Discussions on Salt and Iron: Ten Juan


Yan tie lun (Discussions on salt and iron) is a collection of 60 essays on political topics and debates. The work is an important historical document, arranged and compiled by Huan Kuan of Western Han, based on the records of the famous debate held at the imperial court in 81 BC on the state policy on salt and iron. Huan Kuan (whose dates of birth and death are unknown), courtesy name Cigong, was a native of Ru’nan (present-day Shangcai, Henan). During the reign of Emperor Xuandi (reigned 73‒49 BC), Huan Kuan was appointed a court gentleman. He later became a governor of the Lujiang Commandery. The work contains records of the great debate among scholars on the production and distribution of salt and iron. It also touches upon topics concerning politics, the economy, military affairs, diplomacy, and culture during the Emperor Wudi era (140‒87 BC) of the Han. Presented here is a printed edition by Tu Zhen, made in the 14th year (1501) of the Hongzhi reign of Ming. It is in ten juan and two volumes. Tu Zhen (whose dates of birth and death are unknown), a native of Xin’gan (in present-day Jiangxi), received his jin shi degree in 1499. He compiled the work while he was the magistrate of Jiangyin. This is the earliest existing edition of Yan tie lun.

Last updated: July 12, 2017