approx. 1725)
Yongzheng Reign, 3rd Year
 
2nd Month:
At the end of the three-year mourning period for the Kangxi Emperor, collective sacrifices (xiaji) are performed. 
Court officials are summoned to hear the charges against Yuntang. Yunsi and Yunti are also affected. 
One of the sons of Yunxiang, the Prince of Yi and Grand Minister Superintendent, is promoted to the rank of commandery prince (junwang, prince of the blood of the second degree). Longkodo and Ma-qi are granted hereditary titles. 
Yunsi is not given any reward. Instead, the emperor issues an edict of severe admonitions.
 
3rd Month:
Nian Gengyao is reprimanded for a clerical  error made in his memorial celebrating the conjunction of the sun, moon, and five planets—a cosmological phenomenon considered auspicious in Chinese tradition. 
Yunxiang, the Prince of Yi and Grand Minister Superintendent, is praised as prudent and loyal in his handling of state affairs. As a reward, the emperor allows him to nominate one of his sons to be granted the title of commandery prince (junwang, prince of the blood of the second degree). 
 
4th Month:
Nian Gengyao is demoted as General-in-chief of Hangzhou.
 
6th Month:
The emperor orders that those of the upper three banners who bear hereditary titles as well as the sons of the Dengcheng baturu (lit. "hero", a Manchu title usually given to those who served meritoriously in military campaigns), between the ages of fourteen to twenty (in sui), should report for selection and potential appointment to official posts.
Nian Gengyao is stripped of the title Grand Guardian. 
 
7th Month:
Yuntang (a beizi, prince of the blood of the fourth degree) is found guilty and stripped of his princely title.
 
8th Month:
Longkodo is stripped of the title Grand Guardian and banished to a construction site near Mount Alan. Nian Gengyao is further demoted to live the life of an idle bannersman. Yuntang is put under house arrest.
The emperor retreats to the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Yuanming yuan). Yunxiang, the Prince of Yi, receives a salary increase and is given a tablet inscribed with appraisals including "loyalty, honesty, uprightness, diligence, prudence, incorruptibility, and intelligence".
 
9th Month:
Nian Gengyao is arrested and incarcerated in the prison of the Ministry of Justice.
 
10th Month:
Hongzhi, son of Yunqi, the Prince of Heng, is granted the title Bulwark Duke (fuguo gong).
 
12th Month:
Yunti (a junwang, prince of the bloof of the second degree), is demoted in princely rank (to beizi, prince of the blood of the fourth degree). A ninety-two-count indictment is issued against Nian Gengyao, An edict is issued ordering Nian Gengyao's suicide and Nian Fu's (his son) immediate decapitation. The rest of Nian's sons are banished for penal servitude. Exemption from penalty by association (lianzuo) is given to Nian's father and brothers. 
Scribes begin the compilation of the Great Qing Codex with Collected Interpretations (Da Qing lü jijie) and Revised Comprehensive Edition of the Statutes and Established Precedents of the Great Qing Dynasty (Da Qing lüli zengxiu tongzuan jicheng).
 
Bingwu Year (approx. 1726)
Yongzheng Reign, 4th Year
 
1st Month:
The emperor receives congratulations at the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian). In accordance with court precedence, nobles from Tibet, Mongolia, and Qinghai (waifan) having an audience with the emperor are presented with gifts of silver. 
An edict is issued for the indictment of the emperor's ninth brother Yuntang. Court officials are summoned to hear the indictment of Yunsi, the eighth imperial brother. He is stripped of the princely title of imperial prince of the blood of the first degree (qinwang) and demoted to the title of commoner prince (minwang). His is relieved of his bright-yellow belt, and his descendents are excluded from the Aisin Gioro lineage (the imperial clan). His consort (fujin) of the Uya clan is ordered to return to her home of origin, and his name, by imperial order, is changed to a-qi-na (possibly from the Manchu word akiyan, meaning "frozen in ice"). His son, Hongwang is renamed Pusabao (lit. "guarded by the Bodhisattva").  
Longkodo is further demoted and, then, dispatched to Russia for border negotiations. 
Rituals for the lunar new year banquet are established. 
 
2nd Month
Yunsi is stripped of the title commoner prince and imprisoned at the Court of the Imperial Clan (Zongren fu). 
 
5th Month:
Yunti (the emperor's fourteenth brother) is imprisoned, together with his son, at the Hall of Imperial Longevity (Shouhuang dian). 
Yuntang is renamed sai-si-hei (possibly from the Manchu word seshe, which may be related to the verb seshembi meaning "to detest") and imprisoned in Baoding.
Yunwu (the emperor's fifteenth brother) is granted the title of “prince” (beizi, prince of the blood of the fourth degree). 
 
6th Month
The grand minister superintendents reconsider the cases of Yunsi and Yuntang, who have been indicted for forty and twenty-eight crimes, respectively. Their crimes are publicly announced. 
 
8th Month:
Yuntang dies in Baoding (in present-day Hebei Province).
Per edict, the imperial workshop issues four proofs of authorization (called hefu, which are produced in one piece and then divided into matching halves) that are placed at the Gate of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing men), Left Wing Gate (Zuo yimen), and Right Wing Gate (You yimen). At night,when one of the gates is opened, the two halves of a proof of authorization must be matched as confirmation.
 
9th Month:
On the Double Ninth Festival (the ninth day of the ninth lunar month), the Yongzheng Emperor holds court at the Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing gong). He holds a feast for court ministers. He presents a poem in the cypress beam style (bailiang ti).
Yunsi dies in his place of imprisonment.
 
10th Month:
Guangning, the Prince of Yu and the grandson of Fuciowan, is stripped of his feudal title and perpetually forbidden from the Court of the Imperial Clan (Zongren fu).
The grand minister supervisor of the Imperial Household Department is ordered to inspect the office rooms of approximately one hundred to provide assistance for frail, elderly eunuchs.
Due to the cases of Zha Siting and Wang Jingqi, both of whom are from Zhejiang Province, a new official post entitled the commissioner for the inspection and administration of social mores is established in Zhejiang Province. 
 
12th Month:
The princes and grand ministers request the punishment of the wives of Yunsi and Yuntang. Orders are made stating, “Yunsi and Yuntang are guilty of rebellious behavior and impropriety, but their seditious actions are not yet manifest. Repeal their punishment. Yuntang’s wife is to be sent back to her maternal home and forbidden from returning. The remaining relatives will be cared for by the Imperial Household Department.”
Censor Xie Jishi submits a memorial to the throne elucidating ten crimes of Tian Wenjing. By imperial edict, Tian Wenjing is dismissed from his office and banished to a distant garrison.
This year, rank-titles for eunuchs are established. The leading fourth-ranked supervisor is entitled the supervising commissioner of the Directorate of the Palace Domestic Service. A subordinate fourth-ranked assistant-supervisor is called a director of the Directorate of the Palace Domestic Service. A sixth-ranked assistant-supervisor is called an assistant-director of the Directorate of the Palace Domestic Service. A seventh-ranked staff supervisor is called a palace guardian. An eighth-ranked staff supervisor is called a chief of service.
Cao Fu, the superintendent of Imperial Textile Manufacturing at Jiangning (present-day Nanjing), is discharged from office and his estate is seized.
E-er-tai, the governor-general of Yunnan-Guizhou submits a memorial to the throne suggesting that land policies be reformed in the southwest region of the empire.
 
Dingwei Year (approx. 1727)
Yongzheng Reign, 5th Year 
 
3rd Month:
Hongsheng—the son of Yunqi, the Prince of Heng—stripped of his noble title of heir (a general noble title for the eldest sons in the imperial family).
 
4th Month:
Two censors are appointed from the imperial clan. 
 
6th Month:
Longkodo is stripped of his noble title.
 
7th Month:
Sunu, who was already stripped of his position as prince (beizi, prince of the blood of the fourth degree), is charged with maligning the sacred injunctions of the Kangxi Emperor. Princes, grand ministers, and officials from the Ministry of Justice report the situation to the throne. 
 
8th Month:
Hongshi, the third imperial son, is stripped of his place in the imperial clan due to his immorality as a youth. He dies shortly thereafter. 
The Treaty of Kyakhta (Qiaketu hushi jieyue) is established with Russia. A grand minister is appointed for handling Russian affairs. 
 
9th Month:
The Treaty of Burinsky (Buliansiqi jieyue) is signed with Russia. This agreement decides the Sino-Russian border.
Regulations for official headwear are established.
 
10th Month:
The princes and grand ministers convene to discuss the fifty crimes of Longkodo. 
 
11th Month:
Orders are made for the compilation of Impartiality as a Statute (Zhizhong chengxian).
Oboi’s status as a third-rank duke is reinstated. His grandson is granted the right to inherit this rank.
Lady Fuca—the daughter of Li-rong-bao, the supervisor-in-chief of Cha-ha-er—is chosen as the wife of Hongli, the fourth imperial son. 
 
12th Month:
Provincial education commissioners are ordered to recruit select students every six months.
Starting from this year, a grand minister is appointed to serve in Tibet. 
 
Wushen Year (approx. 1728)
Yongzheng Reign, 6th Year
 
2nd Month:
Yunli, the Commandery Prince of Guo (junwang, prince of the blood of the second degree), is promoted in princely rank (to qinwang, prince of the blood of the first degree). 
 
6th Month:
Per imperial edict, outer gentlemen and secretaries in the Six Ministries fill official posts in need of personnel; their Banners-association is not to be considered a criteria for promotions or transfers.
Yunzhi, the Prince of Cheng, is found guilty of demanding bribes. He is demoted to the rank of commandery prince (junwang), and his son, Hongsheng is forbidden from the Court of the Imperial Clan (Zongren fu).
 
10th Month:
An official school is established in the Palace of Universal Peace (Xian’an gong) for the education of the sons of Manchu bondservants and slaves. 
 
12th Month:
Collected Legal Interpretations of the Great Qing (Daqing lüji jie fuli) is completed. 
This year, the Festival of a Thousand Autumns (Qianqiu jie, or birthday celebration) is established for the empress. All princes, dukes, and officials are to wear robes with dragon motifs but not salute the empress with a bow.
Zhang Xi seeks support from Yue Zhongqi, the governor-general of Sichuan and Shaanxi, regarding an insurrection against the empire.
The practice of princes in the imperial clan simultaneously managing administrative affairs in the Eight Banners is discontinued.
 
Jiyou Year (approx. 1729)
Yongzheng Reign, 7th Year
 
3rd Month:
Fu-er-dan and Yue Zhongqi are ordered to lead troops from northern and western routes in a campaign against Galdan Khan.
 
5th Month:
Yue Zhongqi reports in a memorial to the throne that Zhang Xi of Hunan is inciting revolt. Zhang Xi is questioned and places the blame on his superior Zeng Jing. Zeng Jing and Zhang Xi are summoned to the capital. The nine chief ministers investigate the case. Zeng Jing professes that his brass defiance was the result of influences from the writings of the late scholar Lü Liuliang. An edict is issued that condemns Lü Liuliang’s actions and calls for officials throughout the empire to denounce him.
 
6th Month:
Orders are issued regarding the selection of women for the palace, as follows, “Hereafter, as to the selection of women, the daughters of the nobility may be selected for appointment as empresses, consorts, concubines, and worthy ladies (guiren, fifth-rank palace women). When making selections for positions lower than fifth-rank palace women, daughters of the nobility may not be considered for selection”. 
 
10th Month:
Jiang Pu and a group of twelve other sons of Han grand ministers are granted the status of provincial graduate (juren). Internal and external officials are scrupulously granted further titles. The Prince of Yi is promoted in status regarding imperial insignia. Zhang Tingyu is promoted as a junior guardian. Jiang Tingxi and Li Tingyi are named as junior mentors of the heir apparent. Fu-er-dan, Yue Zhongqi, and E-er-tai are promoted as junior guardians. Tian Wenjing is named as the grand guardian of the heir apparent. Li Wei, Zha-lang-a, and Xi Bo are named as junior mentors of the heir apparent.
This year, Great Rectitude for Awakening from Delusion (Dayi juemi lu) is published and distributed among scholars in each department and county.  
The workshop in the Hall of Martial Valor (Wuying dian) is restructured as the Imperial Printing Office. A bronze imperial seal is cast for use in the printing office. 
 
Gengxu Year (approx. 1730)
Yongzheng Reign, 8th Year
 
2nd Month:
Duke of Received Imperial Favor is selected as a noble title for bestowal upon a maternal relative of the emperor.
The emperor holds the Classics Colloquium (Jing yan).
Yunzhi, the Commandery Prince of Cheng, is reinstated with his former title the Prince of Cheng. Yunwu (a beile, prince of the blood of the third degree) is promoted to the rank of commandery prince. Yunyi (a beizi, prince of the blood of the fourth degree) is promoted in princely rank (to beile, prince of the blood of the third degree). Yunxi, the twenty-first imperial younger brother, and Yunhu, the twenty-second younger brother, are both named as princes (beizi, prince of the blood of the fourth degree). Yunqi, the twenty-third imperial younger brother, is named as a defender duke.
 
3rd Month:
The Book of Documents (Shu jing, also known as the Classic of History) with annotations, compiled by order of the Kangxi Emperor, is distributed by the Yongzheng Emperor.
Since young princes are considered to be in the process of maturation, eunuchs are strictly forbidden from serving them or passing through their residential areas in the palace.
 
4th Month:
Grand secretaries (da xueshi) are given the status of first-rank officials. Left censors are named as subordinate first-rank officials. 
 
5th Month:
Yunxiang, the Prince of Yi, dies. The Yongzheng Emperor attends mourning rituals for his departed brother, who is posthumously given the additional title Xian (lit. “Virtuous”). Funerary sacrifices are held in the Imperial Ancestral Temple (Tai miao). Per imperial edict, the Prince of Yi’s personal name, Yunxiang, is revised to his original given name Yinxiang. (All of the imperial sons’ given names originally began with the character Yin. Since the Yongzheng Emperor’s given name was Yinzhen, all of his brothers’ names were changed to begin with the character Yun to avoid the taboo use of a character in the emperor’s personal name.) When Yunzhi, the Prince of Cheng, attends the funeral, he arrives late, leaves early, and shows no sign of sorrow for his departed brother. The Court of the Imperial Clan (Zongren fu) discusses an appropriate punishment for the disrespectful imperial brother. It is decided that his princely title will be removed and that he be incarcerated in the Pavilion of Everlasting Peace (Yongan ting) at Prospect Hill (Jingshan).
Yunxi is named as a prince (qinwang, prince of the blood of the first degree). Yuntai is reinstated as a commandery prince (junwang, prince of the blood of the second degree). Hongxi, the Commandery Prince of Li, is promoted to a higher princely rank (to qinwang, prince of the blood of the first degree). Hongjing is named as the prince (beizi, prince of the blood of the fourth degree). 
 
6th Month:
The late Yunxiang, the Prince of Yixian, is given further posthumous titles that commemorate his dedication and diligence.
The differentiation is terminated between superiors (zheng) and subordinates (cong) in fourth to eighth ranked eunuchs.
 
7th Month:
Orders are issued for the construction of the Shrine of Virtuous Excellence (Xianliang ci) outside of the Gate of Earthly Peace (Di’an men).
 
9th Month:
Hongxiao, the son of the Prince of Yi, inherits his father’s princely title (qinwang, prince of the blood of the first degree). Hongjiao is named as a commandery prince. These titles are to be inherited by their progeny.
The Shrine of Virtuous Excellence (Xianliang ci) is constructed. Due to his meritorious excellence, the late Prince of Yi is given the prime position of veneration in the newly built shrine.
The Council of State (Junji chu) is established.
 
10th Month:
The regulations for the official headwear are revised. For instance, first-ranked officials are permitted to wear a cap with a coral top. Various headwear is stipulated for officials from the first to ninth-rank.
 
 
 
Xinhai Year (approx. 1731)
Yongzheng Reign, 9th Year
 
6th Month:
Qing forces battle Galdan Khan at Khoton-nor (Hetong bo) and end his armed rebellion.
 
9th Month:
The empress, née Nara, dies. She is given the posthumous title Empress Xiaojing.
Eunuchs are forbidden from stealing the sacrificial meat from the Palace of Earthly Tranquility (Kunning gong) and selling it outside the palace.
 
12th Month:
The Veritable Records of the Kangxi Emperor (Shengzu shilu) and The Venerated Teachings of the Kangxi Emperor (Shengzu shengxun) are completed.
 
Renzi Year (approx. 1732)
Yongzheng Reign, 10th Year
 
1st Month:
Sacrifices are made at the Imperial Ancestral Temple (Tai miao) in the first lunar month. The fourth imperial son, Hongli, presents his respectful salutation.
 
2nd Month:
E-er-tai is named as a first-ranked earl, while his descendants receive hereditary rights to his title.
 
6th Month:
The Qing army defeats Galdan Khan and his armed rebellion at Erdene Zuu Monastery (which has the Chinese title of Guangxian si, lit. "Brilliant Manifestation Temple") in Mongolia.
 
12th Month:
The remains of the late Lü Liuliang, his oldest son Lü Baozhong, and Yan Hongkui are removed from their coffins, dismembered, and decapitated. Lü Liuliang's ninth son Lü Yizhong and Shen Zaidu are executed.
Hongli, the fourth imperial son, is given Changchun (lit. "Eternal Spring") as his lay Buddhist name. Hongzhou, the fifth imperial son, is given Xuri (lit. "Rising Sun") as his lay Buddhist name. 
Guichou Year (approx. 1733)
Yongzheng Reign, 11th Year
 
2nd Month:
Yunmi, the twenty-fourth imperial younger brother, is named as the Prince of Cheng (qingwang). Hongli, the fourth imperial son, is named as the Prince of Bao (qinwang, prince of the blood of the first degree). Hongzhou, the fifth imperial son, is named as the Prince of He (qingwang). 
Hongchun, a prince (beile, prince of the blood of the third degree), is named as the Commandery Prince of Tai (junwang, prince of the blood of the second degree).
 
4th Month:
The Erudite Literatus (boxue hongci) is held for the special recruitment of scholar talents in literary arts. 
 
5th Month:
The second part of the Collected Statutes of the Qing Dynasty (Daqing huidian) is completed. (The following sections of the extensive work are eventually completed during subsequent reigns.)
 
Jiayin Year (approx. 1734)
Yongzheng Reign, 12th Year
 
4th Month:
Per imperial proscription, ivory sleeping mats are not permitted to be crafted or brought as tribute from Guangdong. The populace is forbidden from using these costly mats.
 
5th Month:
Hongli and Hongzhou are ordered to serve in the court handling affairs related to the boundaries of Miao territory in the Southwest. (Miao is a general term that includes various ethnic groups identified as the Miao, Hmong, and other specific ethnonyms.)
 
7th Month:
Yunli, the Prince of Guo, is appointed to manage affairs regarding the Dalai Lama in Tibet. The prince is also ordered to inspect troops in Zhili (present-day Hebei Province), Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Sichuan.
 
8th Month:
Hongchun, the son of Yunti, is reprimanded for undignified behavior and demoted from a commandery prince (junwang, prince of the blood of the second degree) to a lower grade prince (beizi, prince of the blood of the fourth degree).
 
10th Month:
Yunzhi, the Prince of Zhi, dies. Lower grade princes (beizi, prince of the blood of the fourth degree) are commanded to make funerary arrangements. Hongfang, Yunzhi's son, is named as a defender duke (zhenguo gong).
Per imperial orders, the Imperial Compilation of Qing Literary Brilliance (Huang qing wenying) is expanded.
 
Yimao Year (approx. 1735)
Yongzheng Reign, 13th Year
 
3rd Month:
The Yongzheng Emperor personally plows a field.
By edict, the emperor declares, "Localities shall establish community administrations (baojia), which must heed public sentiments and provide advice in a gentle manner. If the administration is too severe, the good people will become weary. Those in governing positions must  earn the trust of the people. Even if rulers have good intentions, there is no benefit for the people if their trust is not earned."  
 
4th Month:
Collected Works of the Kangxi Emperor (Wenji) is completed and distributed among court officials.
 
5th Month:
The Prince of Guo, the fourth imperial son, the fifth imperial son, Grand Secretary E-er-tai, Zhang Tingyu, and other officials manage the state affairs regarding the boundaries of Miao territory.
 
8th Month:
The Yongzheng Emperor is gravely ill and resides at the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Yuanming yuan, now known as the Old Summer Palace). By imperial edict, the emperor summons the following individuals: Yunlu, the Prince of Zhuang; Yunli, the Prince of Guo; Grand Secretary E-er-tai;  
Zhang Tingyu; Grand Minister Feng-sheng-e (whose full position is the grand minister of the Imperial Household Department while concurrently controlling the Imperial Guardsmen"); Ne-qin; and Grand Minister Hai-wang (whose full position is the grand minister of the Imperial Household Department and vice minister of the Ministry of Revenue). By decree, the emperor selects his fourth son, Hongli, the Prince of Bao, as his successor.
The Yongzheng Emperor dies at the age of fifty-eight (in sui).
In accordance with the emperor's last will and orders, Yunlu, Yunli, E-er-tai, and Zhang Tingyu begin their service as regents. Honored Consort Xi (lit. "Bright"; an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei)—Lady Niohuru, Hongli's birth mother—is appointed as empress dowager. In accordance with the empress dowager's orders, Hongli's first wife, Lady Fuca, is named as empress. 
 
9th Month:
Hongli ascends the imperial throne at the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian). The next year is designated as the first year of the Qianlong reign.
Eunuchs are forbidden from spreading news of imperial happenings, while Buddhist monks serving in the inner court and alchemist Taoists are cast out of the palace. The emperor is temporarily entombed at the Palace of Harmony (Yonghe gong, now known as the Lama Temple).
The calendar of the first year of the Qianlong reign is issued.
Official imperial coinage (tongbao) is minted for the Qianlong reign.
Yunli, the Prince of Zhuang, and Yunlu, the Prince of Guo, are bestowed double their usual monetary allotment. E-er-tai and Zhang Tingyu are named as first-ranked commandants of light chariots with inheritance rights.
By imperial grace, provincial and metropolitan examinations are held. 
 
10th Month:
The emperor dispatches Guangbao, the Prince of Yu to hold sacrifices in his stead at the Imperial Ancestral Temple (Tai miao).
Per imperial order, Zeng Jing and Zhang Xi are charged with crimes against the empire. The imperially commissioned Great Rectitude for Awakening from Delusion (Dayi juemi lu) is withdrawn from circulation.
Yunsi and Yuntang are reinstated as members of the imperial clan.  Their sons and grandsons are granted red ribbons and included in the The Jade Genealogy (Yu die). 
 
11th Month:
The late Yongzheng Emperor is to be posthumously known as Shizong (lit. "Ancestor of the Ages") and granted his other honorary posthumous titles.
 
12th Month:
Zeng Jing and Zhang Xi are publically executed.
 

-------------------------------------------

Translator: Adam J. Ensign, Zhuang Ying

Editor: Li Yang

The Yongzheng Emperor (r. 1723-1735)

The Yongzheng Emperor , or Aisin Gioro Yinzhen, was born on the thirtieth day of the tenth lunar month of 1678, the seventeenth year of the Kangxi reign. The fourth son of the Kangxi Emperor, he was born by Lady Uya, the Empress Xiaogong. Yinzhen was first raised to the position of “beile” (third-class prince) in the thirty-seventh year of the Kangxi reign (1698), and then in 1709 to “Yong the First-class Prince” (forty-eighth year). During this period of time, for the purpose of being chosen as the heir-apparent, princes built cliques around themselves bringing intense factional strife. Despite an inherent aloofness, Yinzhen never separated himself from court politics. On the one hand, he showed sincere filial piety to the Kangxi Emperor to gain imperial favor, but on the other hand, he cultivated members of the Manchu and Chinese elite in the capital whose friendships proved useful in the final struggle for the throne. 

  The Kangxi Emperor died in the chilly winter of the sixty-first year of his reign (1722). Yinzhen relied on the military escort led by his trusted subject Nian Gengyao (1679-1725), the Governor-general of Sichuan province, and on his relationship with Longkedo, the President of Court of Colonial Affairs. It was Longkedo who was at the bedside of the dying Kangxi Emperor and announced the imperial choice of sons – the fourth imperial son – to succeed as emperor. Yinzhen ascended the throne, and the following year, changed the reign name to “Yongzheng”. 

  During the early years of the Yongzheng period, those who lost in the struggle for the throne, led by the eighth imperial prince Yinsi, were not reconciled to Yinzhen’s succession. As an act of vengeance, they circulated rumors that the Yongzheng Emperor had forged his father’s will by changing the Chinese character for the number “fourteen” (shisi) as in “the fourteenth son” to “the fourth” (yu si). To fortify his newly gained authority, the Yongzheng Emperor eliminated princely cliques either by depriving them of powers or by putting them under confinement. To demonstrate his legitimacy of succession, he commissioned an extremely grand funeral for the late Kangxi Emperor and buried him in the Jing Mausoleum as the first ruler of the Manchu Qing dynasty to be buried in the ground rather than cremated. Claiming that mentally he could not afford to move anything that his father had used, the Yongzheng Emperor relocated the place where the Qing emperors dealt with state affairs from the Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing gong) to the Hall of Mental Cultivation (Yangxin dian). Thereafter, the latter served as the virtual political center of the Qing empire. After taking the throne, the Yongzheng Emperor eliminated his enemies in the succession struggle. He even showed no mercy on Nian Gengyao and Longkedo, who had done much to help in securing his rulership. Both of them were tried for the crime of “arrogant out of past accomplishments and contemptuous of imperial power”. With their private properties confiscated, they were impeached, transferred, exiled, and finally sentenced to death.   

  The thirteen-year-long Yongzheng reign saw the modification of the Qing court bureaucratic structure and the personnel administration to ensure efficiency and probity of administration. In particular, he commissioned the reform called “changing the tusi (native chieftainships) to appointed officials” (gaitu guiliu) as a way to re-organize the governing pattern in southwestern border regions where non-Chinese native peoples constituted the majority. He also regularized surcharges to cover costs when raw silver received in tax payments was melted down and cast into bullion ingots for transport to thecapital, an implicit way for individual local official to profit. From the regularized surcharges, the Yongzheng Emperor supplied a sum of money to pay “bonuses to encourage incorruptibility” (yanglian yin) to compensate for the low official salaries which they could barely survived on. 

  In the seventh year of the Yongzheng reign (1729), the Emperor placed Nian Gengyao in command of the forces to put down the uprising of the Khoshote-Mongols under Lobzhan Dandzin in today’s Qinghai province. After the victory, to improve the efficiency of transference of military intelligence, the Yongzheng Emperor established the Council of Military Intelligence (Junji chu), whose office was located inside the Gate of Thriving Imperial Clan (Longzong men) in the Forbidden City, only a hundred steps away from his office - the Hall of Mental Cultivation. He formed the perpetuating power-centralization pattern under which the emperor or the empress dowager personally controlled military and political governance. 

  Drawing the bitter lesson from the cruel succession struggle in late years of the Kangxi reign, the Yongzheng Emperor modified the Manchu inheritance practice, which was called “secret designation”. None of the emperor’s sons was shown favor in education or grooming for the throne. Rather than openly designate an heir-apparent, the emperor concealed the name of his chosen successor in a locked box kept behind the tablet “Upright and Clearly Illuminated” (Zhengda guangming) in the Palace of Heavenly Purity.  Only upon the Yongzheng Emperor’s death was its contents revealed. The practice was instrumental in the orderly transition of imperial power in the following periods of the Qing dynasty. 

  The Yongzheng Emperor died on the twenty-third day of the eighth lunar month of 1735, at the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Yuanming yuan). He died of an overdose of the longevity medications formulated by Daoist priests he patronized. His temple name is “Shizong” (Clan Ancestor). He is buried in the Peace (tai) Tomb, Western Qing Tombs, Yi county, Hebei province. 

Lady Niuhuru, Empress Xiaosheng
 
Introduction: Lady Niuhuru was the biological mother of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795). She lived at a time of peace and prosperity. She enjoyed long life and personally saw her great-great-grandson, which was considered the epitome of a woman’s good fortune.
 
Lady Niuhuru was the daughter of Lingzhu, the fourth ranked minister of Ceremonies. She entered the Yongzheng Emperor’s household in 1704 at the age of twelve when he was still Prince Yong. In the eighth lunar month of 1711 she gave birth to Hongli, her only child who was to become the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795). After Prince Yong succeeded to the throne, she was elevated to Consort Xi and later the Honored Consort Xi.
 
  In 1736, the first year of the Qianlong reign, Niuhuru, as the reigning emperor’s mother, was granted the title of Empress Dowager and allowed to live in the Palace of Compassion and Tranquility. 
  The Qianlong Emperor greatly respected her, assembling the best things in the country to present to her. Lady Niuhuru was an empress dowager who rigorously conformed to the law of court and the country. Once she mentioned in conversation a dilapidated temple near the Shuntian government offices on the east side of Beijing Immediately the emperor sent people to make repairs. When she heard of this, she admonished the officials in charge to prevent the emperor should such an incident arise in the future.
 
  As a girl, Niuhuru spent her years in Jiangnan, the area south of Jiangsu and Anhui provinces. When she grew old, she was acutely nostalgic for the old days. So the Qianlong Emperor always included Niuhuru on his trips to the north and the south. Every year she joined the imperial autumn outings to the Mulan hunting grounds. 
 
  Niuhuru died in the 1777 at the age of eighty-six, after the birth of her great-great grandson. She had been the mother of the country for over forty years, a period during which the country prospered. She was buried at the Western Qing Tombs in the East Tailing Tomb, northeast of the Yongzheng Emperor’s Tailing tomb.
 
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