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Hong-zhi: Year 14, Month 6, Day 23

7 Jul 1501

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Previously, the Emperor had conferred upon Li Hui, the king of the country of Annam, a ceremonial cap of leather, a set of formal robes and a set of ordinary robes. His attendant minister Liu Xing-xiao* memorialized: "Our country's king his received a king's fiefdom, but the ordinary robes which have been conferred upon him comprise a black gauze hat and other apparel. This is no different from what his ministers wear. It appears to be unsuitable and thus it is requested that the ordinary robes which have been conferred upon him be changed." The Ministry of Rites deliberated and advised: "Annam is secluded far on the Southern border and it has always admired culture and learning. As their ruler was to fulfil the duties of a minister, our former Emperors enfeoffed him as king of the country of Annam. The king was instructed to rule the area and to act as a screen for China. However, despite bearing the title 'king', he remained in fact a minister. This title has been inherited for over 100 years. The post, the level of robes and headwear to be conferred and the ritual for banquets provided to tribute envoys by the Court have all been formally stipulated. Whenever a king of that country dies and there is a request for Imperial grace and permission to inherit the throne, the Court graciously concerns itself with the distant people and sends an envoy to read the proclamation and to carry out the official sacrifices. The Emperor has recently conferred upon the king a ceremonial leather cap and a set of formal robes, so that the king will not be without honour as the ruler of his country. He has also conferred a set of first-grade ordinary robes upon the king, so that he would not forget the need to be respectful as a minister serving China. Both grace and ritual have been given attention, and his status must not be confused. Now, the attendant minister Liu Xing-xiao and so on, not being familiar with the Great Principles, want to exchange the ordinary robes Imperially conferred upon the king of that country for kingly robes, so that he can be differentiated from his ministers. They are not aware that the king of the country also has the status of a minister. The Court's orders have firmly set down titles and accoutrements. However, the submission of this memorial was not really the idea of Xing-xiao and so on. Rather, Fan Huai-jin, an interpreter of that country, in a guileful and evil way, encouraged them to submit the memorial. It is requested that they both be investigated and punished as a warning to those in future." The Emperor said: "It is appropriate that Fan Huai-jin and Liu Xing-xiao should be punished, but I am leniently pardoning them." The Ministry of Rites was ordered to examine and instruct them. *The text erroneously reads Liu Xiao-xing

Xiao-zong: juan 175.5b-6a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 58, page 3198/99

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Preferred form of citation for this entry:

Geoff Wade, translator, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, Singapore: Asia Research Institute and the Singapore E-Press, National University of Singapore, http://epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/reign/hong-zhi/year-14-month-6-day-23, accessed November 17, 2019