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Binfeng guangyi 豳風廣義

Jan 18, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Binfeng guangyi 豳風廣義 "Spreading the [farming] customs of the region of Bin" is a book on agriculture compiled during the early Qing-period by Yang Shen 楊屾 (1687-1785), courtesy name Shuangshan 雙山. Yang hailed from Xingping 興平, Shaanxi, and never obtained an official position.

The title of the book is derived from a chapter in the Confucian Classic Shijing 詩經 "Book of Songs" the poems of which were allegedly composed by people from the region of Bin 豳 (also written 邠, today's Binxian 彬县, Shaanxi). The region was famous for its particular tradition of raising silkworms, which is also the focus of Yang's 3-juan-long book.

Figure 1. Cooking of cocoons and preparation for spooling threads
1742 edition.

Yang himself visited farmers in order to learn from them, and gained himself more than ten years of experience in silkworm breeding. His book was finished in 1740 and printed by the Ningyi Hall 寧一堂 before it was regularly published about two years later. It is a prove that silkworm production was indeed possible in a semi-arid region like western Shaanxi. Apart from sericulture, Yang talks about domestic animals, including medical care. An appendix provides information on horticulture. The book includes some illustrations.

It is included in the series Guanzhong congshu 關中叢書 and Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書. In 1962, the Nongye Chubanshe press 農業出版社 published a modern annotated edition.

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