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0516 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 516 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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500   183. COTTON

2-3). The work is given as an anonymous production of the Board of Agriculture (ssû-nungssû.) in Lu Wên-ch'ao's Pu Liao Chin Yüan i-wên chih (Pa-shih ching-chi chih ed., 39 b) and in CH'IEN Ta-hsin's Yüan shih i-wên chih (same ed., 3, 5 b), but attributed by CHIN-MEN Chao

(Pu san-chih i-wên chih, same ed., 20 b; the Chung-kuo jên-ming to tz'û-tien) to 1g ei5   Ch'ang
Shih-wên (1247-1317). This attribution clearly rests on a passage in Ch'ang Shih-wên's biography (YS, 170, 5 b), which says that, in 1286, he presented to the Emperor the Nung-sang chi-yao [] shu which he had compiled; but this is irreconcilable with the text of Wang P'an's preface, dated 1273; moreover Ch'ang Shih-wên does not seem to have ever been connected with the

Board of Agriculture. In the Catalogue of the library of   :art   CH'IEN Ch'ien-i (1582-1664),

entitled Pi    I Chiang-yün-lou shu-mu, the Nung-sang chi-yao is given as the work of

Lo Wên-chên (cf. Tu-shu min-ch'iu chi chiao-chêng, 3 B, 3 a) and Lu Wên-ch'ao (1717-1795) certainly had the Nung-sang chi-yao in mind when, in his Pu Liao Chin Yüan i-wên chih (Pa-shih Ching-chi-chih ed., 40 b), he mentioned the « Nung-sang [] ts'o-yao, in 7 chs., by Lo Wên-chên »; the number of chapters shows that this incorrect title cannot be an abbreviation of that of the Nung-sang i-shih ts'o-yao, in 2 chs., by Lu Ming-shan, which will be spoken of farther on (the Tsao-lin tsa-tsu, chung-chi, 57 b, speaks of Wang P'an's preface of the Nung-sang ts'o-yao; so this erroneous form, instead of Nung-sang chi-vao, seems to have been current in Ming times). But I do not know who Lo Wên-chên was, nor what the authority may be for such an ascription. No bibliographer seems to have noticed that Hsü Kuang-ch'i

cites the Nung-sang chi-yao as the work of   T Mêng Ch'i (cf. Nung-chêng ch'üan-shu, 35,
3 a, 14 b; Chinese Repository, xvlli, 463; the mention of Mêng Ch'i in Mu-mien p'u, 2 b, 3 b, is merely taken from Hsü Kuang-ch'i). Mêng Ch'i was really connected in 1273 with the Board of Agriculture (cf. YS, 160, 9 a-b), but nowhere can I find any indication that he had anything to do with the Nung-sang chi-yao. Whoever the real author may be, we are sure that the passage on cotton (mu-mien) belongs to the original redaction of 1273, since there was no other edition before 1314, and this passage already appears, though with some omissions, in Wang Chêng's Nung shu (10, 5 b), dated 1313.

The text occurs in eh. 2, 19-20, and is as follows : « The rule for planting cotton ( 4c fm mu-mien) is to choose a soil with the double harmony (A u liang-ho), not a soil [which is too] damp and rich. In the first moon, when the breath of the earth gets through, [one should] deeply till [the ground] three times, exposing and covering to adjust its warmth, and afterwards divide it into ridges Ott 01),kuei-chên) ; each ridge is eight paces (pu; the Chinese 'pace' is a double pace) long and one pace broad; of this half a pace is the 'face' (mien) of the ridge, and half a pace is the 'back' (pei) of the ridge. Without hoeing, [the ground] is twice smoothed with a rake, and the surface earth obtained is put in heaps on the 'back' of the

ridge. About   jj ku-yü (20th of April), a fine day is selected to put in the seeds. One
day before, the ridges already made are watered three times. The seeds are washed with water, and piled up on the damp soil. For one night, they are covered with an earthenware jar,

which is taken off the next day. They are then gently rubbed with a little ash (   hui), and
with due regard to even distribution they are scattered inside the watered ridges. They are then covered one finger deep with the surface earth which had been taken out. Without any