An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Jinsilu 金絲錄

Jan 28, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Jinsilu 金絲錄 "Golden silk" is China's oldest book on tobacco. It was compiled during the mid-Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Wang Shihan 汪師韓 (b. 1707), courtesy name Shuhuai 抒懷, from Qiantang 錢塘, Zhejiang. He obtained the jinshi degree in 1733 and his career was crowned with the position of junior compiler (bianxiu 編修) in the Hanlin Academy 翰林院. He left quite a few scholarly works on Confucian Classics like Guanxiangju Yizhuan jian 觀象居易傳箋, Xiaojing yueyi 孝經約義, Shi sijia guxun 詩四家故訓, Chunqiu sanzhuan zhujie buzheng 春秋三傳注解補正 or Wenxuan lixue quanyu 文選理學權輿.

His book on the tobacco plant and smoking was finished in 1737. It is divided into four chapters Origins (Qiyuan 原起), Thorough Discussion (Jutan 劇談), Appraise of types (Pinti 品題), and Taboos or Abstinence (Yanjie 煙戒). The largest part of the text consists of quotations on tobacco from other writings like Yao Lü's 姚旅 (fl. 1612) Lushu 露書, Fang Yizhi's 方以智 (1611-1671) Wuli xiaoshi 物理小識, Shen Hanguang's 申涵光 (1619-1677) Chishantang fushi 遲山堂鳧史, Fang Shiji's 方式濟 (1678-1720) Longsha jilüe 龍沙紀略, Zhang Jiebin's 張介賓 (1563-1642) Jingyue quanshu 景岳全書 or Ni Zhumo's 倪朱謨 (fl. 1624) Bencao huiyan 本草彙言, both in prose and in poetry form. The most interesting parts among the latter are the poems of Liu Wenxuan 劉文煊, Wang Kang 汪炕, Wan Guangtai 萬光泰 (1712-1750), and Zha Xueli 查學禮 (1716-1783). The texts closes with four poems on tobacco written by Wang himself.

The text is preserved in the collected writings of the author, Zongmu Wangshi yishu 叢睦汪氏遺書 that was published in 1886. In his book on tobacco, Yancaopu 烟草譜, Chen Zong 陳琮 (1731-1789) says that Wang's Jinsilu had once apparently been circulating as a separate book.

Guojia Yancao Zhuanmaiju Zhuanmai Guanli Si 國家煙草專賣局專賣管理司, ed. (1992). Zhongguo yancao baike zhishi 中國煙草百科知識 (Beijing: Zhongguo qinggongye chubanshe), 572.