An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Runan pushi 汝南圃史

Feb 25, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Runan pushi 汝南圃史 is a history of garden culture written during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Zhou Wenhua 周文華 (fl. 1620), courtesy name Hanzhang 含章, from Suzhou 蘇州, Jiangsu. The book with a length of 20 juan was finished in 1620. Runan is an alias for the author's family name, Zhou, as it was the home region of his ancestors. Zhou was a clerk in the Court of Imperial Entertainments (guanglusi li 光祿寺吏).

Zhou was inspired for this book by Zhou Yunzhai's 周允齋 book Huashi 花史, which he deemed too brief. His own book presents the topic of gardening in twelve chapters.

As the book focuses on the lower Yangtze region, fruits of north China like the Chinese chestnut (pingpo 蘋婆 or fengyanguo 鳳眼果, Sterculia monosperma) or of south China like the Lingnan lychee are not mentioned. Some chapters of the book are also not well balanced. Water melons (xigua 西瓜), for example, are not included in the chapter on melons, but in that on fruits, and Chinese boxthorn (gouqi 枸杞, Lycium chinense), is not found in the chapter on thorny plants, but in that on vegetables. Nonetheless, Zhou's book includes valuable and scholarly reliable material, and therefore deserves mentioning.

The general chapter presenting twelve rules of cultivation presents techniques of sowing, "Twelve methods of planting" introduces 12 cultivation and management methods, such as planting, sub-planting, cutting, connecting and changing, layering, pasting, transplanting, rectifying, watering, cultivating, picking fruit, and harvesting seeds. “栽種十二法”介紹了下種、分栽、扦插、接換、壓條、過貼、移植、整頓、澆灌、培壅、摘實、收種等12項栽培管理方法。 xxx

The book was not very widespread. Apart from the 1620 edition, printed by the Jinchang Lüyin Hall 金閶綠蔭堂, there was the editoin from the Shudai Studio 書帶齋 published shortly later, and some manuscripts editions.

Table 1. Contents of the Runan pushi 汝南圃史
1 月令 Cultivation with the seasons
2 栽種十二法 Twelve rules of cultivation
3 花果部 Flowers
4 木果部 Non-fruit trees
5 水果部 Fruits
6-7 木本花部 Flowering trees
8 條刺花部 Thorny plants
9-10 草本花部 Herbaceous plants
11a 竹木部 Bamboos
11b 草部 Herbs
12a 蔬菜部 Legumes
12b 瓜豆部 Melons, gourds and beans
Chen Yaohua 陳耀華 (1996). "Runan pushi 汝南圃史", in Zhongguo nongye baike quanshu 中國農業百科全書, Vol. Guanshang yuanyi 觀賞園藝卷 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 363.
Ge Xiaohan 葛小寒 (2020). "Cong Shuyipian dao Runan pushi: Mingdai nongshu shengchan guocheng de ge’an yanjiu 從《樹藝篇》到《汝南圃史》———明代農書生產過程的個案研究", Ziran kexue shi yanjiu 自然科學史研究, 2020 (1): 65-68.
Ge Xiaohan 葛小寒, Wu Hao 吳昊 (2017). "Runan pushi yu Mingdai Jiangnan yinshi wenhua 《汝南圃史》與明代江南飲食文化", Sichuan Lüyou Xueyuan xuebao 四川旅游學院學報, 2017 (6): 19-23.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1869.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 178.
Yang Baolin 楊寶霖 (1995). "Runan pushi 汝南圃史", Zhongguo nongye baike quanshu 中國農業百科全書, Vol. Nongye lishi 農業歷史卷 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 282.