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Cansang jiyao 蠶桑輯要

Mar 3, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

There are several books with the title Cansang jiyao 蠶桑輯要, the most important of which are the book by Gao Quan 高銓 (fl. 1831), and that of Shen Bingcheng 沈秉成 (1823-1895). The third is a product of official publication of the province of Zhili 直隸 (approx. today's Hebei; 1888), and the fourth was written by Zheng Wentong 鄭文同.

The 2-juan-long book of Gao Quan 高銓 is a summary of older writings on sericulture, with no new contributions. The 1831 edition was printed by Wang Qinglian 王青蓮 in Zunyi 遵義, Guizhou. Gao Guan also wrote a book called Wuxing sangshu 吳興桑書 which focuses on sericulture in the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

Shen Bingcheng 沈秉成, courtesy name Zhongfu 仲復, hailed from Gui'an 歸安 (today's Wuxing 吳興), Zhejiang, and had a successful career as defense commissioner (bingbei dao 兵備道) in southern Jiangsu, governor (xunfu 巡撫) of Anhui, and governor-general (zongdu 總督) of Liang-Jiang 兩江. During his service in the province of Jiangsu, he encouraged the farming population to engage in the sideline production of mulberry trees for silkworm raising. His book begins with official encouragements (quannong 勸農) and gives directives concerning sericulture. The text is divided into two parts, the first of which consists of quotations from older texts, while the second one presents illustrations on various matters of sericulture. The book closes with 20 poems written by the author's father Shen Bingzhen 沈炳震, courtesy name Dongfu 東甫. The book was finished in 1871 and printed by the circuit administration of Chang-Zhen-Tong-Hai 常鎮通海道署. Other editions were published by the Jinling Press 金陵書局, the Huiqing Press 會清書局, and the Jiangxi Press 江西書局.

The Zhili book, which is also known by the title Shusang yangcan yaolüe 樹桑養蠶要略, focuses on that province and combines older records with recent findings in practical methods of sericulture. An appendix presents Li Hongzhang's 李鴻章 (1823-1901) circular letter concerning "eight methods of mulberry cultivation" (Zhong shu ba fa 種樹八法). It was printed in 1888 by Fan Liang 范梁 and is included in the series Fanchi si zhong 蓮池四種.

The book of Zheng Wentong 鄭文同, courtesy name Shutian 書田, from Tongxiang 桐鄉, Zhejiang, was published in 1898, as a response to the Qing court's edict concerning the empire-wide promotion of silk production. It includes 12 methods of mulberry cultivation, 12 methods of silkworm breeding, 4 "miscellanous" rules, and an appendix of 16 rules on yarn production and 8 on "peeling cocoons". The text closes with Master Su's 蘇氏 "Discourse on disease prevention of silkworms" (Lun canhuan jiaomo wenbing 論蠶患椒末瘟病). xxx xuxiu

The book Cansang jiyao lüebian 蠶桑輯要略編 by Xu Gengxi 徐賡熙 was published in 1880 and focuses on sericulture in the province of Shandong. It is likewise the local response of government attempts at promoting the silk industry during the late Qing period 清 (1644-1911).

Sources:
Gao Guojin 高國金 (2017). "Xu Gengxi Cansang jiyao lüebian kaoshi 徐賡熙《蠶桑輯要略編》考釋", Gujin nongye 古今農業, 2017 (2): 78-85.
Ni Genjin 倪根金 (2016). "Cansang jiyao lüebian yu bianzhe Xu Gengxi 《蠶桑輯要略編》與編者徐賡熙", Gujin nongye 古今農業, 2016 (4): 67.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe) 254, 275, 283, 293.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 691.