Wang Zhen’s Treatise on Agriculture-Wang Zhen Nong Shu

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Wang Zhen’s treatise on agriculture Wang Zhen Nong Shu (王祯农书 wángzhēn nóngshū), this comprehensive work on agriculture was written by Wang Zhen(王祯 Wáng Zhēn) of the Yuan Dynasty(元代 yuándài ). Wang twice served as county magistrate. To guide local agricultural production, he spent much time on the study of agriculture and finished this work in 1313.

The book consists of three parts: the first part deals with various aspects of agriculture in general; The second, the cultivation of various crops, fruits, vegetables, bamboo, and trees; the third and the major part of this book, a collection of farm tools and other instruments with more than 270 illustrations. As some of the tools have long been lost, the records in the book are invaluable. In many places the author makes a comparison of farming in north China and in south China, including the differences of farm tools and their advantages and disadvantages. In an appendix, Wang Zhen tells readers of the movable type printing technique he used to print this work, which was based on previous but improved by the author himself.

All in all, Wang Zhen Nong Shu has exerted great influence on the development of the agriculture in ancient China.

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