An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Caolu jinglüe 草廬經略

Mar 20, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Caolu jinglüe 草廬經略 "Classical strategies from the Thatched Hut" is an anonymous book on military strategy written during the Ming period 明 (1368-1644). It was preserved as a manuscript in the possession of Zeng Mianshi 曾冕士 xxx. The name of the book is derived from the name of the recluse of the famous military strategist Zhuge Liang 諸葛亮 (181-234).

The book has a length of 12 juan that are divided into 151 chapters. A manuscript dating from the Daoguang reign-period 道光 (1821-1850) is only 6 juan-long. The first four fascicles explain the composition and training of military unit and the education of the officers. Juan five through ten speak of military strategy tactics and the use of cavalry and infantry units. The next two juan comment on warfare in watery, mountainous and flat regions, and refer to several strategical issues of Ming period warfare, namely the control of coastal piracy, the pacification of native tribes in south and northwest China, as well as the quelling of bandit gangs.

The book describes various weapons and implements, methods and principles of reward and punishment, divination for warfare, the use of military agro-colonies to support the border garrisons, and many more topics. The chapters of the Caolu jinglüe quote extensively from older military treatises and discuss traditional theories of strategy and tactics. These theories are illustrated by countless examples from history. The Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) commentator Wu Chongyao 伍崇曜 xxx praises this book for its in-depth study of the art of warfare, and compares it to Mao Yuanyi's 茅元儀 xxx military encyclopaedia Wubeizhi 武備志.

The Caolu jinglüe is included in the series Yueyatang congshu 粵雅堂叢書 and the Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編.

A manuscript from the early Qing period names a certain Huang Zhirui 黃之瑞 xxx as the author of the book. This version is today owned by the Neimenggu Zizhi Qu Tushuguan 內蒙古自治區圖書館. In another manuscript, owned by the Peking University Library 北京大學圖書館, the author is called Huang Qirui 黃啟瑞 xxx. There is a separate print of the book published in 1986 by the Guangwen Press 廣文刻印社 in Taiwan.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1623.
Lin Chongde 林崇德, Yang Zhiliang 楊治良, Huang Xiting 黃希庭, ed. (2003). Xinlixue da cidian 心理學大辭典 (Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 107.
Liu Qing 劉慶 (1996). "Caolu jinglüe 草廬經略”, in Feng Kezheng 馮克正, Fu Qingsheng 傅慶升, ed. Zhuzi baijia da cidian 諸子百家大辭典 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), 418.