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Mashou nongyan 馬首農言

Jan 29, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Mashou nongyan 馬首農言 "Words on agriculture in Mashou" is a book on farming written during the mid-Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Qi Juzao 祁寯藻 (1792-1866), courtesy name Chunpu 春圃, Chunfu 淳甫 or Shuying 叔穎, style Guanzhai 觀齋 from Shouyang 壽陽, Shanxi. Qi obtained his jinshi degree in 1814 and was Minister of Rites (libu shangshu 禮部尚書) and Grand Academician (daxueshi 大學士) of the the Hall of the Embodiment of Kindness (Tirenge 體仁閣). Mashou is a place name in the district of Shouyang.

The short book was finished in 1836. It is divided into 14 chapters speaking on weather, cultivation in general, farming tools, irrigation, domestic animals, disaster relief, spinning and weaving of silk, diseases of grain and their treatment, sacrifices, farmer’s proverbs and local expressions, prognostication, and prices of agricultural produce.

The Mashou nongyan was first printed in 1855. It is included in the series Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書. In 1991, the Nongye Press 農業出版社 published a modern, annotated version. It is also part of the collection Qin-Jin nongyan 秦晉農言 from 1957 (edited by Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚), together with Yang Shen's 楊屾 (1699-1794) Zhiben tigang 知本提綱, and Yang Xiuyuan's 楊秀元 Nongyan zhushi 農言著實.

Table 1. Contents of the Mashou nongyan 馬首農言
1 地勢氣候 Soil and weather
2 種植 Sowing and replanting
3 農器 Farming tools
4 農諺 Farmer's proverbs
5 占驗 Prognostication
6 方言 Local dialect expressions
7 五穀病 Diseases of the five types of grain
8 糧價物價 Prices of grain and various objects
9 水利 Irrigation and water conservation
10 畜牧 Domestic animals
11 備荒 Precautions for disaster relief
12 祠祀 Sacrifices
13 織事 Spinning and weaving
14 雜說 Miscellaneous explanations
Sources:
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Gao Enguang 高恩廣, Hu Fuhua 胡輔華 (1987). "Mashou nongyan pingjie 《馬首農言》評介", Shanxi nongye kexue 山西農業科學, 1987 (3): 36-39.
He Hongzhong 何紅中 (2008). "Cong Mashou nongyan Lianjia wujia kan Qingdai zhong-houqi Shanxi Shouyang diqu liangjia wujia biandong ji qi shangpinhua 從《馬首農言·糧價物價》看清代中後期山西壽陽地區糧價物價變動及其商品化", Nanjing Nongye Daxue xuebao (Shehui kexue ban) 南京農業大學學報(社會科學版), 2008 (3): 107-111.
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Wang Qian 王茜, Huo Kairui 霍凱蕊, Gao yan 高燕 (2018). "Jinzhong fangyan zhong nongye dongci ji nonggeng wenhua yanjiu: Yi Mashou nongyan wei li 晉中方言中農業動詞及農耕文化研究——以《馬首農言》为例", Mingzuo xinshang 名作欣賞, 2018 (23): 158-160.
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Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 67.
Yang Zhimin 楊直民 (1994). "Mashou nongyan tiyao 《馬首農言》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. 4, 981-982.