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Tongpu 桐譜

Jan 20, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Tongpu 桐譜 "Notes on the paulownia" is a book on the cultivation of the tree Paulownia tomentosa (empress tree, princess tree, foxglove tree) written during the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126) by Chen Zhu 陳翥 (1009-1061), courtesy name Zixiang 子翔, style Xian'aozi 咸聱子, Tongzhujun 桐竹君 or Tongling Yimin 銅陵逸民, from Tongling 銅陵 (in today's Anhui province). The book is quite short and was finished in 1049.

The idea to write a book on the Paulownia tree came into Chen's mind because he had a garden behind his house where he raised bamboos and tong trees. While there were already books on tea and bamboo cultivation, no such text existed for the popular tong tree. The designation tong tree is very ambiguous, and Chen dedicates a particular chapter (2 Leishu 類屬) to the definition of seven types of trees, most of them of very different species, families and even orders. Zeng (1994) identifes the types/kinds/species as follows, even if Chen Zhu does not correctly tell apart the different species (Xuan 2002):

Ordo Lamiales
baihua tong 白花桐, baihua paotong 白花泡桐 Paulownia fortunei, fam. Paulowniaceae dragontree, Fortune's empress tree - this is the central species
zihua tong 紫花桐, mao paotong 毛泡桐 Paulownia tomentosa, fam. Paulowniaceae princess tree, empress tree, foxglove-tree
zhen tong 貞桐(赬) Clerodendrum japonicum, fam. Asteridae glorybower, bagflower, bleeding-heart
nan tong 赧桐 ?
Ordo Malphigiales
youtong 油桐 Vernicia fordii, fam. Euphorbiaceae tung oil tree
Ordo Fabales
citong 刺桐 Erythrina variegata, fam. Fabaceae tiger's claw, Indian coral tree
Ordo Malvales
wutong 梧桐 Firmiana simplex, fam. Malvaceae Chinese parasol tree, Chinese parasol tree, or wutong

Chen's book has 14 chapters explaining the origins of cultivation, the sub-types of the species, cultivation methods, the decorative and material use of the tree, and bringing together various lyrical and prose writings on the tree.

The book is found in the series Shuofu 説郛, Tang-Song congshu 唐宋叢書, Shiyuan congshu 適園叢書 and Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編.

Another book of the title was written during the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) by Ding Fu 丁黼 (1166-1236). It is mentioned in the bibliographical chapter of the local gazetteer Jiangnan tongzhi 江南通志 from the Qianlong reign-period 乾隆 (1736-1795), but is lost today.

Sources:
Chen Aifen 陳愛芬 (1997). "Gudai linye zhuanjia ji qi linye zhuanzhu Tongpu 古代林業專家及其林業專著《桐譜》", Zhongguo linye 中國林業, 1997 (2).
Ming Zixi 明子溪 (1988). "Chen zhu yu Tongpu 陳翥與《桐譜》", Anhui shixue 安徽史學, 1988 (4): 26.
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), 1658.
Pan Falian 潘法連 (1980). "Chen Zhu yu Tongpu 陳翥与《桐譜》", Anhui Daxue xuebao 安徽大學學報, 1980 (3): 107-111.
Pan Falian 潘法連 (1987). "Tongpu zhuan qi kao 《桐譜》撰期考", Zhongguo nongshi 中國農史, 1987 (3): 104-108.
Pan Falian 潘法連 (1991). "Chen Zhu Tongpu de chengjiu ji qi gongxian 陳翥《桐譜》的成就及其貢獻", Gujin nongye 古今農業, 1991 (1): 21-27.
Pan Zhangjun 潘章軍 (2018). "Chen Zhu yu ta de Tongpu 陳翥與他的《桐譜》", Zhongguo linye chanye 中國林業產業, 2018 (2): 132-138.
Sun Zhaoliang 孫兆亮, Xu Weitong 徐維統, eds. (1996). "Tongpu 桐譜", 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), 693.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 69.
Wu Xiaodong 吳曉東 (1993). "Tongpu dui paotong de fenlei yu miaoshu 《桐譜》對泡桐的分類與描述", Zhiwu zazhi 植物雜志, 1993 (4): 47.
Xiong Datong 熊大桐 (1987). "Chen zhu ji qi Tongpu 陳翥及其《桐譜》", Nongye kaogu 農業考古, 1987 (1): 229-233.
Xuan Bingshan 宣炳善 (2002). "Chen Zhu Tongpu wutong hunyong wei paotong jiumiu 陳翥《桐譜》梧桐混用為泡桐糾謬", Zhongguo nongshi 中國農史, 2002 (2).
Zeng Xiongsheng 曾雄生 (1994). "Tongpu tiyao 《桐譜》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. 1, 321-322.
Zhang Binglun 張秉倫 (1992). "Chen zhu shiji gouchen 陳翥史迹鉤沉", Zhongguo keji shi zazhi 中國科技史雜志, 1992 (1): 33-36.