Manuscript Sino-Manchu phrasebook, Gongwen chengyu, being a glossary of phrases used in official documents. [Beijing? Qing Dynasty.] In 6 fascicles, rectos only, 165 x 110 mm. Plain wrappers; cloth folding case. Two fascicles with chipped wrappers, first fasc. with some repairs and small chips at ends, overall very good condition.
Provenance: Fang Chao-ying [1908-1985], noted historian and bibliographer of the Qing Period (ownership inscription on laid in leaf).
These official phrasebooks were used by governmental clerks from whom both Chinese and Manchu were required. This phrasebook is organized by category, with the category name written on the top corners. Although Manchu was the primary language of the Imperial Court, native Manchurians became quickly sinicized and the language was even then endangered. For a similar example, see Elliott/Bosson, "Highlights of the Manchu-Mongolian Collection," no 5, in Treasures of the Yenching, 2003.
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