<p style='text-align: justify;'>Famines have been a repeated occurrence throughout the history of China, as a result of natural disaster, climate change, civil war, foreign invasion and bureaucratic incompetence.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>One result of this is that a large body of literature has developed concerned with famine relief, including practical advice about substitutes for normal foodstuffs which may be found in nature and used in emergencies.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>This item is a handbook of famine relief, and contains a set of instructions for the distribution of emergency rations to famine victims.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>The work is not otherwise known as a self-standing volume, but it occurs as an appendix to a well-known compendium on famine relief <i>Qin ding Kang ji lu</i> first published in 1740, subsequently included in the great imperially-sponsored manuscript library <i>Si ku quan shu</i>, and reissued several times over the following two centuries. The work also spread to Japan, where editions appeared in 1794 and 1826.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript is undated but may be assigned to the late 19th century. The text shows variations from the known printed versions which would repay further investigation.</p>
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