明陵 定陵 德陵 多爾袞
Investigation into the Authenticity of the Legendary Destruction of the Ming
Tombs by the PeasantRebels and the Manchus
Department of Chinese, University of Hong Kong
According to many private historical works published in early Ch’ing, the peasant rebels were accused of having set fire to the Ming Tombs in 1644 on their way to invade Peking. On the other hand, there were also legends described how the Manchus further destroyed the Ming Tombs soon after they took over the rule of China. Such legendary incidents are still prevalent in modern historical writings, even though some contemporary scholars began to cast doubt on their credibility. Some contemporary scholars argue that only the Ting-ling (Tomb of Emperor Wan-li) had been burned down by the rebels; others even allege that the rebels had not ignited flame on any Ming Tombs at all. As for the role of the Manchus, a rather common ground in serious scholarship is that the Manchus had caused severe damage to the Ting-ling and the Te-ling (Tomb of Emperor Tien-ch’i). This article, however, demonstrates that at the material times the rebels had in reality cremated three Ming Tombs, whereas the Manchus were only responsible for the inflammation of the Ting-ling. The Manchus did kindle a destructive fire on the Te-ling, but it was in 1636, eight years before they began to rule China.
Keywords: liu-tse (wandering bandits), Ming Tombs, Ting-ling (Tomb of Emperor Wan-li), Te-ling (Tomb of Emperor Tien-ch’i), Dorgon