An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Baoxun 寶訓

Jan 29, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Baoxun 寶訓 "Precious instructions" is an agricultural treatise written during the mid-Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Hao Yixing 郝懿行 (1755-1823), courtesy name Xunjiu 恂九, style Langao 蘭皋, from Qixia 棲霞, Shandong. His highest office was secretary in the Ministry of Revenue (hubu zhushi 戶部主事). Hao also wrote a treatise on seafood, Jihaicuo 記海錯, and a book on bees, Fengya xiaoji 蜂衙小記.

The term baoxun was used for public announcements like the famous Huang-Ming baoxun 皇明寶訓 of Emperor Ming Taizu 明太祖 (r. 1368-1398), or the Buddhist treatise Chanlin baoxun 禪林寶訓.

The book of 8 juan length was finished in 1790. It is divided into eight chapters explaining miscellaneous or general matters of agriculture, the cultivation of grains, of mulberry trees, legumes, fruits, timber trees, medical herbs, and domestic animals. The text consists of agricultural principles (nongyu 農語, the "instructions" of the title, actually farmer's proverbs) as guidelines which are supported by quotations from ancient writings. The reason why Hao relied on vernacular sayings is that he was convinced that "the words of the streets and the villages reflect reality and practice" (jie tan li yu, yan jie zhu shi 街談里語、言皆著實).

The book was printed in 1882 and is included in Hao's collected writings, Haoshi yishu 郝氏遺書.

Table 1. Contents of the Baoxun 寶訓
1 雜說 Miscellaneous explanations
2 禾稼 Grains
3 蠶桑 Mulberry trees and silkworm breeding
4 蔬菜 Legumes
5 果實 Fruits
6 木材 Timber and wood
7 藥草 Medical plants and herbs
8 孳畜 Breeding of domestic animals
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijiing: Nongye chubanshe), 238.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Shenyang: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 556.
Zeng Xiongsheng 曾雄生 (1994). "Baoxun tiyao 《寶訓》提要", in Ren Jiyu 任繼愈, ed. Zhongguo kexue jishu dianji tonghui 中國科學技術典籍通彙, part Nongxue 農學 (Zhengzhou: Henan jiaoyu chubanshe), Vol. 4, 917-918.
Zhou Zhaoji 周肇基 (1995). "Baoxun 寶訓", in Zhongguo nongye baike quanshu 中國農業百科全書, Vol. Nongye lishi 農業歷史卷 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 7.