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Chinese Literature
Yin Duwei shu 尹都尉書 "The Book of Commander Yin"


The Yin Duwei shu 尹都尉書 "Book of Commander Yin", also called Yin Duwei 尹都尉, was an agricultural text written by a certain Master Yin 尹氏, whose identity is less than clear. It is also not known when he lived. The book is listed in the imperial bibliography Yiwenzhi 藝文志 in the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書 with a length of 14 chapters. The book was soon lost, but the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰 has collected surviving fragments of the Yin Duwei, mostly from the agricultural treatise Qimin yaoshu 齊民要術. The fragments cover the themes melons (gua 瓜), mallows (kui 葵), mustard (jie 芥), polygonum (liao 蓼), shallots (xie 薤) and onions (cong 蔥). From these fragements is is not clear if Yin Duwei and Yin Duwei shu were two books or one and the same. The author of the book might be mentioned in a fragment of the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) book Fan Shengzhi shu 汜勝之書 that is quoted in the Qimin yaoshu, where it is said that a certain Yin Ze 尹澤 had created a "method concerning salt" (xianfa 鹹法) that is mentioned in relation to the yields of certain classes of soil. Yin Ze lived in the early Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE), but that is all that can be known about him. The surviving fragments show that the book was concerned with methods of planting and transplanting, cultivation and harvest. Ma Guohan's collection is included in his collectaneum Yuhanshanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1644. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.

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May 31, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail