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Buhuang huibian 捕蝗彙編

Mar 11, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Buhuang huibian 捕蝗彙編 is a comprehensive book on pest control compiled during the late Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Chen Jin 陳僅 (juren degree 1813), courtesy name Yushan 餘山, style Huanshan 渙山, from Yinxian 鄞縣, Zhejiang. He was district magistrate of Ziyang 紫陽, Shaanxi, later that of Ankang 安康 in the same province. Chen also wrote a book on bamboo, Zhuhui 竹薈.

Even if locusts were a regular threat to harvest in China, the earliest specialized book on the topic, Buhuangkao 捕蝗考, was written by Chen Fangsheng 陳芳生 (c. 1650). Chen Jin's book has a length of 4 juan and presents in the first fascicle eight discourses on pest control (Buhuang ba lun 捕蝗八論) and the biology of locusts. The second part gives ten recommendations (Buhuang shi yi 捕蝗十宜) to prevent locust invasions, their reproduction and elimination. Part three consists of ten methods (Buhuang shi fa 捕蝗十法) to deal with in case of incidences of pests. The last chapter of the book quotes from four older texts to provide "evidence" (Shishi si zheng 史事四證). These are Ma Yuan's 馬源 Buhuangji 捕蝗記 (1759), Lu Shiyi's 陸世儀 (1611-1672) Chuhuangji 除蝗記, Li Zhongfen's 李鍾份 Buhuangfa 捕蝗法, and Ren Hongye's 任宏業 Buqiang bunan fa 布牆捕蝻法.

Of great interest is the introductory statement by the Kangxi Emperor 康熙帝 (r. 1662-1722), Buhuang shuo 捕蝗說, in which the sovereign stresses that even small harms constitute great havoc for the peasantry.

The only printed version surviving dates from 1845 and was produced by the Jiya Hall 繼雅堂 in Siming 四明 (i.e. Ningbo 寧波, Zhejiang). The book must have been written after 1836, as it twice mentioned this year. It is included in the series Zhongguo huangzhengshu jicheng 中國荒政書集成.

Another book with the title was written by Lou Zhong 婁鐘 (gongsheng 1825), courtesy name Xiaolin 曉林, from Zhanyi 霑益, Yunnan. The book, recorded in the bibliographical chapter of the local gazetteer (Xinzuan) Yunnan tongzhi (新纂)雲南通志 from the Republican period, is perhaps the same book as that of Chen Jin, but published under a different name.

Sources:
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. 1, 1449.
Nongye da cidian bianji weiyuanhui 《農業大詞典》 編輯委員會, ed. (1989). Nongye da cidian 農業大詞典 (Beijing: Zhongguo nongye chubanshe), 98.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 260.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 705.