China has a long record of archival development, reaching back through the history of all its dynasties. From the late fourteenth century to the early seventeenth century, the Ming Empire (1368–1644 CE) constructed and operated its Yellow Register Archives in Nanjing to house population surveys used to determine imperial taxation. Although the actual archival records were destroyed, primary documents compiled by Ming archival officials survived, revealing the development of the imperial archives in premodern China. Those documents not only reveal the administrative structures and fiscal strengths of the Ming Dynasty but also present a comprehensive picture of archival practices in Ming China. As one of the world’s largest archival operations in history until its destruction in 1645, the Ming Yellow Register repository represents an important and fascinating chapter in the development of human record keeping and management.


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pp. 148-175
Launched on MUSE
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