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Chinese Literature
Meipu 梅譜 "Notes on Plums"


The Meipu 梅譜, also called Fancun Meipu 范村梅譜 or Wucun Meipu 吳村梅譜, is a book on plums written by the Song period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Fan Chengda 范成大. The short book begins with the statement that plums are a very special plant on earth, and that they grow best in the region of Wuxia 吳下 (modern Zhejiang). The author then narrates how he planted several hundred trees in his garden Yuxuepo 玉雪坡 and additionally bought a piece of land to cultivate even more trees. The author then goes over to a theoretical part, in which he describes around 20 kinds of plum trees of southern China, with detailed information about the name, origin, colour and taste of each tree and its fruits. The book ends with a discussion about strengths and weaknesses of plum trees, as well as Yang Buzhi's 楊補之 paintings of plum flowers, which Fan Chengda rates as beautiful, but not corresponding to the real appearance of the flowers.
In some editions, the Meipu is joined with Fan Chengda's book on chrysanthemums, the Fancun Jupu 范村菊譜. The Meipu is included in Fan Chengda's collected works, and in the collectanea Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Baichuan xuehai 百川學海, Shuofu 說郛, Mohai jinhu 墨海金壺, Zhucong bielu 珠叢別錄 and Yipu souqi 藝圃搜奇.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1865. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

Chinese literature according to the four-category system

June 17, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail