An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Wusheng gouxu tushuo 五省溝洫圖說

Feb 17, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Wusheng gouxu tushuo 五省溝洫圖說 "Illustrated treatise on water conservancy projects in five provinces" was compiled during the mid-Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Shen Menglan 沈夢蘭, who hailed from Wuxing 吳興, Zhejiang. He had obtained the jinshi degree in 1783 and was district magistrate (zhixian 知縣) of Yidu 宜都, Hubei.

The book of 1 juan is the result of his studies on ancient irrigation which he carried out in the course of his lectures on the ritual Classic Zhouli 周禮 in 1799. It starts with four maps with explanative text, and then provides an overview of canal and dyke systems in the region. The text then details the conditions of the provinces of Hubei (at the time called Zhili 直隸), Henan, Shaanxi, Shandong, and Shanxi.

The book quotes from important texts on the issue, foremost Xu Zhenming's 徐貞明 (d. 1590) Lushui ketan 潞水客談, Shi Huang's 施璜 (fl. 1653) Jinsilu faming 近思錄發明 and Liu Tianhe's 劉天和 Wenshuiji 問水集. These studies are illustrated by figure showing drainage fields (quantian 甽田) and shallow-pit compartment fields (qutian 區田). The text closes with 6 small essays written by Shen Menglan himself.

The book was printed in 1799, 1879, 1880, and 1891. In 1963, the Nongye Press 農業出版社 published a modern edition.

Nongye da cidian bianji weiyuanhui 《農業大詞典》編輯委員會, ed. (1998). Nongye da cidian 農業大詞典 (Beijing: Zhongguo nongye chubanshe), 1771.
Peng Shijiang 彭世獎 (1995). "Wusheng gouxu tushuo 五省溝洫圖說", in Zhongguo nongye baike quanshu 中國農業百科全書, Vol. Nongye lishi 農業歷史卷 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 332.
Wang Zhaoming 王兆明, Fu Langyun 傅朗雲, eds. (1991). Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Vol. Dili 地理卷 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 39.