Research on Words of Vegetables and Crops in Shuowen
|Keywords||shuowen jiezi words on vegetable words on crops explain detailedly|
Shuowen jiezi (shuowen hereafter) was a dictionary, also was the first handed down literature from ancient times collecting and annotating ancient crops and vegetables (including edible wild vegetables), thus was the earliest and most valuable material for studying ancient crops and vegetables. However, due to its usage as a dictionary, the explanation in shuowen was so curtail and brief that scholars could just know them by name. Especially shuowen concerns many kinds of comments, like hunxun, huxun, tongxun, leixun, pianxun, despite of the efforts made by experts on philologist and agronomist, the entries were still not fully covered and annotated satisfactorily, some words were even misinterpreted. Therefore, this paper sets up a strict standard and distinguishes 82 characters referring to vegetables and then obtains 56 kinds of vegetables, which are classified into four categories: leaf vegetable, root vegetable, hydrophilous vegetable, melon vegetable. In the same way, crops are classified into seven categories: su s粟, shu 黍, dao f稻, mai 麦, ma 麻,shu 菽, gu 苽., yiyi 薏苡, altogether 41 characters. All characters are gathered under the same category so that a system is formed.The usual way of annotating is not preferred in the paper for all the words concern with names and objects. In another way around, the paper takes name and object as two clues and comments on them historically from oriental and horizontal aspect. On the base of testifying, correcting, supplementing and annotating the comments of shuowen, the efforts were made to define the names, confirm the facts, testify the objects, therefore ancient crops and vegetables system could be basically disclosed and a window is open to know about the ancient life and agriculture. The paper consists of six aspects: 1 clarify the relationship between characters and words; 2 define and describe objects; 3 distinguish and correct objects; 4 explain variant names; 5 trace the origin of names. The methods applied in the paper are those: 1 collects proofs as many as possible; 2 correct mistakes and distinguish objects; 3 trace significance by phonetic parts and interrelate by word family; 4 correspond name and content. Only in this way the crop and vegetable words in shuowen are commented comprehensively and reliably, for example, the hackling of complicated comments of yi 苢; it is proved that ju 秬 is the ancient name for gaoliang 高粱; yun 芸 is not referred to yunxiang 芸香 or yuntai 芸薹, but umbel plants qianhu 前胡; the study and the discrimination on hu 瓠 and pao 匏, and so on.The planned blueprint has been revised with the further study on all crops and vegetables entries in shuowen, from which the preface finally comes into being. In the preface, the studying thoughts, significances, contents and methods are covered, which provide a new model for further study on name and object in shuowen and also constructive for developing shuowen study theoretically and practically.