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Guomai mintian 國脈民天

Jan 20, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Guomai mintian 國脈民天 "[Food is] the artery of the state and the people's heaven" is a general book on agriculture written during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Geng Yinlou 耿蔭樓 (d. 1638), courtesy name Xuanji 旋極, from Lingshou 靈壽 in today's Hebei province. He obtained the jinshi degree in 1625 and obtained an office in the local administration. Geng was killed during the Manchu invasion of the northeast.

The short book is divided into seven chapters explaining the methods of compartment fields (Qutian 區田), the "close [and rotating use]" of fields (Qintian 親田), planting (Yangzhong 養種), drying seeds (Shaizhong 曬種), the use of manure (Chufen 蓄糞), methods against draught (Zhihan 治旱), and preparations against natural disasters (Beihuang 備荒). There is also an appendix on irrigation (Gaitianfa 溉田法) It seems that Geng himself was very familiar with farming.

The text is included with the title Geng Songyang Xiansheng zhongtian fa 耿嵩陽先生種田法 in Pan Zengyi's 潘曾沂 (1792-1852) series Fengyu zhuangben shu 豐豫莊本書. Qin Jukui's 秦聚奎 (1553年-1627) print of the text includes an illustration on one area of compartment fields (Quqian yi mu tu 區田一畝圖). The book is also found in Zhao Mengling's 趙夢齡 collection Quzhong wu zhong 區種五種 (1878) and Wang Yuhu's 王毓瑚 (1907-1980) Quzhong shi zhong 區種十種.

Sources:
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1649.
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: Zhonggou nongye chubanshe), 1306.
Peng Shijiang 彭世獎 (1995). "Guomai mintian 國脈民天", in Zhongguo nongye baike quanshu 中國農業百科全書, Vol. Nongye lishi 農業歷史卷 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 132.
Wang Guozhong 王國忠 (1996). "Guomai mintian 國脈民天", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhonggou xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Keji 科技卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 440.
Wang Yonghou 王永厚 (1983). "Geng Yinlou he Guomai mintian 耿蔭樓和《國脈民天》", Hebei nongye keji 河北農業科技, 1983 (1): 21.
Wang Yonghou 王永厚 (1994). "Guomai mintian tiyao 《國脈民天》提要", in Ren Jiyu 任繼愈, ed. Zhongguo kexue jishu dianji tonghui 中國科學技術典籍通彙, part Nongxue 農學 (Zhengzhou: Henan jiaoyu chubanshe), Vol. 2, 915-916.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 187.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 514.