The earlist mention of Jiuqu in Chinese literature is found in < < Shu Jing>> published in Zhou Dynasty ( 770 B.C. -221 B.C.). The King saied: "If you want to make rice wine, you should use Jiuqu (`Qu'), and if you want to make `Li' (primitive beer), you should use malt( `Nie') ." In the period of "Warring States", the Jiuqu was used as a midicine for indigestion, because the Jiuqu was a very good source of amylase, protease and lipase.
The earliest varieties of Jiuqu were probably cereals which was remained after consuming, or the cereals unproperly presevered. A number of mycelial microorganisms such as Aspergillus flavour, A. oryzae, yeast and bacteria attached to the surface of the cereals. When temperature and humidity is appropriate for their growth, these microorganisms would multiply and excrete a number of hydrolytic enzymes such as amylase, protease and lipase.
We find the first reference to the Jiuqu preparation process in <
In Eastern Han Dynasty, most of the Jiuqu was shaped in disc, like a millet pancake, as recorded in << Shuowen Jiezhi > > written by Xu Sheng in Eastern Han Dynasty.
<< Qimin Yaoshu>> (535-550 A.D.), the world's oldest encyclopedia of agriculture, was written by Jia Shixie in the Northern and Southern Dynasties (6th century). In this classic work, techniques about agronomy and processing of agricultural products, including the techniques for making a variety of Jiuqu and rice wins were discribed in detail. The Jiuqu were more widely used as saccharifying and fermenting agents for rice wine brewing, soysause and vinegar production. this showed a major step in the development of present-day Jiuqu
2.2.2 In Northern and Southern Dynasties
"Shen Qu"( meaning a Jiuqu having magical effect)
"Ben Qu" ( meaning a Jiuqu that is heavy or cumbersom )
"Bailao Qu"( meaning a Jiuqu used for rice wine manufactured in Spring, and the fermentation lasts only a few days).
2.2.3 From Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) to Song Dynasty ( 960 - 1279 AD)
In the later period Tang Dynasty, a book entiled < < Si shi Zhuangyao>> ( a traditional Chinese almanac ) described a innovational method for stacking the Jiuqu. As described by <
One of the most colorful chapters in the history of rice wine brewing and Jiuqu making concerns the great rice wine master Zhu Hong. He wrote a classic on rice wine brewing technology entitled < < Beishang Jiujing>> ( a classic on rice wines). The books' detailed description of Jiuqu preparation indicates that the traditional techniques for preparing Jiuqu had been in perfection. The processes for making rice wines and Jiuqu which depends upon a rather sophisticated technology and intuitive understanding of microbiology, was a remarkable achievement in the history of China and the world.
The Jiuqu making techniques in Song Dynasty are charactered by using a lot of herbs as ingredients. Zhu Hong thought that the herbs added to the Jiuqu would provide rice wines with favorate fragrances and flavours. In the formula of Jiuqu preparation mentioned in < Qimin Yaoshu>>, herbs were rarely used, except for few cases. More herbs were added as ingredients for Jiuqu making. They included Acnthopanax bark, Cardamon seed, Wujaipi, angelica roat, Dangshen, Apricot seed, Muxiang, etc.
The preparation procedures for XIAO Qu) were detailed in <
Records of about 1200 A.D. showed that the red Jiuqu was invented before Song Dynasty. Chinese people used red rice for making rice wine, or used in food as a colorant.
2.2.4 From Ming Dynasty to Qing Dymasty
During Ming Dynasty and Qin Dynasty, lots of formulas for rice Jiuqu included varieties of herbs. A scientific book entiled <
A number of books published in Ming Dynasty had described in detail the production methods for red rice.