Manchu Jin Ping Mei online

The Manchu translation of the Jin Ping Mei, the Gin ping mei bithe, can now be found online here, on the website of the Documentation and Information Center for Chinese Studies, Kyoto University, (see under 滿文金瓶梅 一百回)(1). Despite being a translation, the language of the Manchu Gin Ping Mei has been hailed as the finest of all Manchu literature by no less than Erich Haenisch: “Die Übersetzungssprache, die noch das lebendige Idiom verrät, leicht und flussig, wird von keinem anderen Werk der Mandschuliteratur erreicht” (1).


(1) If you use Firefox, the pictures may not appear. Using Internet Explorer should take care of it.

(2) Haenisch E., Mandschu-Grammatik, 1961, p. 149. Cf. also Laufer B., ‘Skizze der Mandschu Literatur’, Revue Orientale IX, 1908, p. 32.


Let the Sibe in!

Not much time for Manchu lately but here is a 1723 edict allowing Sibe to become members of the guard.

The Sibe were not originally part of the Manchu confederation. They had to wait an imperial audience in 1692 and the fact that the Kangxi emperor noticed they were speaking Manchu to be “freed from [Mongol] Khorchin’s rule and incorporated in the Eight Banners” (1). The process however did have its limitations (2) which is apparent from the fact that it took another 30 years for them to be drafted into the guard.

hūwaliyasun tob i sucungga aniya juwe biyai ice jakūn de.
dergi hese wasimbuhangge. sibe sebe bayara de gairakū bihe. ereci amasi esei dolo. haha sain ningge be inu bayara de gaikini. cohome wasimbuha:

On the 8th day of the 2nd month of the 1st year of the Yongzheng era, an edict was sent:
“(Until now) the Sibe were not chosen for the guard. From now on, let able men be chosen among them for the guard. Special edict.”

(1) Stary G., “Sibe: An endangered Language”, in Language Death and Language Maintenance: Theoretical, practical and descriptive approaches, CITL 240, John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2003, p. 81, but see (2) for a more nuanced view.
(2) The Sibe (and other groups) “were never wholly integrated with the Manchu Eight Banners” (Elliott M. The Manchu Way, p. 85 and n. 7, p. 502).