Historical Geography Research ›› 2021, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (1): 67-79.

Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Formation, Characteristics and Historical-Geographical Value of City Construction Inscriptions in the Northwest China of the Ming and Qing Dynasties

Zhang Ping1,2   

  1. 1. School of History, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100089, China
    2. Center for Historical Geography Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • Received:2020-07-20 Online:2021-02-20 Published:2021-02-20


According to incomplete statistics, there are about 269 city construction inscriptions in Northwest China of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Among them, 32 original stelae still exist in the world, which are valuable first-hand materials for studying the history of cities. The city construction inscriptions of Gansu, Ningxia and Qinghai provinces are most distinctive among this type of inscriptions of the Ming dynasty, which retain a large number of Weisuo (military garrison units) and fortress building inscriptions. The state and county inscriptions mostly have several periods of successive records of city expansion, which are the overall narration of the expansion of city walls. Among all the contents of inscriptions, the state and county related are the most numerous, and the number of Weisuo and fortresses account for a certain proportion. Some other cities, such as post towns, fortress towns, are also preserved, even though the cases are very rare. As the first-hand materials, these inscriptions contain details of the process of city building, the time spent on the project, the amount of silver spent, and the number of donors, etc. These inscriptions are of great historical value for textual research on ancient city-building process, system restoration, social classes, and the expansion of urban functions and forms.

Key words: Ming and Qing dynasties, Northwest China, city construction inscription, value

CLC Number: 

  • K928