An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Nongjiayan 農家諺

Jan 17, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Nongjiayan 農家諺 "The farmer's proverbs" is a collection of proverbs or mnemonics (yan 諺) on farming compiled during the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220 CE) by Cui Shi 崔寔 (d. 170 CE). Cui is better known for his book Zhenglun 政論, a treatise on politics, and Simin yueling 四民月令, a collection of agricultural procedures through the year and arranged according to the seasons and months.

Of the proverbs, 26 are surviving, but from a linguistic and technical perspective, it seems that not all of them date from the Han period. The book was first mentioned during the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368), which is sufficient evidence that Cui Shi is likely not the actual author of the collection.

The text is preserved in the series Shuofu 說郛, Jujia bibei 居家必備 and Jujie yaolan 居家要覽.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1645.