Other Documents in National Palace Museum
Welcome to the National Palace Museum's collection of other documents from China's imperial past! Here, you can explore a variety of different documents, including the Gold-leaf Tributary Document from Siam, Diplomatic Credentials Presented by The Great Qing Empire's Overseas Survey Envoy to The Great British Empire and Edicts for the Personal Rule of the T'ung-chih Emperor. These documents provide us with a unique insight into how people interacted with each other during this time period. Come take a look at these incredible artifacts today!
1. Gold-leaf Tributary Document from Siam
This is the "Gold-leaf Tributary Document from Siam" with highly exquisite binding. Although the word "piao" was the term that Qing dynasty government required that its vassal states use to refer to themselves when writing to the emperors of China, whether the vassal states accepted and approved such position held by China as a heavenly monarchy remain to be deciphered from the content of the piao. On May 26, 1781, Taksin (1734-1782), the king of Siam, sent his envoy on a tribute mission to the Qing government; the list of tribute items, which is currently housed in the National Palace Museum, contains one gold-leaf tributary document, a male elephant, a female elephant, ligumaloes, ambergris, diamonds, Western blankets, peacock feathers, green leather, ivories, rhino horns, Acronychia pedunculata, sandalwood, resin of sweetgum, camphor, bifa, cardamoms, gamboges, chaulmoogratree seeds, ebonies, cinnamons, honey skin, Sappanwood, among others. In addition to these "official" tributes, Taksin also prepared a male elephant, one picul of rhino horns, 100 piculs of ivories, 300 piculs of yangxi, 100 piculs of gamboges, 3,000 piculs of pepper, and 1,000 piculs of Sappanwood; these tributes were excluded from the official list of tributes for fear of the tributes exceeding the tribute limit. Experts generally believe that this "Gold-leaf Tributary Document from Siam" was sent by Taksin. Taksin, who successfully repelled the invading Burmese army, was promoted to the King of Siam.
2. Diplomatic Credential Presented by the Great Qing Empire's Overseas Survey Envoy to the Great British Empire
Diplomatic credentials are official documents sent by the head of state, as representative of his government, to the head of another country. As instruments in international negotiations, they were sent by special emissaries. As credentials of appointment or dismissal of foreign envoys, they were presented by the envoy himself.
3. Edicts: Edict for the Personal Rule of the T'ung-chih Emperor
An edict is one of the "sacred instructions" (or decrees) issued by the emperor. The intended audience is the widest possible, the purpose being to inform all officials, nobility, and commoners of the land about the emperor's orders. Edicts basically all deal with matters of great national importance, with almost all of them intricately bound to some major historical event. In 1862, the Tongzhi Emperor assumed the throne at the tender age of six. Two dowager empresses, however, ruled behind the scenes for eleven years, before the emperor personally assumed control of the country, proclaiming this fact to all with this document