A Study of Mudan-pu(Monographs of the Tree Peony) in the Song Dynasty
KUBO Teruyuki(Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100049,China)
In the Song dynasty,many "Pulu 谱录"(a specific writing style which is close to monographs) came out.At least 17 works in Pulu writings of the Song dynasty feature the tree peony,that accounts for almost a half of Pulu featuring flowering plants,while they became precursory books that promoted other flower Pulu.Nowadays only seven of the 17 works remain,so it is hard to know what were written in those lost works.In this paper,including those lost works,I would show the investigation into background of each Pulu author,the precise time of writing,the frameworks and the contents of each Pulu.As a result,the following points are newly discovered:(a) By the reseach of the authors' backgrounds,not only their social/official positions and circumstances of writing are clarified,but the relationships between the authors are also emerged.(b) In addition,based on the investigation into the more precisely presumed time of writings,all the 17 works are now able to be placed in chronological order,and the transition of the recorded varieties and these locations of each work become clear.As a result,the number of varieties actually does not simply increase by chronological order,but comparing the varieties written in each Pulu,we can know there were always newly-produced varieties.People in the Song dynasty often sought newer varieties and ignored older ones.The number of varieties in each Pulu therefore does simply increase by chronoligical order.(c) Through the examination into the frameworks and the contents inside the seven extant works,it can be known that most of authors recorded the present varieties of the tree peonies,and sometime mentioned flower gardens,folklife with the flowers,and cultivation techniques,in order to hand down to posterity.Some authors who were scholar-officials presented their own philosophical ideas concerning how new varieties of the tree peonies can be produced.They often mentioned "Zaowu 造物" and/or "Zaohua 造化"(a certain creator) who is supposed to administrate nature,that is also supposed to influence mutations of the tree peonies.Meanwhile,this paper also introduces the different early editions of the existent seven works,such as texts in Baichuan Xuehai 百川学海,and shows the most reliable versions with a comparison among the different versions.