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Nongpu sishu 農圃四書

Jun 15, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Nongpu sishu 農圃四書 "Four books on farming and orchards" is a collection of four texts on agriculture compiled during the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar and editor Huang Shengzeng 黃省曾 (1490-1540).

These four texts dealt with rice cultivation, silk production, fish-farming and the cultivation of chrysanthemums. Each book has a length of one juan. The four texts were first published as a joint edition under the name Nongpu sizhong by Zhong Mingchen 鍾名臣 and Hu Wenhuan 胡文煥 (c. 1600) in their series Tianyuan jingji congshu 田園經濟叢書 and Gezhi congshu 格致叢書.

1 稻品 Daopin Classes of rice
2 蠶經 Canjing Manual on silkworms
3 藝菊 Yiju Skills for chrysanthemums
3 魚經 Yujing Manual on fishes

The book Daopin 稻品 "Classes of rice" describes 27 different types of China's most important staple food. The "Manual on silkworms" Canjing 蠶經 is a detailed description of all steps in the process of sericulture in nine chapters, from the cultivation of the mulberry tree, to the shed where silkworms are raised, various tools, to spinning the yarn. The book Yiju 藝菊 "Artfully [cultivating] chrysanthemums" talks about the cultivation of chrysanthemums and is therefore an important addition to books that only refer to the various kinds of this flower, like Shishi Jupu 史氏菊譜, Liushi Jupu 劉氏菊譜 or Fancun Jupu 范村菊譜. It is divided into six chapters and talks about how to treat the soil, the seeds, shoots, and the plants, and also about the pots in which the flowers are grown. The "Manual on fishes" Yujing 魚經 (also called Yangyujing 養魚經 or Zhongyujing 種魚經) finally includes three chapters.

The Nongpu sishu is also found in the series Nongxue congke 農學叢刻.

Sources:
Fan Chuyu 范楚玉 (1994). "Nongpu sishu tiyao 《農圃四書》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. 2, 113-114.
Hao Xinyuan 郝新媛 (2014). "Huang Shengzeng Zhongyufa yanjiu 黄省曾《种芋法》研究", Anhu nongye kexue 安徽农业科学, 2014 (10): 3146-3149.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1649.<
Wei Luling 魏露苓 (1998). "Daopin zuozhe Huang Shengzeng kao 《稻品》作者黄省曾考", Zhongguo nongshi 中国农史, 1998 (3): 105-111.