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Shuyipian 樹藝篇

Mar 3, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Shuyipian 樹藝篇 is a book on agriculture written during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644).

The text in its original shape was finished towards the end of the 16th century. It has a length of 33 juan and was divided into a general part, 10 fascicles on fruit trees, 4 on timber, 7 on staple grain, 6 on vegetables, 4 on grassy plants, and 2 on medical herbs. The book mainly consists of quotations from a wide range (no less than 156 titles) of older texts of various genres, from agricultural books to biji-style essays and even novellas. In some instances, author added his own remarks. Of great scholarly value are the quotations from rare Ming-period books like Nongsang cuoyao 農桑撮要, Shuiyunlu 水雲錄, Jujia biyong 居家必用, Shenyinshu 神隱書 or Zhipu xuzhi 治圃須知.

A manuscript version is owned by the Beijing Library (Beijing Tushuguan 北京圖書館), but this version does not indicate the name of an author. The copy was probably a draft, and not a book ready for publication, as the arrangement of chapters is somewhat unbalanced, and some pages are left blank. The Beijing Library copy ends with a postface written by Qian Tianshu 錢天樹 in 1819. The print paper is marked by the words Chunbai Studio 純白齋, which might be a hint that the author was Hu Zhu 胡助 (fl. 1330-1333), courtesy name Guyu 古愚, from Dongyang 東陽, who lived during the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) and was the author of a book called and wrote a book called Chunbaizhai leigao 純白齋類稿. The catalogue of Beijing Library therefore records the texts as written by Hu Guyu 胡古愚. Yet the text quotes from Ming-period books, and can thus not date from the Yuan era. In some instances, quotations are accompanied by the words Shixun an 士洵按. Li & Li (2012) showed that this is the courtesy name of Zhou Ruyu 周孺予, who was acquainted with Tang Shunzhi 唐順之 (1507-1560), courtesy name Yingde 應德 or Yixiu 義修, style Jingchuan 荊川, studio name Chunbaizhai, who was a famous Ming-period collector. Zhou thus seems to have been the author of the text.

A private book catalogue of Zhao Dingyu 趙定宇 (d. 1596) includes a 6-volume book called Shuyipian, which shows that the book must have been written before that date. It is also mentioned in the catalogues Jiangyunlou shumu 絳雲樓書目 and Shugutang shumu 述古堂書目. Among the Ming-period books quoted by the author of the Shuyipian, the latest date from 1547 (Yang Shen's 楊慎 Danqian yulu 丹鉛餘錄 and Dai Guan's 戴冠 Zhuoyingting biji 濯纓亭筆記), and 1579 (Tang Boyuan's 唐伯元 local gazetteer Taihe xian zhi 泰和縣志), respectively.

A reprint is included in the series Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書.

Sources:
Ge Xiaohan 葛小寒 (2020). "Cong Shuyipian dao Runan pushi: Mingdai nongshu shengchan guocheng de ge’an yanjiu 從《樹藝篇》到《汝南圃史》———明代農書生產過程的個案研究", Ziran kexue shi yanjiuy 自然科學史研究, 2020 (1): 65-68.
Li Fei 李飛, Li Li 李莉 (2012). "Gu nongshu Shuyipian de banben liuchuan ji qi jiazhi yanjiu 古農書《樹藝篇》的版本流傳及其價值研究", Anhui nongye kexue 安徽農業科學, 2012 (1): 622-623.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 153.
Zhao Yang 趙陽 (2015). "Linye guji duanju moshi yuliaoku jianshe fang’an tantao: Yi Shuyipian wie xunlian wenben 林業古籍斷句模式語料庫建設方案探討———以《樹藝篇》為訓練文本", Keji shijie 科技視界, 2015 (3): 23+47.