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Treatises of the Supervisor and Guardian of the Cinnamon Sea

The Natural World and Material Culture of Twelfth-Century China (A China Program Book)

James M. Hargett is professor of Chinese at the State University of New York, Albany and author of Stairway to Heaven: A Journey to the Summit of Mount Emei.

Publication Year: 2010

This important work of twelfth-century Chinese scholarship is at once a gazetteer, an ethnography, and a natural history of south China - mainly Guangxi and Hainan - and its indigenous people. Now, for the first time in English, a complete and annotated translation captures its charm and significance for new generations of scholars. James M. Hargett is professor of Chinese at the State University of New York, Albany.

Published by: University of Washington Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-xiii

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pp. xiv-xvi

I have been studying Chinese for a very long time. One aspect of the language I still enjoy is learning proverbs. One proverb that comes to mind when I think about how this book came to be published is wu qiao bu cheng shu 無巧不成書, which means something like “without coincidence there is no good story.” ...

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Translator’s Note

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pp. xvii-xviii

This book is full of personal names, place-names, technical terms, and other specialized vocabulary. The Chinese characters for these names and terms can be found in the Glossary- Index. As a general rule, I have included Chinese characters (for names and terms) in the body of the text and footnote apparatus ...

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pp. xix-lxvi

This book presents, for the first time in English, a complete and annotated translation of Treatises of the Supervisor and Guardian of the Cinnamon Sea (Guihai yuheng zhi; hereafter called Treatises). Most scholars of traditional China, especially those whose research interest concerns the Song dynasty (960–1279), ...

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Author’s Preface

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pp. 3-6

Earlier, after I left the Purple Myrtle Wall [Ziwei Yuan]1 and was about to go out and serve as commandant [shuai] of Guangyou,2 some in-laws and old friends held a farewell drinking party for me in a tent by the Pine River [Songjiang].3 All of them were concerned about the scorching heat and desolate local conditions ...

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1 Precipice-Grottoes

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pp. 7-24

I once assessed the wondrous nature of the hills in Guilin1 and found them worthy to be rated first in the world.2 Scholar-officials sent down3 to the south are few, and so oftentimes they are unaware [of Guilin’s magnificent spires], while those who hear about them likewise cannot believe it. ...

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2 Metals and Stones

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pp. 25-33

The Basic Pharmacopeia [Bencao] includes a “Section on Jadelike Stones”[Yushi bu]1 devoted solely to medicinal products [yaowu]. These are not cures for illnesses. Although they are important, I do not note them here.2 This chapter also concentrates on those [minerals] necessary for making prescription medicines [fangyao]. ...

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3 Aromatics

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pp. 34-46

The southern quarter is associated with the fire phase [huoxing].1 Its air blazes and ascends.2 The medicinal products it provides as tribute tax3 all taste bitter but smell fragrant. But the generations have solely referred to products such as chen and jian as aromatics.4 In fact, they represent the most outstanding [aromatics].5 ...

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4 Wines

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pp. 47-49

By nature I cannot drink a lot. Am ong my official friends who drink little, none drinks less than me. And yet, among those who are informed about wine, none is more informed than me. On a few occasions I formerly served in Court[-appointed positions].1 When I visited the homes of princes, dukes, and respectable persons, ...

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5 Implements

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pp. 50-59

The customs in the Southern Counties are jumbled and mixed among the Man and Yao. Thus, as a general rule, most of their daily implements [shiqi] are strange and odd. As for the designs of the weapons and armor of the Outer Man,1 these should all be known by those responsible for frontier defense.2 ...

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6 Birds

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pp. 60-66

There are many rare birds in the southern quarter that the learned gentlemen [junzi] have not heard about.1 Moreover, since the laws prohibiting the capture and trapping of rare birds are very strict, I have not been able to find out very much about such birds.2 By chance I was able to see some of these birds in people’s homes. ...

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7 Quadrupeds

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pp. 67-80

Among quadrupeds, none is more massive than the elephant; none more useful than the horse. Both are well suited to the southlands [nantu]. I served as director of the Horse Administration [Mazheng]1 and was very much involved in making up for shortages and deficiencies [buju louxi].2 There is much to be said ...

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8 Insects and Fishes

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pp. 81-88

As for the minute creatures among the insects and fishes that extend all the way to the sea—how could one possibly calculate their extensive numbers? I will list only a minuscule number of those that, by chance, I have seen or heard about. ...

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9 Flowers

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pp. 89-98

Guilin possesses various kinds of plants, flowers, and trees, including the tree peony [mudan],1 herbaceous peony [shaoyao],2 peach [tao],3 and apricot [xing].4 But if great effort is not taken to nurture and water them, they will [all] merely maintain a similar likeness [to their northern counterparts] and nothing more. ...

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10 Fruits

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pp. 99-116

The generations have passed down that fruits in the south with names carrying the suffix zi number 120.1 Half of these are herbaceous and woody [tree] fruits in the mountainous wilds, which are the delight of apes and monkeys [yuanju]. People have stubbornly regarded them as fruits and have named them ...

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11 Herbaceous Plants and Trees

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pp. 117-129

Unusual plants and rare trees grow mostly on remote mountains and in desolate wilderness. As for those specimens not suitable for Physician He [Yi He] and Carpenter Shi [Jiang Shi],1 people do not gather them either. Thus, I know very little about them. But those in the category of bamboo are so ...

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12 Miscellaneous Items

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pp. 130-147

As for the unusual nature of the customs and geography in Lingnan,1 these are worth noting in order to provide such information to learned persons.2 But since I cannot classify this information separately [into individual treatises], I call this chapter the “Miscellaneous Items Treatise.”

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13 The Man

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pp. 148-232

The commanderies under the jurisdiction of the managing and organizing commissioner [jinglue shi]1 of Guangxi number twenty-five.2 In addition to these, there are the various Man administrative units of the southwest. As for the tribal settlements [quluo] of the Man, I cannot note them all. So for now I will just record ...

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Original Chinese Text

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pp. 233-265

始予自紫微垣,出帥廣右,姻親故人張飲松江,皆以炎荒風土為 戚。予取唐人詩,考桂林之地,少陵謂之宜人,樂天謂之無瘴,退之 至以湘南江山勝於驂鸞仙去,則宦游之適,寧有踰於此者乎! 既以 解親友而遂行。

Abbreviations Used in the Notes and Bibliography

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pp. 266-267


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pp. 268-270


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pp. 271-290


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pp. 291-349

E-ISBN-13: 9780295802060
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295990798

Publication Year: 2010