Very Rare Commentary on the Nanjin

Nangkyo [or] Nankei hongi taisho [Original Meaning of Nanjin, Explained]. In Chinese with Japanese reading marks.

Many woodcuts & diagrams in the text. 27 vols., including one vol. of Preface, bibliography, & index; three vols. of the Nanjin & Shou Wa’s commentary; three vols. of illus. & remarks on the illus.; & 20 vols. of Morimoto’s commentary. Large 8vo, orig. semi-stiff wrappers (some rubbing & wear, occasional worming), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers (some missing or worn), new stitching. [Japan]: Preface dated 1678; [according to the Union Catalogue of Early Japanese Books, publication date is 1695, but on what basis, we do not know].

First edition of this rare (not in WorldCat) and extensive commentary on the Nanjin (Classic of Difficult Issues, or, more fully, Manual of Explanations of 81 Difficult Passages in the Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor), written in the first or second century A.D. The Nanjin (or Nan Ching) played a seminal role in the later development of Chinese medicine; it addresses questions concerning the location, size, and normal functions of the basic units that constitute the organism, discusses the origins and the nature of illnesses, outlines a system of therapeutic needling, and develops in great detail an innovative approach to diagnosis.

“The Nan-ching is the Chinese medical classic that provoked the largest number of commentaries in subsequent centuries. It is safe to say that in terms of intellectual importance and influence, the Huang-ti nei-ching texts [The Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor], with their unsystematic, heterogeneous, and partly pre-systematic correspondence contents, were pushed almost into oblivion during the first millennium A.D. by the Nan-ching…the diagnostic innovations introduced by the Nan-ching gained wide acceptance in subsequent centuries and have remained, in theory at least, the dominant diagnostic tool of the practitioner of the medicine of systematic correspondence to this day,”–Unschuld, Medicine in China. A History of Ideas (2010), p. 85.

The 81 chapters of the Nanjin are as follows: chapters 1-22 discuss the pulse; chapters 23-29 deal with channels and collaterals; chapters 30-47 explain visceral organs; chapters 48-61 study diseases and ailments; chapters 62-68 focus on acupoints; and the final 13 chapters explore acupuncture.

In the 14th century, the famous Chinese physician Shou Wa (active 1360-70), whom Needham describes as “one of the greatest medical writers of the Yuan times” (Celestial Lancets, p. 101 & see pp. 156-57), provided extensive commentaries on the Nanjin. To the 12 standard meridians, Shou Wa was the first to add two extra meridians, the “governor vessel” (du mai) and “conception vessel” (ren mai); the 14 meridians then became the standard major meridians in most schools of clinical application.

Several editions of Shou Wa’s commentary were published in Japan in two volumes under his Japanese name, “Ju Katsu.” The present work is a further extensive commentary on the Nanjin and Shou Wa’s own commentary. Little is known about Morimoto except that he was a doctor in Nagasaki.

This set is complete and in fresh condition. There is some worming to many of the covers and some worming in 13 of the volumes, touching text and illustration. However, we do not find these defects offensive or important, considering the rarity of this book. Occasional minor staining and dampstaining. In two chitsu.

Price: $12,500.00

Item ID: 6921