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Shoushi tongkao 授時通考 "Comprehensive Treatises to Instruct (the People) During all Seasons"

The Shoushi tongkao 授時通考 "Comprehensive treatises to instruct (the people) during all seasons" is a comprehensive agricultural treatise compiled on imperial order during the Qianlong reign 乾隆 (1736-1795) of the Qing period 清 (1644-1911). The compilation extended over a period of five years (finished in 1742) and was supervised by the Grand Ministers Ortai 鄂爾泰 and Zhang Tingyu 張廷玉. The aim of the book was to regularize basic methods of agriculture to ensure a higher productivity throughout the empire. The 78 juan "scrolls" long book is divided into eight parts (men 門 "disciplines").
The recommendations of the Shoushi tongkao are most suitable for large tracts of land, and less for small farmers. This corresponds to the aim to raise the production of such field crops that contributed to a higher output of grain and raw material for textile products. The largest part of the book is dedicated to the production, storage and processing of the staple food rice. The seventh chapter then describes the cultivation of vegetables and fruits as well as the economical use of various trees. The last chapter explains the production of textile fibers like cotton, hemp and banana (Musa textilis), and the use of trees for the production of silk (mulberry leaves) and tung oil. It is enriched with numerous illustrations and drawings that are in their greatest part taken from the Nongzheng quanshu/a> 農政全書 by Xu Guangqi 徐光啟 and Weng Zheng's 王禎 Nongshu 農書. Although the general arrangement of the Shoushi tongkao follows older texts, there are also some differences to be seen, like the inclusion of the chapter on irrigation into the part on land management, while the topic of "western irrigation" (Taixi shuifa 泰西水法) is appended to the chapter Gongzuo 功作. Its categorization of agrarian tools shows a more coherent system than in older books. The chapter Quanke 勸課 has a length of 12 juan and is a central text on agricultural politics and the status of agriculture in state philosophy and religion. It includes the famous book Gengzhitu 御製耕織圖 and poems written by emperors.
Although the Shoushi tongkao does not provide new materials it can be seen as the last great traditional text on agriculture. It quotes extensively from older texts on agriculture (553 sources) and so served as a general reference book for many aspects of traditional agriculture.
As an official compilation it is included in the imperial collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書. In 1956 the Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 published a modern edition in two volumes.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1649. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.
Lin Qitan 林其錟 (1996). "Shoushi tongkao 授時通考", in: Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Jingji 經濟卷, Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe, p. 402.
Yi Qinheng 伊欽恒 (1992). "Shoushi tongkao 授時通考", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Nongye 農業, Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe, p. 1055.
Wang Guozhong 王國忠 (1996). "Shoushi tongako 授時通考", in: Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Keji 科技卷, Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe, p. 456.

1.-6. 天時門 Tianshi Agricultural activities during the four seasons
1-2 總論 Zonglun General treatise
3 春 Chun
4 夏 Xia
5 秋 Qiu
6 冬 Dong
7.-18. 土宜門 Tuyi Treatment of the soil
7 彙考
8 方輿圖說
9 辨方
10 物土
11-12 田制
13-14 田制圖說
15-18 水利
19.-30. 穀種門 Guzhong Crops
19 彙考
20 御稻米

21-22 稻
23 粱稷
24 黍
25 粟
26 麥
27-29 豆
30 麻
31.-41. 功作門 Gongzuo Production, processing and storage
31 彙考
32 墾耕
33 耙勞
34 播種
35 淤蔭
36 耘耔
37 灌溉
38 泰西水法
39 收穫
40 攻治
41 牧師(附)
42.-53. 勸課門 Quanke Official regulations and taxation
42 彙考
43 詔令
44 章奏
45 官司
46 祈報
47-48 敕諭
49 祈穀
50-51 御製詩文
52-53 耕織圖
54.-57. 蓄聚門 Chuju Preparations to encounter famine
54 彙考
55 常平倉
56 社倉
57 圖式
58.-71. 農餘門 Nongyu Non-industrial agriculture (fruits, vegetables, trees, economically useful products)
58 彙考
59-62 蔬
63-66 果
67-68 木
69 雜植
70-71 畜牧
72.-78. 蠶餘門 Canyu Silk and other products for textiles
72 彙考
73 飼養
74 分箔
75 繰絲
76 桑政
77-78 桑餘
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May 31, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail