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Gejing 鴿經

Feb 21, 2022 © Ulrich Theobald

Gejing 鴿經 is the only book on doves from the treasure of traditional literature. The book was written during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Zhang Wanzhong 張萬鐘 (1590-1644), courtesy name Kouzhi 扣之, from Zouping 鄒平, Shandong. Zhang was born into a family of high reputation and was prefectural judge (tuiguan 推官) of Zhejiang 鎮江, Jiangsu, under the Southern Ming 南明 (1644-1661). He is therefore seen as one of the Ming loyalists.

Inspite of its brevity, the Gejing is much detailed on many aspects of pigeon breeding which shows that Zhang did not just read a lot about the topic, but was also a pigeon keeper himself. The book consists of six parts, beginning with a general discussion (Lun ge 論鴿), and then proceeding to classification (Huase 花色), traditional races and types (Feifang 飛放), movements and fights (Fantao 翻跳), old sources (Diangu 典故), and literature (Fushi 賦詩). The discussion speaks about the character of pigeons, races, feather colours and other physical aspects, fly movements, sounds, housing, perches, breeding, diet, and medical aspects.

The book was apparently not very widespread, but is preserved in the series Tanji congshu 檀幾叢書 and is part of the Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書.

Sources:
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), 515.
Xia Jinglin 夏經林 (1993). "Gejing tiyao《鴿經》題要", in Gou Cuihua 茍萃華, ed. Zhongguo kexue jishu dianji tonghui 中國科學技術典籍通彙, part Shengwu 生物卷 (Zhengzhou: Henan jiaoyu chubanshe), Vol. 2,647-648.
Zhou Zhaoji 周肇基 (1995). "Gejing 鴿經", in Zhongguo nongye baike quanshu 中國農業百科全書, Vol. Nongye lishi 農業歷史卷 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 69.