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Manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Shin Jōkō no zu” 唇常候之圖 [Illustrations of Constant Phenomena of the Lips].

19 illus. of lips & 42 illus. of tongues (several in color). Nine folding leaves. 8vo (231 x 170 mm.), orig. wrappers, orig. stitching. [Japan]: [mid- to late Edo].

An illustrated manuscript on the pathology of the lips and tongue. Tongue diagnosis has long remained a vital tool used in traditional Chinese medicine both for assessing the current health of a patient and providing a basis for prognosis. It grew in popularity in the late imperial period and was well-established by the 18th century (Oliver Loi-Koe, “Ancient Pulse-Taking, Complexions and the Rise of Tongue Diagnosis in Modern China,” in the Routledge Handbook of Chinese Medicine, pp. 171-73). Our manuscript shows that it was also practiced in Japan.

We give the title found on the upper wrapper and first leaf, but the work actually consists of several sets of illustrations, only the first of which carries the title “Illustrations of Constant Phenomena of the Lips.” The remainder are “Jūhachi shin no zu” 十八唇之圖 [“18 Illustrations of Lips”], “Hachi zetsu no zu” 八舌之圖 [“Eight Illustrations of the Tongue”], and “Yōzetsu jūsan no zu” 陽舌十三之圖 [“13 Illustrations of the Top of the Tongue”]. The illustration of “Constant Phenomena of the Lips” shows a healthy pair of lips with different parts marked. There is a similar illustration of a healthy tongue preceding the tongues in various states of sickness, but that illustration does not carry a label.

Each illustration is accompanied by a legend describing the medical condition depicted. The lips are described as being “red like fire,” having a “watery sheen,” or being “swollen and cracked,” “yellow and hard,” or “yellow and hot,” with blisters or marks in various colors noted as well. The pathological states of the tongue are similarly illustrated and described. Methods of treatment are provided.

Fine condition. Minor worming touching characters and illustrations, carefully mended.

Price: $3,750.00

Item ID: 10193