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Chinese Literature
Mingji 茗笈 "The Tea Satchel"


The Mingji 茗笈 "Tea satchel" is a book on tea compiled by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Tu Benjun 屠本畯, courtesy name Tu Tianshu 屠田叔. He came from Qinxian 勤縣, Zhejiang and was associate salt distribution commissioner (yanyunsi tongzhi 鹽運司同知) in Fujian during the Wanli reign 萬曆 (1573-1619). Except the Mingji he has also written the Minzhong haicuo shu 閩中海錯疏 (a commentary on seafood in Fujian), Mingzhong lizhi pu 閩中荔枝譜 (a book on lychee fruits), Yecai jian 野菜箋 (a book on eatable wild plants) and Haiwei suoyin 海味索引.
The Mingji is 2 juan "scrolls" long and is divided into 16 chapters covering all aspects of tea cultivation, production, consumption and culture. For each chapter the author quotes extensively from older books on tea. These quotations are introduced by a "praise" poem (zan 贊) and are critically commented. Of all quoted books, Lu Yu's 陸羽 classic Chajing 茶經 is dealt with like a canon the text of which is written in different typesetting than the other sources. Unfortunatley the Chajing is not quoted in full, so that the Mingji can not be seen as a systematic commentary to it. On the other hand, the Chajing cannot be quoted for all topics dealt with in the Mingji. The overall arrangement of the book is thus not quite well-balanced, and the basic intention of the author is not clear. The Mingji was presented to the compilers of the imperial collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書 by the governor of Anhui, but was not included in this collection. Yet it is included in the collectanea Shanju xiaowan 山居小玩, Qunfang qingwan 群芳清玩, Guoxue zhenben wenku 國學珍本文庫 and Meishu congshu 美術叢書.


Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1863. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

June 20, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail