Imperial Clan Court

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Imperial Clan Court
Agency overview
  • Office of the Imperial Clan (太宗正院)
Imperial Clan Court
Ming, Qing
Manchu name
Manchu script ᡠᡴᡠᠨ ᠪᡝ
Möllendorff uksun be kadalara yamun

The Imperial Clan Court or Court of the Imperial Clan was an institution responsible for all matters pertaining to the imperial family under the Ming and Qing dynasties of imperial China. [1]

Established in 1389 by the Hongwu Emperor, it was based on previous institutions like the "Court of the Imperial Clan" (宗正寺, Zōngzhèng Sì) of the Tang and Song dynasties and the "Office of the Imperial Clan" (太宗正院, Tài Zōngzhèng Yuàn) of the Yuan dynasty. [2] Under the Ming dynasty, the Court was managed by the Ministry of Rites; during the Qing, it was outside the regular bureaucracy. [3] Under both dynasties, the Court was staffed by members of the imperial clan. [4] Imperial clansmen who committed crimes were not tried through the regular legal system. [5] Qing imperial clansmen were registered under the Eight Banners, but were still under the jurisdiction of the Imperial Clan Court. [6] The Court used regular reports on births, marriages, and deaths to compile the genealogy of the imperial clan (玉牒, Yùdié). [7] The imperial genealogy was revised 28 times during the Qing dynasty. [8]


  1. Hucker 1985 , p. 531; Rawski 1988 , p. 233.
  2. Hucker 1985, pp. 530 (zongzheng si 宗正寺 as "Court of the Imperial Clan") and 531 (tai zongzheng yuan 太宗正院 as "Office of the Imperial Clan").
  3. Ming: Elman 2000 , p. 161. Qing: Rawski 1998 , p. 13.
  4. Hucker 1998 , p. 28.
  5. Wu 1970 , p. 9; Lui 1990 , p. 31.
  6. Banner registration: Elliott 2001 , p. 88. Jurisdiction: Rawski 1998 , p. 72; Rhoads 2000 , p. 46.
  7. Ming: Farmer 1995 , p. 92. Qing: Rawski 1998, pages 12 (marriages) and 75 (births and deaths; compilation of genealogy).
  8. Rawski 1998 , p. 75.


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