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Yangcan chengfa 養蠶成法

Mar 2, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Yangcan chengfa 養蠶成法, also called Dongsheng yangcan chengfa 東省養蠶成法 "Established practice of wild silkworm rearing in the eastern provinces" was written during the mid-Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Han Mengzhou 韓夢周 (jinshi degree 1757), courtesy name Gongfu 公復, style Litang 理堂 from Weixian 濰縣, Shandong. Han was district magistrate (zhixian 知縣) of Lai'an 來安, Anhui. During his service time in Anhui, he decided to introduce from his home region "mountain silkworms" (shancan 山蠶, Antheraea pernyi), and wrote a book about the business in order to spread it in Lai'an.

The book describes the rearing of wild silkworms in spring and the treatment of them in autumn, and gives recommendations to avoid critical errors. It also describes the process of gaining silk yarn from the cocoons. A special chapter is dedicated to the tools and implements used for the rearing and feeding of the animals, and to spin the yarn. The appendix (Zhong boluo chunshu fa 種簸籮椿樹法) focuses on the cultivation of the oak species Quercus dentata (boluo 簸蘿, i.e. zuoli 柞櫟) and the tree species Ailanthus altissima (chu 樗, chouchun 臭椿, chunshu 椿樹), whose leaves the silkworms live on.

The text, consisting of 38 paragraphs, is found in the series Huajinlou congshu 花近樓叢書 and Nongxue congshu 農學叢書, and in the author's collected writings, Litang ji 理堂集.

Sources:
Huang Shiriu 黃世瑞 (1995). "Yangcan chengfa 養蠶成法", in Zhongguo nongye baike quanshu 中國農業百科全書, Vol. Nongye lishi 農業歷史卷 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 360.
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), 1931.
Wang Zhuangmu 王莊穆, ed. (1996). Zhongguo sichou cidian 中國絲綢辭典 (Beijing: Zhongguo kexue jishu chubanshe), 638.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 229.