An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Fanzi Jiran 范子計然

Jun 7, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Fanzi Jiran 范子計然, also called Fanzi wen Jiran 范子問計然 "Master Fan's questions to Jiran", was an ancient agricultural treatise. It is first mentioned in the imperial bibliography Jingjizhi 經籍志 in the official dynastic history Jiutangshu 舊唐書, where it is listed among the masters of the Five Progresses (wuxing jia 五行家), with a length of 15 juan "scrolls". The book is composed as a dialogue between Fan Li 范蠡, a minister in the Spring and Autumn period 春秋 (770-5th cent. BCE) state of Yue 越, and the expert Jiran 計然, who was no one else than the philosopher Xin Jian 辛銒, better known as Wenzi 文子. The bibliography Yiwenzhi 藝文志 in the history Xintangshu 新唐書 lists it among the agricultural treatises (nongjia 農家). It went lost before the Song period 宋 (960-1279), but it is quoted intensively in the Northern Wei period 北魏 (386-534) book Qimin yaoshu 齊民要術. The Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰 collected surviving fragments and published them in his reprint series Yuhanshanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書. Interestingly enough, the bibliographic treatise Yiwenzhi in the history Qingshigao 清史稿 mentions the Fanzi Jiran (in the shape of Ma Guohan's collection), as well as Huang Shi's 黃奭 collection of its fragments.

Gao Liushui 高流水 (1996). "Fanzi Jiran 范子計然", in: Feng Kezheng 馮克正, Fu Qingsheng 傅慶升 (ed.), Zhuzi baijia da cidian 諸子百家大辭典, p. 448. Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe.