A Very Long Scroll

Manuscript scroll on paper entitled from the accompanying label “Uma shobyo miyo [or] kenyo no koto. Yakushin issai no ryoji” [“Diagnoses of all the Horse Diseases. Grand Encyclopedia of Medicine and Needle Treatments”].

30 black & white brush & ink drawings of diseased horses. Scroll (130 x 27,630 mm.), 94 joined sheets, with several extension flaps which fold down with additional text, recently & expertly backed. Omi Province (today’s Shiga Province): the most modern date we find in the scroll is 1809.

A remarkably long scroll (27,630 mm.); this is the most comprehensive old Japanese encyclopedia of horse diseases and their treatments we have encountered. The text includes recipes for medicines and acupuncture techniques as well as numerous case histories. There are references to texts being copied in 1611, which are present in this scroll. Each of the 94 sheets is numbered. It is clear that this was once a codex in at least two volumes and has been converted into an enormously long scroll. The accompanying title label was clearly the upper wrapper of the codex.

At the beginning of this scroll are 30 brush & ink drawings of diseased horses; these are representations of case histories adapted from the Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor, written about 2700 B.C. The case histories discuss rare diseases, digestive problems, drinking too much cold water, kidney diseases, heart problems, lung problems, wounds to the head, diseases of the spleen, parasitical worms, breathing problems including asthma, constipation, cramping, intestinal blocking, food poisoning, lack of appetite, nervous horses, brain diseases, “black sweat,” chills, etc. Each case history concludes with pharmaceutical recipes.

Sheets 51 to 94 contain sections on specific topics and include eye diseases, tongue diagnosis, diagnosis based on the condition of the tail, broken bone setting, medicines to treat blood clots, the six meridians, the 18 meridians, tumors and their treatment with acupuncture (there is a long list of pressure points with explanations of their relationship to tumors and other diseases), etc.

At the very end of this scroll we find the date “1809” with the name “Akatsu.”

In fine condition, preserved in a box.

Price: $6,500.00

Item ID: 6894