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Xiuqi zhizhi 修齊直指

Feb 14, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Xiuqi zhizhi 修齊直指 "Guidelines for cultivation [of the self] and the regulation [of families]" is an extract of Yang Shen's 楊屾 (1699-1794) book Zhiben tigang 知本提綱 that aims at focusing on the most important aspects of bringing order into the social conduct of oneself and one's family. The extract was particularly directed for a simpler readership. The title is derived from the main concepts of the Confucian Classic Daxue 大學 "The Great Learning". The text was commented on by Qi Zhuo 齊倬, one of Yang's disciples.

Like the original text, the Xiuqi zhizhi used many images and examples of agricultural life in order to clarify the duties of a rural household. The "five constant virtues" (wuchang 五常) included arboriculture, animal husbandry, the cultivation of crops of the fields and sericulture. The commentaries of these passages are useful to reconstruct the daily life in ancient Chinese farmers, even if they were brought into the frame of the Neo-Confucian view on society.

The text was finished in 1776, but it only became more widespread in an edition published by Liu Guangfen 劉光蕡 (1843-1903) with the title Xiuqi zhizhi ping 修齊直指評. The most important prints are from the Baijing Zhengtang Hall 柏經正堂, the edition of the collection Yanxia Caotang yishu 煙霞草堂遺書, and the series Guanzhong congshu 關中叢書. An abbreviated version is also found in the collection Quzhong shi zhong 區種十種.

Sources:
Liu Wei 劉偉,Fan Zhimin 樊志民 (2012). "Yang Shen 杨屾理學及其農學應用——以《修齊直指》為例", Zhongguo nongxue tongbao 中國農學通报, 2012 (17): 246-251.
Peng Shijiang 彭世獎 (1995). "Xiuqi zhizhi 修齊直指", in Zhongguo nongye baike quanshu 中國農業百科全書, Vol. Nongye lishi 農業歷史卷 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 354.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 233.