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Institute of Chinese Agricultural Heritage Research (ICAHR)


The Institute of Chinese Agricultural Heritage Research (ICAHR) is a research, education and information organ in agricultural history and rural studies under the dual leadership of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Nanjing Agricultural University. Facing the well-known Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum at a distance, it is situated in the beautiful scenic spot of the eastern suburb of Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, P. R. China.

The institution grew out of the Research Department of Agricultural History of   Library of University of Nanking in 1921 and was reorganized in 1955 into a special institution for Chinese agricultural history. With research work and documents collected during the past 80 years, and with efforts of the pioneer of this institute, Professor Wan Guoding and his successors, this institution has well developed into a research, education and an information center for Chinese agricultural history and rural studies with a staff of over 30 professors and researchers and a collection of thousands of rare books and manuscripts on Chinese agriculture.

The main tasks of the Institution cover the followings:
1. Research in agricultural history and rural studies both in China and the world, exploration and summing up of the good traditions of Chinese agriculture. The areas of orientation include:
  •  The history of agricultural science and technology;
  •  The history of agricultural economy;
  •  The history of rural society;
  •  The history of agricultural policies, ideologies and culture;
  •  Regional agricultural history;
  •  World agricultural history;
  •  Agricultural bibliography in ancient China;
  •  The development of scientech, economy and society.
2. Collecting, collation and preservation of ancient Chinese books on agriculture and conducting research in agricultural and rural history; and services in circulation and information advice.

3. Training of postgraduates of both master's and doctoral degrees in agrarian history and history of science and technology, and accepting postdoc and visiting scholars both from home and abroad.

At present the institution has eight research centers and two departments:
  •  Center of the History of Agricultural Science and Technology;
  •  Center of the History of Agricultural Economy;
  •  Center for Rural History;
  •  Center of Regional Agriculture;
  •  Center of World Agricultural History;
  •  Center for Agricultural Literature in Ancient China;
  •  Center for Philosophy of Science;
  •  Center for the Development of Sci-tech, Economy and Society;
  •  Editorial Department;
  •  Department of Postgraduate Training and Academic Exchanges.

During the past 80 years, the Institution has always lay great emphasis on collecting and collating documents of China’s ancient agronomy and rural history. It has been successively sending researchers to over 100 institutions of culture and history as well as public and private libraries in more than 40 cities throughout the country. From more than 4,000 ancient books, there have been compiled 613 volumes of historical documents of agriculture amounting to 4,200,000 words. Bound in book volumes, these documents are classified according to such special subjects as crops, fruit trees and vegetables, wild economic forest, domestic animals and veterinary science, wild animals, aquatic products industry, silkworms and mulberry trees, processing of agricultural products, grain storage and water transport, land utilization, reclamation of wasteland, irrigation and water conservancy, agricultural policies in the history, and famines due to crop failures. Right now, the institution is trying to establish a National Information Center for Chinese Agricultural Heritage.

In addition, from more than 8,000 extant local gazetteers, three types of series were extracted, i.e., and, all of which amount to over 5,000,000 words in 680 volumes. Apart from a very small part that have been published, most of these documents have been kept in manuscript. They are highly praised for their great number and substantial contents by scholars who have visited the institution and are considered a large data base for further research in Chinese agricultural history.

With the aid of this collection, the researchers of this institution have also collated and annotated dozens of ancient books of agriculture, written over 80 books and published over a thousand treatises and papers, which include A Collated and Annotated (Qimin Yaoshu), A Study on, A History of Chinese Agronomy, The Traditional and Modern Agriculture in China, and A History of Agricultural Science and Technology of China which have been well received and frequently quoted by scholars both at home and abroad.

This instittute seeks academic cooperation with institutions both from China and abroad in the following areas:

1. Exchange of scholarly results. The institution edits the quarterly journal, and would like to establish exchange relations with other related institutions.
2. Cooperative education. The institution has Ph D programs in agricultural history and the history of science and technology as well as two Master’s programs in philosophy of science and public administration. The institution would like to cooperate with other institutions and university departments in postgraduate training and exchanging visiting scholars and postdoctoral research fellows.
3. Research cooperation. The institution tries to establish a joint research center for Chinese history and traditional culture with related institutions and university departments abroad to conduct long-term cooperative research.
4. To adapt to the internationalization of economy and cultural diversification, this institution is set to digitalize all the collections and welcomes support and cooperation from any foundations and institutions both at home and abroad to develop these scholarly resources.


Professor Wang Siming
Institute of Chinese Agricultural Heritage Research
Nanjing Agricultural University
Address: Weigang, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, P.R. China 210095
Tel: +86-25-84396772 / 84395446
Fax: +86-25-84396771
E-mail: icac@njau.edu.cn