In another, extremely helpful answer we found the handwritten text underlying many claims about Empress Dowager Cixi’s illiteracy (see aforementioned answer for example of such claim). But how do we know, this is actually written in Cixi’s own hand? enter image description here


There are also very beautiful calligraphies attributed to Cixi, such as the following one (found here) bearing a seal „慈禧皇太后御筆“. My goal is to find out whether one of the documents is falsely attributed. It is also conceivable that her writing was bad in 1865, but very good around 1903, when Katherine Carl and others described her as highly skilled with the large brush.enter image description here

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    I don't read Chinese, but that whole document looks like being in the same handwriting to me; so is this image of a copy of her decree? Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 18:57
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    Who claimed that she had? You haven't posted information on the provenance of this image. Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 19:04
  • Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find anything apart from “the internet widely accepts that Cixi wrote this by hand”. There are no signatures or seals or anything. I’m afraid that you might have to resort to characterising her handwriting by samples that were known to have been written by Cixi (there are handwriting samples with her seal on it), which might not be a History SE question.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 19:37
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    OK, so the handwritten document is kept at The First Historical Archives of China (中國第一歷史檔案館), with document number (檔號) 05-13-002-000790-0014. If you want to find out more you'll have to take a personal trip there. It looks like it's kept under a glass frame.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 9:43
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    @AaronBrick I edited the question, because everyone was distracted from the question.
    – Ludi
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 22:26


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