“Beijing” in Manchu/Sibe

Prompted by a discussion at Reddit on the rendering of “Beijing” in Manchu, here are a few examples I have met in my readings:

1) In the official biography of Sahaliyen (Uksun i wang gung sai gungge faššan be iletulere ulabun, fasc. 2, f°32a (1)):

omšon biyade. taidzung hūwangdi be dahame ming gurun be dailaname beging de nikenefi. geren beile sei emgi ming gurun i yuwan cung hūwan. dzu da šeo i dame jihe cooha be afame gidaha.

“In the eleventh month, following Hong Taiji, he approached Beijing in order to fight the Ming. With many beile, he defeated the army of Yuan Chonghuan and Zu Dashou that had come to help.”

2) In a Sibe primer, Niyamangga gisun (2006 edition), vol. 4, p. 99 (2):

bi beijing be hairambi. I love Beijing.

beijing oci musei gurun i gemun hecen. Beijing is the capital city of our country.


(1) Published in 1765 according to the StaatsBibliothek zu Berlin website, but maybe written earlier?

(2) Same in the 1992 edition, vol. 2, p. 32.


“No different than a Manchu”

 In 1773, during the Jinchuan war, The Qianlong emperor appointed officials for each of the three roads to be taken by the army on its way to attack the Cucin. While doing so, the emperor praises the Chinese official Han Guwe Hing. The way he does it is interesting and shows how much ethnic distinction was a factor to be reckoned with.

Also to be noted is the fact that only in the case of Han Guwe Hing did the emperor feel it was necessary to provide some explanation for his decision. The nomination of the Manchu officials Šucang and Hailanca to the same post is done without any justification.

dzanla cucin i ba be necihiyeme toktobuha bodogon i bithe. dehi sunjaci debtelin: (f° 1a-2b)

jorgon biyai sahahūn coko inenggi. dorgi yamun de dergi hese wasimbuhangge. wargi julergi juwe jugūn i coohai kūwaran. emgeri ishunde mejige hafumbuhabi. ereci cooha acafi uhei dailame dzanla be necihiyeme toktobuha manggi. uthai cucin de cooha guribufi. dalaha hūlha be jafafi jecen i ergi amaga jobolon be enteheme geterembuci ombi. te coohai jeku elgiyen tumin. giyan i ilan jugūn obume dendefi. coohai horon be algimbuci acara be dahame. wenfu be jecen be toktobure jiyanggiyūn sinda. agūi. fengšengge be gemu aisilara jiyanggiyūn sinda. jiyanggiyūn jai aisilara jiyanggiyūn i doron be. ashan i amban fuk’angga be tucibufi. giyamulame benebufi. uthai coohai kūwaran de bibufi meyen i amban de yabukini. wenfu i jugūn de šucang be hebei amban obu. agūi i jugūn de hailanca be hebei amban obu. han guwe hing udu niowanggiyan turun i nikan hafan bicibe. cooha gaifi afara bade dulembuhe bime. daci kiyan cing men i hiya de yabuha bihe. manju amban ci encu akū. fengšengge i jugūn de. uthai han guwe hing be hebei amban obu. jugūn dendefi sasa dosime. abkai dailan isibume. amba gungge be hūdun mutebufi. aiman i jobolon be enteheme geterembume kicekini sehe. (1)

Military annals of the war against the two Jinchuan. 45th fascicle (f°1a-2b)

“(…) Despite being a Chinese official of the Green Standard army, Han Guwe Hing has taken troops, experienced combat, and was formerly on guard at the Kiyan Cing Men (2). He is no different than a Manchu high official. Consequently, appoint Han Guwe Hing as Councillor for Fengšengge’s road. (…)”

It would be interesting to see how this passage is treated in the Chinese version of the text…


(1) To be read here.

(2) I. e. the Gate of Heavenly Purity (乾清门, qiánqīng mén).


Dai Yuwan gurun i suduri (5)

Taken from the Dai yuwan gurun i suduri, the Manchu History of the Yuan dynasty.

sahahūn ulgiyan aniya: wang han i ama juse. taidzu temujin be waki seme hebešeme toktobufi niyalma takūrafi. taidzu temujin i baru hendume: seibeni sadun jafaki sehe weile be te gisun gaiha: sini beye jio: muse sarin sarilame toktobuki: taidzu temujin tere gisun de akdafi juwan moringga niyalma be gaifi generede jugūn de taidzu temujin jing mujilen kenehunjeme ofi emu moringga niyalma be takūrafi. taidzu temujin tereci amasi bederehe: wang han ini arga muterakū ofi. uthai cooha ilifi taidzu temujin be afame jidere be. taidzu temujin i morin tuwakiyara cilisi gebungge niyalma tere mejige be donjifi alanjiha manggi: taidzu temujin uthai nuktei niyalma be gūwa bade guribuhe.

The year of the blackish pig, Wang Han’s father and his sons discussed the matter and decided to kill Taidzu Temujin. The sent someone to Temujin to say : “Having wanted to become in-laws a long time ago, now is the time! Come yourself, we will have a banquet”. Taidzu Temujin believed them and set out with ten horsemen. While traveling, he started to have doubts and sent a horsemen while he himself came back. As he could not be successful with his plot, Wang Han had his army get ready and went to attack Taidzu Temujin. After Cilisi, a horsekeeper of Taidzu Temujin, heard about this and he reported it, Taidzu Temujin moved the people of his pasture area to another place.

(Klaproth, 1828, Chrestomathie Mandchou, p. 162-163)

The 9th year of the Xuantong emperor

One can often read, at least in benevolent accounts, that Manchu remained in use as an official language until the end of the Qing dynasty, that is 1911-1912. It seems that this could be stretched even a bit further as is exemplified by a stone rubbing found in the 北图中国历代石刻拓本汇编, vol. 90. It is dated gehungge yoso uyuci aniya ilan biya, i. e. april 1917, a rather unusual date for a Qing document.

GY 9

Sun eclipse in the Manchu Kangyur

RahûThought I would try my hand at a Buddhist text for a change, not that I deem myself very familiar with this kind of texts but this one is not riddled with Buddhist terminology, which makes things easier.

For anything related to Manchu Buddhist texts, the Research Material on Manchu Buddhist Canon website is the place to go. Ten cases out of 108 have already been digitized a few years ago, I hope they have plans to do more at some point. Very useful are also the glossary and the catalog they provide.

For those interested in the genesis of the Manchu Tripitaka/Kangyur, M. Bingenheimer has written an article entitled History of the Manchu Buddhist Canon and First Steps towards its Digitization which makes for a very interesting read.

šun be jetere de hūlara nomun.
A sutra told when the sun was eaten.

uttu seme mini donjiha
Thus have I heard.

emu forgon de. fucihi sirawasdi hecen i dzida bujan anata bindadi i eiten be urgunjebure kūwaran de tembihebi.
At one time, the Buddha was dwelling in the Dzida woods (2) of the city of Sirawasdi (3), in the place-of-enjoying-all-things of Anata Bindadi (4).

nergin de rahū asuri han. šun i enduri be daliha manggi.
At that time, after Rahû, king of the Asuri, had concealed the sun,

šun i enduri. jalan i wesihun fucihi be hing seme gūninafi irgebuhe gisun. (5)
the sun god sincerely remembered the revered Buddha of the world and said:

eteme yongkiyafi colgoroko fucihi de dorolorongge.
“Hail to the all-victorious and prominent Buddha!

eiten dalibun be ukcabume geterembureo.
Would you please remove all obstacles quickly?

bi te dalibure jobolon de tušaha.
I am currently suffering from the sun being concealed.

hing sere unenggi gūnin i fucihi de dahambi.
I will sincerely submit to the Buddha.”

nergin de jalan i wesihun fucihi. šun i enduri i jalin. rahū asuri han i baru irgebume wasimbuha hese.
So the revered Buddha of the world, on behalf of the sun god, spoke to Rahû, king of the Asuri:

fucihi i jilan bireme jalan de akūnaha.
“The compassion of the Buddha has reached the whole world.

bata be etehe ineku jihe wesihun de šun i enduri emgeri dahaha be dahame.
Because the sun god now follows the revered thus-come who-has-vanquished-the-enemy,

rahū si hūdun subukini.
Rahû, quickly let [the blockade] be removed!

eiten butu farhūn be efulefi elden genggiyen abkai untuhun de eldekini.
Let every obscurity be destroyed and a bright light shine in the sky!

rahū si ume dalire.
Rahû, do not conceal [the sun]!

hūdun šun i elden be dahūbukini.
Let the light of the sun be restored quickly!”

uthai šun i enduri ci aljafi. da arbun dahūbufi.
At that moment, Rahû left the sun god and its previous form was restored.

asuri han bimadzidara i jakade genefi.
He went before Bimadzidara, king of the Asuri,

mujilen elhe akū beye šurgeme funiyehe sehehun ilifi bederefi
his mind was troubled, his body was trembling and his hair was raised on its head.

emu ergide tehe manggi. asuri han bimadzidara. rahū i baru irgebuhe gisun.
After he sat on one side, Bimadzidara, king of the Asuri, said:

rahū asuri si. ai turgunde šun ci aljahade. arbun giru yooni gūwaliyafi. geleme olhome mini jakade jiheni.
“Rahû! Why, when leaving the sun, has your whole appearance changed? And why did you come to me being fearful?”

rahū asuri han jabume irgebuhe gisun.
Rahû, king of the Asuri, answered:

bi fucihi i irgebun be donjifi.
“I heard the words of the Buddha saying:

aika šun ci aljarakū oci. uju nadan ubu efujefi. eiten jobolon gosihon be alimbi sehe:
‘if you do not leave the sun, I will break your head into seven pieces and you will experience every kind of suffering.'”

(1) Lin Shih-Hsuan has written an article about this text and its obscure origin (it is not referenced in the Taisho catalog and no Chinese parallel is known).
(2) Dzida bujan > (Skt.) Jetavana, “Jeta’s grove”. Jeta was the owner of the place before it became a monastery.
(3) Śravasti.
(4) Anāthapindika.
(5) One charming aspect of this text (and other Buddhist texts I have seen) is that characters are not merely “speaking” or “saying” but they “compose poetry” (irgebumbi) and “order” (wasimbuha hese). The latter is reminiscent of the treatment of the imperial utterances in other Manchu texts.

The Kangxi emperor on his health

 Kangxi’s instructions to Similai, quoted in a memorial by Funingga (KX61.9.21/30.10.1722)

si isinaha manggi. jiyanggiyūn. geren ambasai sain be fonji. bi onggolo aniya ci gala bethe umesi hūsungge. jetere omirengge sain bime. singgerengge inu sain. beye umesi mangga. yamji cimari hono muran i aba de genembi. erebe jiyanggiyūn ambasa de ala.

“After arriving, ask after the general’s and the officials’ health. As for me, arms and legs have been very strong during last year. Eating and drinking go fine, as well as digestion. My body is robust. Tomorrow evening (1), I am going to the Mulan hunt. Tell that to the general and the officials.”


(1) Not sure about that. Hauer (p. 524) has “die ganze Nacht” for yamji cimari but this does not seem to fit very well here. See the Muwa gisun on the Manchu Studies Group website for a translation by “tomorrow night”.


Taken from a manuscript kept at the BNF (Mandchou 149). This manuscript is a collection of short biographies of Mongol individuals, recording mainly when they were promoted to a new rank or bestowed some title.

kalkai jasak i gurun de aisilara gung bahai i da sekiyen.

bahai i dade kalkai taiji bihe. hūwaliyasun tob i uyuci aniya suke aldaho i bade geren ci colgorome faššahangge ambula saišacuka seme cohotoi kesi isibume jasak i uju jergi taiji obuha. amala erdeni joo i bade geli hūlha be ambarame wafi gung ilibuhangge ambula saišacuka seme hūwaliyasun tob i juwanci aniya dabali kesi isibume imbe gurun de aisilara gung obuha:

Origin of Bahai bulwark duke of the Khalkha jasak (1)

Originally Bahai was a Khalkha taiji. Because in the 9th year of Yongzheng (1732) at Suke Aldaho he surpassed everyone and his efforts were highly praiseworthy, special favor was bestowed on him and he was made first rank taiji of the jasak. Because later at Erdeni Joo (2) he killed a great number of rebels and showed great merit, bestowing additional favor he was made bulwark duke in the 10th year of Yongzheng (1733).

(1) jasak is translated in Norman as “chief of a Mongol banner”, but here it seems to mean the banner itself.
(2) Erdeni Zhao/Erdeni Zuu.

Dai yuwan gurun i suduri (4)

“Temujin can not be trusted” (Klaproth, Chrestomathie Mandchou, p. 151-152).

taidzu temujin geli naiman aiman i cioi siowei u. sabar gebungge juwe jiyangjiyūn i cooha be ucarafi. šun yamjire jakade: cimaha inenggi afaki seme boljofi. meni meni ing de bederehe: samuho aiman i ejen niyalma takūrafi wang han i baru hendume: bi. si seci šanggiyan ashangga cecike i adali: tereci gūwa gemu niongniyaha i adali kai: šanggiyan cecike šahūrun halhūn ocibe kemuni amargi bade bimbi: niongniyaha šahūrun ohode halukan babe baime julesi deyeme genembikai: temujin i mujilen de akdaci ojorakū:

Then Taidzu Temujin met the army of Cioi Siowei U and Sabar, two generals of the Naiman tribe. Because the sun was setting, they decided that the fight would take place on the morrow and they all went back to their camp. The chief of the Samuho tribe sent someone to Wang Han to say : “You and I, we are like small white-winged birds. Compared to us, the others are like geese. Should it be cold or hot, small white-winged birds remain in the north. But geese, when the cold has come, they go south, looking for heat. Taidzu Temujin can not be trusted.”

A tale from the Manchu Sidi Kur

Following on last post, here is a text mentioning a tree that has leaves ‘as big as cart wheels’. As in Donjina’s story, the encounter with the tree does not end well for the hero. Maybe this is just a coincidence, maybe there is some common motive behind the two stories.

The text is the 14th tale of the Manchu Sidi Kur. The Manchu translation has been traced back by its editor to a Mongol one. The tales originally came from India and reached Mongolia through Tibet. See here for more details about the different versions of the cycle.

The lustful king (summary)
Somewhere in India, there was a mountain on top of which grew a tree with leaves as big as cart wheels. In the leaves were living 500 heavenly maidens. One day, a king saw their shadow (reflection?) in the lake below the tree and ordered his ministers to bring him the girls. He then promises to make a minister of the man who will give him what he wants.

A bird-catcher then manages to catch one maiden with his net but she is only a decoy set up by the maidens in order to make fun of the king and of the bird-catcher. The girl he has caught is made of paper and will look like a real girl for seven days only.

The king is overjoyed, he expels his 500 wifes and replaces them by the heavenly maiden. Seven days later, he finds only paper in place of the girl. Ashamed and embarrassed, he puts the bird-catcher to death.

buyen de amuran han i juwan duici julen.
tereci geli nenehe songkoi genefi enduri be unufi jidere de: enduri hendume. neneme geren julen be bi alaha: bai goro de ališambi: te si emu julen ala: akūci mimbe ala seci oncohon geheše sehe manggi: han oncohon gehešehe: enduri alame. julgei enethe gurun i bade emu amba alin bi: tere alin i ninggude. emu necin bai dulimbade emu amba moo bi: tere mooi abdaha sejen muheren i gese amban: tere abdaha de abkai sunja tanggū sargan juse. inenggi dulinde jifi sebderide eficembi: tere alin ci emu amba bira eyehebi: birai sekiyen de emu genggiyen amba omo bi: tere omoi jakade. emu buyen de amuran han bihebi: emu inenggi tere han. omoi dalirame niyehe gabtame yabure de: abkai sargan jusei helmen mukei dolo sabumbi: han tere be sabufi. ambasai baru hendume: ere gese hocikon sargan juse be minde benju: benjirakū oci geren ambasa be fafun i gamambi sehe manggi: emu amban jabume: han ere sargan juse serengge. ere alin i dele emu amba moo bi: tere mooi dele abkai sargan juse eficembi: saburengge terei helmen kai: tere be adarame jafaci ombi: han geli hendume tuttu oci. yaya emu niyalma bahafi benjihede. tere niyalma de amba hafan bure seme gisun selgiyehe: tere han i gurun de. deyere gasha be asu maktame jafara emu niyalma bihebi: tere niyalma donjifi. han i jakade jifi. tere sargan jui be bi jafafi. benjire: minde šangnara wesimbure be. han sa sefi genehe: moo de hanci isiname abkai sargan juse sabufi hendume: ai. ere jalan de niyalma dule umesi mentuhun nikai: jilgan(?) buyen de amuran han muse be sargan gaiki serede: ere sui isika niyalma muse be jafafi buki. basa gaiki seme jihebi kai: ini han be geren i juleri yertebuki: ere sui isika niyalma be ineku wakini seme. ini beyei adali hoošan i hocikon sargan jui arafi. nadan inenggi dolo ergen bisire fa maktafi: tere mooi ninggude sindafi genehe: tere gasha butara niyalma isinafi; tere hoošan: araha sargan jui be asu maktame jafafi. abkai sargan jui be jafaha seme. han de benjihe manggi: han geren ambasa ambula ferguweme: han ini sunja tanggū fujin be bošofi. tere be fujin obuha: gasha butara niyalma de ambula šangnaha: tere sargan jui nadaci inenggi fa wajimbi. han i jibehun i dolo hoošan ofi bi: tere be han sabufi ambula yertefi. ere gasha butara niyalma be waha sere jakade: elhe yabungga han hendume: ini weilehe sui de bucehe nikai sehe manggi: enduri hendume: kesi akū han: angga ci jilgan tucike sefi genehe: