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Yangyangfa 養羊法

May 31, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Yangyangfa 養羊法 "Methods of sheep breeding", also called Bu Shi yangyang fa 卜式養羊法 "Bu Shi's methods of raising sheep", is an agricultural book attributed to a href="../../History/Han/personsbushi.html">Bu Shi 卜式, an entrepreneur of the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE) who regularly submitted cattle and sheep to the imperial army. He was therefore granted the title of court gentleman (lang 郎) and later even rose to the office of Censor-in-chief (yushi dafu 御史大夫).

The imperial bibliography Jingji zhi 經籍志 in the official dynastic history Suishu 隋書 says that the book was still listed in Liang-period 梁 (502-557) catalogues, but was already lost during the early Tang period 唐 (618-907).

It is rather improbable that Bu Shi was the author of the book because it is known that he was illiterate. The text is probably quoted (without indication of a source) in a chapter on the raising of sheep in Jia Sixie's 賈思勰 (fl. 544) agricultural treatise Qimin yaoshu 齊民要術 from the Northern Wei period 北魏 (386-534). These fragments were collected during the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Ma Guohan 馬國翰 (1794-1857) and are to be found in his series Yuhanshanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書.

Sources:
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1644.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 19.