An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Jiaojiashu 教稼書 and Zengding jiaojia shu 增訂教稼書

Mar 3, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Jiaojiashu 教稼書 "Instruction in farming", original title Quzhong tushuo 區種圖說 "Illustrated explanations of shallow-pit farming" is a book on agriculture written during the early Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Sun Zhaikui 孫宅揆, courtesy name Xizai 熙載, style Yizhai 毅齋. The short book itself is based on a text of Zhu Longyao 朱龍耀. It is introduced by a poem of Zhu, Qutian xing 區田行 (Zhu Gong qutian yin 朱公區田引).

Zhu Longyao, courtesy name Yunshu 蘊叔, was a public servant in the province of Shanxi, and wrote in 1714 a book focusing on disaster relief of the dry region he served in. The main text is composed of explanations on shallow pits or compartment fields (qutian 區田), the appearance the field and its boundaries (quanmu 畎畝), fertilization, and general recommendations. The text is accompanied by three images. It was published in 1721.

Both Zhu and Sun had in mind to popularize basic knowledge about farming methods possible in dry regions and under harsh conditions.

The book is found in the series Lianchi si zhong 蓮池四種, Zhao Mengling's 趙夢齡 Quzhong wu zhong 區種五種, as well as the modern series Quzhong shi zhong 區種十種 (1955). The text is also quoted in the statecraft encyclopaedia Huangchao jingshi wenbian 皇朝經世文編 and Shen Zhaoyun's 沈兆沄 (1784-1877) essay collection Fengchuang suilu 蓬窗隨錄.

A revised and enlarged version of this book, Zengding jiaojiashu 增訂教稼書, was published in 1778 by Sheng Bai'er 盛百二 (b. 1720), courtesy name Qinchuan 秦川, style Youtang 柚堂, from Xiushui 秀水 near Jiaxing 嘉興, Zhejiang. Sheng's book is arranged in 2 fascicles, the first of which is the original Zhu-Sun text of the Jiaojiashu, and the second one Sheng's own version. The latter goes beyond the topic of shallow-pit fields and explains crop rotation (daitian 代田), the cultivation of sweetpotato and Sichuan sorghum (Shushu 蜀黍), land clearing, the treatment of sandy grounds, and many other practical aspects. Sheng quoted a lot from Zhang Lüxiang 張履祥 (1610-1674) book Bu nongshu 補農書.

Sheng's version is included in his collected writings, Youtang quanji 柚堂全集 and the two series Quzhong wu zhong and Quzhong shi zhong.

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Wang Yonghou 王永厚 (1983). "Jiaojiashu he Zengding jiaojiashu 《教稼書》和《增訂教稼書》", Shandong nongye kexue 山東農業科學, 1983 (1): 52-53.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 215, 235.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 772, 922.