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Zhihuang quanfa 治蝗全法

Feb 21, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Zhihuang quanfa 治蝗全法 "All methods of pest control" was written by Gu Yan 顧彥 (d. 1860), courtesy name Shimei 士美 (also written 侍梅), from Wuxi 無錫, Jiangsu. It is the largest traditional Chinese book on this issue.

In 1856, flocks of locusts devastated the field crops of the region of Wuxi, whereupon Gu Yan wrote a pamphlet of 33 methods of pest control, Jianming buhuang fa 簡明捕蝗法, and had it distributed in the countryside. His methods proved successful, and Gu therefore decided to write a whole book on the issue that was directed to both the local authorities and the peasantry. The first fascicle (Shimin zhihuang quanfa 士民治蝗全法), based on the original pamphlet, was directed to the farmers, while the second one (Guansi zhihuang fa 官司治蝗法) was to instruct the local authorities. The third of the total of 4 juan consists of quotations from ancient texts, while the last part provided information on related topics like disaster relief, precautions for pandemics, elimination of mosquitos or prayers against such incidents.

The book was first printed in 1857, but only a few copies survived the disaster of the Taiping rebellion. In 1888, the author's grandson Gu Senshu 顧森書 (1840-1904), courtesy name Lunqing 綸卿, had the book republished by the Juwen Studio 聚文堂 in Wancheng 皖城, Anhui, but this edition was accompanied by Fu Fuxiang's 伍輔祥 (1810-1883) memorial to the throne Zou chenzhi huang zhufa shu 奏陳治蝗諸法疏. The shortened 1892 edition has the original title Jianming buhuang fa.

Sources:
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1652.
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), 2135.
Peng Shijiang 彭世獎 (1995). "Zhihuang quanfa 治蝗全法", in Zhongguo nongye baike quanshu 中國農業百科全書, Vol. Nongye lishi 農業歷史卷 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 407.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 272.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 553.