History of Jin

Not to be confused with Book of Jin.

The History of Jin, or Jin Shi (Chinese: 金史; pinyin: Jin Shi) is a Chinese historical text, one of the Twenty Four Histories, which details the history of the Jin dynasty founded by the Jurchens in northern China. It was compiled by the Yuan dynasty historian and minister Toqto'a.

History of compilation

Although the Jin dynasty was destroyed by the Mongols in 1234, the initiative for writing a dynastic history - in accordance with Chinese political traditions - was only begun under Kublai Khan, who had decided to embrace Chinese political norms and found the Yuan dynasty. In 1261 the idea of compiling histories for both the Jin and Liao dynasties was first mooted, and after the conquest of Southern Song, the project was expanded to compile all three histories.

Issues with the format and rules of compilation, however, hampered progress, and it was only in 1343 that the imperial commission was finalised, with Toqto'a as the overseer, and a team of six, including the scholar Ouyang Xuan, as chief compilers. The work was completed in just over a year.

For its material, the History of Jin drew heavily on the historical records of the Jin dynasty itself, while the events of its final years drew heavily on the private works and records of scholars such as Yuan Haowen, Liu Qi, Yang Huan and others.

The History of Jin was translated into Manchu as ᠠᡳᠰᡳᠨ ᡤᡠᡵᡠᠨ ᡳ ᠰᡠᡩᡠᡵᡳ (Wylie: Aisin gurun i suduri, Möllendorff: Aisin gurun i suduri).

The Qianlong Emperor of the Qing dynasty used the Manchu language to "correct" Chinese character transcriptions of Jurchen language names in the History of Jin in his "Imperial Liao Jin Yuan Three Histories National Language Explanation" (欽定遼金元三史國語解) project.

Qianlong's "corrections" ended up compounding the errors and making the transcription of some foreign words even worse.[1] Marshall Broomhall wrote that "So unscientific was this work that the K'ien-lung editions of the Liao, Kin, and Yüan histories are practically useless."[2] Emil Bretschneider demonstrated how the etymologies in the Qianlong edition were incorrect.[3]


The History of Jin contains a total of 135 scrolls, or chapters, divided as follows:

A list of 125 Jurchen language words transcribed in Chinese characters can be found in the Jin Guoyu Jie ("Explanation of the national language of the Jin" 金國語解), an appendix to the History of Jin. It is found in Chapter 135 - 金史/卷135.[4] Alexander Wylie translated the list into English and Manchu.[5][6]

Researches on Manchu Origins contained a list of corrections of the transcribed Jurchen words found in the History of Jin in Chapter 135 - 金史/卷135, using the Manchu language to correct them, found in Chapter 18 - 滿洲源流考/卷18


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