The Pattern of Asia

By John E. Brush; Norton S. Ginsburg | Go to book overview

ix
China AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SUPPLY

CHINA'S CULTURE HAS AN AGRARIAN BASE THAT IN IMPERIAL DAYS was epitomized by the annual plowing ritual performed by the emperor on the marble altar of agriculture at Pei-ching (Peking). Farm people still make sacrifices at local shrines to the God and Goddess of Agriculture, their most significant deities. In the five-rank hierarchy of China's traditional social classes, the farmer occupied second place after the scholar-officials. The thesis that the greatest virtue of the universe is fecundity, in Chinese "sheng," reflected the emphasis upon agriculture.

All cultures and civilizations impress certain of their features upon the landscape. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Chinese landscape clearly reflects the intense agricultural drive of the Chinese people (Figure 31). This is seen in the utilization of virtually every square yard of arable alluvial land in some form of crop production, in the terracing of slopelands for paddy fields in the moist south and for dry crops on the loess plateau, and in the race for a harvest on river beaches or lake beds before the annual flood inundates the land. The fragmentation of the agricultural surface into tiny fields not only is an indication of the great population pressure that necessitates intensive hand tillage, but also of the traditional custom of the equal division of family farms among the sons at a farm-owner's death. Finally, the farm landscape reflects the relative absence of direct land use for animal husbandry and the preponderance of cereal cultivation. Pasture lots are non-existent, although nonarable hill slopes are grazed by plow animals, goats, and some sheep.

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The Pattern of Asia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Contents xi
  • Maps xiii
  • I - Asia The Physical Basis 1
  • II - Asian Asia Patterns and Problems 21
  • III - East Asia An Introduction 46
  • V - Japan Agriculture and Food Supply 86
  • VI - Japan Industry and Commerce 108
  • VII - Korea 130
  • VIII - China Physical Diversity 155
  • IX - China Agriculture and Food Supply 168
  • X - China The North and Far West 190
  • XI - China The South 213
  • XII - China Industry and Commerce 239
  • XIII - China Political Organization, Population, And Prospects 258
  • XIV - Mongolian People's Republic 274
  • XV - Southeast Asia An Introduction 290
  • Selected Geographical Bibliography 321
  • XVII - Indonesia 344
  • XVIII - Malaya and British Borneo 370
  • XIX - Thailand 391
  • XX - Indochina The Two Viet, Cambodia, and Laos 410
  • XXI - Burma 440
  • XXII - South Asia Peoples and Cultures 458
  • XXIII - South Asia The Physical Basis of Life 483
  • XXIV - South Asia Political Organization 523
  • XXV - Northern India and The Himalayan Countries 558
  • XXVI - South India 596
  • XXVII - Pakistan 632
  • XXVIII - Ceylon 663
  • XXIX - Afghanistan 679
  • XXX - Southwest Asia An Introduction 698
  • XXXI - South Asia Economic Patterns 716
  • XXXII - Southwest Asia Regional Problems 733
  • XXXIII - Turkey 745
  • XXXIV - Iran 767
  • XXXV - The Fertile Crescent, I Israel Ande Lebanon 790
  • XXXVI - The Fertile Crescent, II Syria, Jordan, Iraq 811
  • XXVII - The Arabian Peninsula 831
  • XXXVIII - Russia and Asia 845
  • XXXIX - Soviet Asia 873
  • Index 909
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