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Resource nameNational Palace Museum—Database of Qing Palace Memorials and Archives of the Grand Council
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The Palace Memorials and Archives of the Grand Council housed at the National Palace Museum are official court documents unique to the Qing dynasty. In the beginning of the Qing dynasty, official documents were organized according to Ming regulations. Public affairs were handled through routine memorials (tiben), while individual or private affairs were reported to the emperor in private memorials (zouben). Later on, to enhance communication between the emperor and court officials, a system was gradually developed during the reigns of the Emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong, for the officials to directly present reports on the true state of affairs, private matters, and personal observations to the Emperor. Unlike the tiben and zouben which had to go through the Office of Transmission, the memorials were written, sealed and sent directly to the Imperial Palace by the officials. After the memorial had been read and commented on by the Emperor, and the official who presented the memorial had handled the issues as instructed by the emperor, the original was then sent to the Maoqin Hall for storage. After the Grand Council was established during the reign of Emperor Yongzheng, the memorials that had been read by the Emperor were sent to the Grand Council for copying. The materials of the Grand Council housed at the Museum are mostly copies of palace memorials, others are appendices to the palace memorials such as lists of all sorts, notes on diagrams and illustrations, interdepartmental communications, imperial decrees, personal correspondence, and official notices and notes.

The Museum houses a collection of over 150,000 palace memorials and around 190,000 copies of palace memorials from the Grand Council. The palace memorials were written either in the Chinese or the Manchu script, or a combination of both. Dating from the reigns of Emperors Kangxi to Xuantong, the contents are wide-ranging. Presented by the officials and reviewed by the emperors, these materials are first-hand resources for the study of Qing history. While the documents from the Grand Council are for the most part copies of palace memorials, the attached lists, tribute records, diagrams, and so on, as well as the documented date of review by the emperors are valuable historical references.

The digitization of the palace memorials and the archives of the Grand Council was completed in 2008. The catalogue is available for online browsing, and the digitized images can be viewed online for a nominal fee..

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