Ming Shilu

The Ming Shilu (traditional Chinese: 明實錄; simplified Chinese: 明实录; lit. Veritable Records of the Ming) contains the imperial annals of the Ming emperors (1368–1644). It is the single largest historical source for the dynasty. According to modern historians, it "plays an extremely important role in the historical reconstruction of Ming society and politics."[1] After the fall of the Ming Dynasty, the Ming Shilu was used as a primary source for the compilation of the Mingshi (History of Ming).[2]

The section (shilu) for each emperor was composed after the emperor's death by a History Office appointed by the Grand Secretariat using different types of historical sources such as:[3]

  1. "The Qiju zhu (Chinese: 起居注; pinyin: qǐjūzhù), or 'Diaries of Activity and Repose'. These were daily records of the actions and words of the Emperor in court."
  2. "The 'Daily Records' (Chinese: 日曆; pinyin: rìlì). These records, established precisely as a source for the compilation of the shilu, were compiled by a committee on the basis of the diaries and other written sources."
  3. Other sources such as materials collected from provincial centres and "culled from other official sources such as memorials, ministerial papers and the Metropolitan Gazette."
Record Emperor
Taizu Shilu (太祖實錄) Taizu or Hongwu[2]
Taizong Shilu (太宗實錄) Taizong or Yongle (including the preceding Jianwen reign)[2]
Renzong Shilu (仁宗實錄) Renzong or Hongxi[2]
Xuanzong Shilu (宣宗實錄) Xuanzong or Xuande[2]
Yingzong Shilu (英宗實錄) Yingzong (including the Zhengtong and Tianshun reigns, separated by the Jingtai reign)
Xianzong Shilu (憲宗實錄) Xianzong or Chenghua
Xiaozong Shilu (孝宗實錄) Xiaozong or Hongzhi
Wuzong Shilu (武宗實錄) Wuzong or Zhengde
Shizong Shilu (世宗實錄) Shizong or Jiajing
Muzong Shilu (穆宗實錄) Muzong or Longqing
Shenzong Shilu (神宗實錄) Shenzong or Wanli
Guangzong Shilu (光宗實錄) Guangzong or Taichang
Xizong Shilu (熹宗實錄) Xizong or Tianqi



  1. ^ Wade 2005, p. 3.
  2. ^ a b c d e Dreyer 2007, 217–218.
  3. ^ Wade 2005, p. 4.


  • Dreyer, Edward L. (2007). Zheng He: China and the Oceans in the Early Ming Dynasty, 1405–1433. New York. NY: Pearson Longman. ISBN 9780321084439.
  • Wade, Geoff (2005). "The Ming Shi-lu as a source for Southeast Asian History" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 May 2005. provides detailed and extensive background information on how the Ming Shi-lu was composed and the rhetoric that it uses.

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