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Chinese Literature
Lizhipu 荔枝譜 "Notes on Lychees"


The Lizhipu 荔枝譜 "On Lychees" is a treatise on the lychee fruit written by the Song period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Cai Xiang 蔡襄. The book consists of 7 small chapters and was finished in 1059. Cai came in contact with lychee cultivation during his service period as transport commissioner (zhuanyunshi 轉運使) in the province of Fujian 福建. His 7 chapters long book describes 32 different kinds of lychee mainly cultivated around the city of Fuzhou 福州. He provided details about the appearance of the fruits, its outer shell and the pulp, colour, smell and taste, and the location where these are cultivated. His descriptions are very important for our knowledge about the origin of modern cultivars of lychee. In oldest times the fruits were often delivered to the imperial courts as a kind to tribute from the southern regions. Cai Xiang also provided information about the processing of lychee fruits and methods of storage, preparing food with lychees, as well as the medical use of the fruit. One chapter is specialized on the cultivation of the lychee tree.
The Lizhipu is included in the collected writings of Cai Xiang, the Cai Zhonghuigong ji 蔡忠惠公集 (also called Duanming ji 端明集), as well as in the collectanea Baichuan xuehai 百川學海, Shuofu 說郛, Yipu souqi 藝圃搜奇, Shanju zazhi 山居雜志, and the Congshu jicheng 叢書集成. It is also part of Deng Daoxie’s 鄧道協 collection Lizhi tongpu 荔枝通譜. Cai Xiang has also written a book on tea, the Chalu 茶錄.
Cai Xiang's Lizhipu is to be found in the collectanea Baichuan xuehai 百川學海, Shuofu 說郛, in Deng DaoxieÄs 鄧道協 Lizhi tongpu 荔枝通譜, the Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and the Yipu souqi 藝圃搜奇.

There was another book on lychees from the Northern Song period 北宋 (960-1126), namely Zheng Xiong's 鄭熊 Guangzhong lizhi pu 廣中荔枝譜, which is unfortunately lost.
There are several books by Qing period authors on the same theme, like Chen Ding's 陳鼎 Lizhipu 荔枝譜, and Wu Tingkui's 吳應逵 Lingnan lizhi pu 嶺南荔枝譜.


Sources:
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe, vol. 2, p. 1866.
Liu Changzhi 劉昌芝 (1993). "Lizhipu tiyao 荔枝譜提要", in: Zhongguo kexue jishu dianji tonghui 中國科學技術典籍通彙, Shengwu juan 生物卷, vol. 1, pp. 157-158. Ed. Ren Jiyu 任繼愈/Gou Cuihua 茍萃華. Zhengzhou: Henan jiaoyu chubanshe.


Contents
1. 原始末 Yuan shimo Introduction
2. 標尤異 Biao youyi Strengths and extraordinary features
3. 志賈鬻 Zhi guyu Merchandise
4. 明服食 Ming fushi Medicine and diet
5. 慎護養 Shen huoyang Protection and cultivation
6. 時法制 Shi fazhi System and rules
7. 別種類 Bie zhonglei Types and species
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

November 11, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail