An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Peiwenzhai guang qunfangpu 佩文齋廣群芳譜

Jun 17, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

(Yuding) Peiwenzhai guang qunfangpu 御定佩文齋廣群芳譜 "(Imperially endorsed) Extended notes of the Peiwen Study on all various herbs", shortly Guang qunfangpu 廣群芳譜, is an encyclopaedic description of numerous plants compiled on imperial order by a team under the supervision of Wang Hao 汪灝 (jinshi degree 1685) and Zhang Yishao 張逸少 (jinshi degree 1694) during the early Qing period 清 (1644-1911). The 100-juan-long book was begun in 1708 and is based on an earlier book from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644), Wang Xiangjin's 王象晉 (1561-1653) Qunfangpu 群芳譜.

The titles of the chapters are largely the same as in Wang's forerunner, but the part on "Heaven" and that on the seasons have been unified in the Guang qunfangpu. The new book leaves out general statements about natural disasters, omina and portents, and descriptions of the seasonal phaenology, as well as the chapter on the crane and fishes (Heyupu 鶴魚譜), which are not plants. The Guang qunfangpu begins with a general description of the plants in case, before starting with quoting from sources. The quotations of prose literature are called huikao 彙考, quotations from poetry jizao 集藻. There is a special part dedicated to the distinguishing of different species called bielu 別錄. The Guang qunfangpu has eliminated all parts about plant diseases which were an integral part of the Qunfangpu. The Guang qunfangpu tries to eliminate the weaknesses of Wang Xiangjin's earlier book, especially the fact that Wang had seldom tried to confirm the correctness of his sources from the books Huajing 花鏡 and Pushi 圃史. Only about 20 per cent of the Guang qunfangpu is a direct adoption of the text of the Qunfangpu, and the rest is new.

The Guang qunfangpu is included in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, which reproduces a print from 1708. In 1985 the Nongye Press 農業出版社 published a new edition, and in the same year the Shanghai Shudian Press 上海書店 also published a modern version of the Guang qunfangpu.

Table 1. Contents of the Guang qunfangpu 廣群芳譜
1.-6. 天時譜 Heaven and the seasons
7.-10. 榖譜 Grains
11.-12. 桑麻譜 Mulberry and hemp
13.-17. 蔬譜 Vegetables
18.-21. 茶譜 Tea
22.-53. 花譜 Flowers
54.-67. 果譜 Fruits
68.-81. 木譜 Trees
82.-86. 竹譜 Bamboos
87.-92. 卉譜 Herbs
93.-100. 藥譜 Medical herbs
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu, eds. 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1870.
Nongye da cidian bianji weiyuanhui 《農業大詞典》編輯委員會, ed. (1998). Nongye da cidian 農業大詞典 (Beijing: Zhongguo nongye chubanshe), 569.
Zhou Zhaoji 周肇基 (1995). "Guang qunfangpu 廣群芳譜", in Zhongguo nongye baike quanshu 中國農業百科全書, Vol. Nongye lishi 農業歷史卷 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 131.