Treatises of the Supervisor and Guardian of the Cinnamon Sea

The Natural World and Material Culture of Twelfth-Century China

Fan Chengda
Translated by James M. Hargett

  • Published: 2011
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; Literary Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 264 pp., 13 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

Fan Chengda (1126-1193) was a high-ranking Chinese government official in Guangxi, an experienced traveler, a keen observer, and a gifted writer. His observations on a wide range of subjects are always interesting and revealing, and constitute an important contribution to the literature on Song dynasty China's frontier peoples. Originally written in direct, unadorned, and allusion-free classical Chinese prose, the complete and annotated English translation of Treatises of the Supervisor and Guardian of the Cinnamon Sea (Guihai yuheng zhi) captures its charm and significance.
James M. Hargett is professor of Chinese at the State University of New York, Albany. He is the author of Stairway to Heaven: A Journey to the Summit of Mount Emei and translator of Riding the River Home: A Complete and Annotated Translation of Fan Chengda's (1126-1193) Boat Trip to Wu (Wuchuan lu).

"A sinological tour de force."
-Paul Jakov Smith, Haverford College

"Hargett's excellent translation captures the charm of Fan's prose and provides a wealth of information about non-Chinese peoples and products of the southwest."
-Valerie Hansen, Yale University

Translator's Notes

Author's Preface

1. Precipice-Grottoes
2. Metals and Stones
3. Aromatics
4. Wines
5. Implements
6. Birds
7. Quadrupeds
8. Insects and Fishes
9. Flowers
10. Fruites
11. Herbaceous Plants and Trees
12. Miscellaneous Items
13. The Man Peoples

Original Chinese Text
Abbreviations Used in the Notes and Bibliography

Appendix: Important Collections
Reprinting the Text of Treatise

"A major milestone in the field of sinology as well as in Hargett's prolific career. . . . We are indebted to Hargett for his precise, readable, and thoroughly researched translation of the Treatises."
-Benjamin B. Ridgway, China Review International

"The translation is carefully annotated and the extensive notes with many explanations use modern scientific terminology to provide the reader with an excellent insight into the themes and topics described . . . a very useful reference work for everybody who works on related topics . . . suitable for teaching classes . . . should not be missing in any sinological library of pre-modern Chinese history."
-Angela Schottenhammer, Monumenta Serica

"Treatises is an item that specialists should definitely acquire for their library, and readers with an interest in natural history will certainly enjoy reading."
-Roderich Ptak, Journal of Asian History

"Hargett's conscientious translation and meticulous study of Fan Chengda's Treatises of the Supervisor and Guardian of the Cinnamon Sea represents the culmination of a labor of devotion and love. The book does a great service to enhance our knowledge and understanding of the natural world, material culture, and ethnography in China's southwestern frontier in the twelfth century. Such an indispensable book will definitely stimulate future researchers."
-Hang Lin, Asiatische Studien/ Etudes Asiatiques