An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Nongsangjing 農桑經

Feb 14, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Nongsangjing 農桑經, also called Nongcanjing 農蠶經 "The book on agri- and sericulture", is a relatively short text compiled by the famous story writer Pu Songling 蒲松齡 (1640-1715). The 2-juan-long book was finished about 1705 and is included in editions of Pu's collected writings like Pu Songling ji 蒲松齡集 (Zhonghua Shuju 1962) or Liaozhai yiwen jizhu 聊齋佚文輯注 (Qi-Lu Shushe Press, 1968).

The book focuses on agricultural customs as prevalent in the region of Zibo 淄博 in northern Shandong. There exist two different versions of the text with deviating contents. One version in introduced by a preface dated 1705. The preface explains that idea of the book is based on Master Han's "Instructions on farming" (Hanshi nongxun 韓氏農訓, perhaps identical with the book Hanshi zhishuo 韓氏直説). The agriculture part of this version (Nongjing 農經) consists of the descriptions of monthly duties, but only until the ninth lunar month. There are two appended chapters, one on "Miscellaneous prognostication" (Zazhan 雜占), and "Precautions for natural disasters" (Yuzai 御災). The sericulture part is constituted by the parts Canjing 蠶經 "Silkworm book", Bu canjing 補蠶經 "Supplement to the silkworm book", Cansuishu 蠶歲書 "Silkworm breeding through the year" (with regard to auspicious or non-auspicious days), and Zhongsangfa 種桑法 "Methods of mulberry cultivation".

The second version of the original book is called Nongcanjing cangao 農蠶經殘稿 "Fragmentary draft". Apart from the enumeration of monthly duties, the first part provides information on ploughing (Gengtian 耕田), disaster relief (Jiuhuang 救荒), animal husbandry (Chuyang 畜養), fish breeding (Yangyu 養魚), bee apiculture (Yangla 養蠟), and flower cultivation (Zhuhuapu 諸花譜). The text quotes from numerous interesting books on animal husbandry, like Ning Qi fanniu jing 寧戚飯牛經 (bovines), Bo Le xiangma jing 伯樂相馬經 (horse inspection), Gongsun Hong yangzhu fa 公孫弘養豬法 (pigs), Bu Shi yangyang fa 卜式牧羊法 (sheep), Guafu Qing yangji fa 寡婦清養鷄法 (chicken) or Wang Zhongxuan yanglü fa 王仲宣養驢法 (donkeys).

Yet the second part (Shuzhai yazhi 書齋雅制) of the version is dedicated to objects and activities of the study, like calligraphy and painting, mounting pictures (zhuanghuang 裝潢), jewelry, toys, stones, or other collectibles. All this has nothing to do with agriculture. The part on disaster relief gives numerous examples of various measures in old times, like Liu Jingxian's 劉景先 "prescriptions to read by the sovereign" (yulanfang 御覽方), hints at which wild herbs could be eaten, hot to replace staple grain, or how to walk without loosing to much energy.

Amano Motonosuke 天野元之助, Tao Zhengang 陶振綱 (1993). "Qing Pu Songling Nongsangjing kao 清·蒲松齡《農桑經》考", Pu Songling yanjiu 蒲松齡研究, 1993 (2): 155-178.
He Maohuo 何茂活 (2013a). "Riyong suzi zhuangnong zhang jieshu: Jian yi Nongsangjing ji xiandai Zichuan fangyan wei zheng 《日用俗字》裝農章解疏——兼以《農桑經》及現代淄川方言為證", Pu Songling yanjiu 蒲松齡研究, 2013 (3): 100-106.
He Maohuo 何茂活 (2013b). "Riyong suzi zhuangnong zhang jieshu (xu): Jian yi Nongsangjing ji xiandai Zichuan fangyan wei zheng 《日用俗字》莊農章解疏(續)——兼以《農桑經》及現代淄川方言為證", Pu Songling yanjiu 蒲松齡研究, 2013 (4): 112-123.
Hua Yu 華餘 (1958). "Pu Songling shougao ben Nongsangjing 蒲松齡手稿本農桑經", Wenwu cankao ziliao 文物參考資料, 1958 (5): 38-39.
Jiao Hao 焦浩 (2017). "Pu Songling Nongsangjing de nongye guanli wenxian jiazhi 蒲松齡《農桑經》的農業管理學文獻價值", Pu Songling yanjiu 蒲松齡研究, 2017 (2): 107-120.
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: Zhongguo nongye chubanshe), 1170.
Peng Shijang 彭世獎 (1995). "Nongsangjing 農桑經", in Zhongguo nongye baike quanshu 中國農業百科全書, Vol. Nongye lishi 農業歷史卷 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 230.
Sheng Wei 盛偉 (1990). "Pu Songling de Nongsangjing yu Ming mo Qing chu Zibo diqu de yangcanye 蒲松齡的《農桑經》與明末清初淄博地區的養蠶業", Nongye kaogu 農業考古, 1990 (2): 286-287.
Wang Guozhong 王國忠 (1996). "Nongsangjing 農桑經", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Keji 科技卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 450.
Wang Yonghou 王永厚 (1999). "Pu Songling yu Nongsangjing 蒲松齡與《農桑經》", Nongcun nongye nongmin 農村.農業.農民, 1999 (11): 39.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhonggou nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 212.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Shenyang: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 370.
Xu Changchun 徐長春 (2021). "Pu Songling Nongsangjing de nongxue sixiang ji qi dangdai qishi 蒲松齡《農桑經》的農學思想及其當代啟示", Gujin nongye 古今農業, 2021 (2): 46-51.