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Tianjia zhanhou jilan 田家占候集覽

Mar 2, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Tianjia zhanhou jilan 田家占候集覽 is a book on agricultural prognostication written during the late Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Zou Cungan 鄒存淦 (fl. 1877), courtesy name Lisheng 儷生 or 儷笙, from Haining 海寧, Zhejiang.

In the preface the author explains that his grandfather used to collect sayings (suyu 俗諺) about prognostication, and had compiled a manual on the topic called Tianjiayu 田家諺. Yet the book was lost. Zou therefore began to gather knowledge from the scrap and compiled an own book with a length of 10 juan.

The text is arranged according to the calendar, and provides material for the prognostication of the phaenology and agricultural activities through the year. The order is usually sun and moon, the starry constellations, birds and creeping animals (chong 蟲), and finally vegetation. This phaeonological section is followed by rules for medical care and diet. The last part of each section concerns taboo days on which certain activities are to be avoided. For each entry, the author provides his source. Among these, quotations from two (lost) books of Hunan are quite noteworthy, namely Yuan-Xiang nongtan 沅湘農談, and Guming siyi 顧名思義.

The book was finished in 1877, and survives as a single manuscript (perhaps a draft) owned by the Beijing Library (Beijing Tushuguan 北京圖書館).

Sources:
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhonggou guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 236.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 278.