Pingshi 瓶史 is a book on vase flowers written during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Yuan Hongdao 袁宏道 (1568-1610), courtesy name Zhonglang 中郎, style Shigong 石公, from Gong'an 公安, Hubei. His collected writings are called Yuan Zhonglang ji 袁中郎集.
Yuan was not very interested in his job in the public service, and soon began to engage in flower cultivation, a hobby about which he wrote a book. Pingshi was finished in 1599 or 1602 and is divided into two fascicles. In the first part, Yuan explains positive (Pinghua zhi yi 瓶花之宜) and negative (Pinghua zhi ji 瓶花之忌) influences on and treatment of flowers, as well as methods to arrange them and preserve their freshness (Pinghua zhi fa 瓶花之法). Some authors hold that these three chapters were written by the play-writer Gao Lian 高濂 (around 1600), author of the study Zunsheng bajian 遵生八箋, and not by Yuan Hongdao himself. The second part consists of twelve chapters speaking about types of flowers, classification, tools, water and watering, positioning and presentation, as well as the appraisement of flower decorations.
Pingshi is a very comprehensive book and is written in a ludic and clear style. It was therefore readily accepted by Chinese readers and was also transmitted to Japan. It is found in the series Shuofu 說郛, Chongding Xinshangbian 重訂欣賞編 , Jieyueshanfang huichao 借月山房彙鈔, Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 and Meishu congshu 美術叢書.