Botanic Knowledge in Early China (Qin-Han dynasties)


An American missions E. C. Bridgman in 1841 wrote: “Botany, in the scientific sense of the word, is wholly unknown to the Chinese.” Did Botany or plant Science not exist in China before the 19th century? The answer depends on the definition of botany and science. There is always scientific knowledge, even in early China. Today, we are going to explore early Chinese
botanical knowledge in the Qin-Han dynasties (221 BCE – 220 CE). In this time, we will see the plant classification from the structure of Chinese characters. As for plant identification, Lu Ji made an outstanding work in the 3rd century CE. He observed nature of plants to interpret Shi Jing. Plant distribution patterns were discussed in Guan Zi. In the Han dynasty, as the territory expanded southward, rare southern plants were introduced into the imperial garden. Bureaucrats posted to the south actively recorded useful plants in their duty zones. This trend continued into the Six Dynasties period. We can see that a variety of botanical knowledge was accumulated before the 3rd century. Later, in the early Tang dynasty, a nationwide survey of drug-producing areas was conducted in 657-659. In the Song dynasty, a similar project was conducted again in 1062. From those examples, we can understand that China has accumulated a certain level of botanical knowledge before the 19th century.

Speaker: Dr. Teruyuki KUBO

Affiliation: Zhejiang Gongshang University

Time: May. 10, 2022

Venue: 瞩目会议平台 会议 ID:135 871 8714  会议密码 PWD:666666 

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