Manuscript in Japanese characters on paper with nine full-page richly colored anatomical drawings. 20 folding leaves (two of which are blank). 8vo (241 x 173 mm.), orig. wrappers (wrappers somewhat wormed), manuscript label on upper cover “Zofu zusetsu” [“Explanation of Intestinal Organs”]. Japan: ca. late 16th century or early 17th century.

An important manuscript. In 1304, Seizen (or Joka or Shozen) Kajiwara (1266-1337?), a priest and physician, wrote the Toni-sho [Medical Excerpts urgently Copied], a translation of an unidentified Chinese book (though Needham states it is based on Yang Chieh’s Tshun Chen Huan Chung Thu of 1113 [Illustrations of the True Form of the Body], the oldest extant illustrated anatomical treatise in Chinese), with additions from Kajiwara’s own experiences as a doctor. It is the oldest extant medical work in the Japanese language; several manuscript copies are known to exist. In 1313, Kajiwara rewrote the Toni-sho, greatly enlarging it and the work was now called Manan-ho [Myriad Healing Prescriptions].

“Of particular interest is the 54th volume which was an anatomical atlas with some descriptive text, the pictures probably having been copied from some pre-existing Chinese work — the original source unfortunately not specified. Later on (exactly when is uncertain) this atlas came to be known by the separate title of Gozo roppu-no-zu [in Chinese: Wu zang lin fu; in English: Five Intestines and the Six Abdominal Organs].”–Mestler, A Galaxy of Old Japanese Medical Books, Part V, p. 178.

The manuscript is divided into two parts. The first eleven leaves (including the first blank), contain nine richly handcolored drawings of the abdominal organs with accompanying text. These are illustrations of the dissected body of Hsi fan Ou, a dissident Chinese leader who was captured and executed in 1045 along with many of his accomplices. His body was received by several doctors who used the opportunity to dissect and examine his internal organs. Draughtsmen were commissioned to make drawings of all the viscera and other parts. The text gives a detailed description all of the organs.

The remaining leaves are entitled “Sanzo ben” [‘Theory of the Three Organs”] with a note that “teacher Shuhaku Asai in Kyoto told me [the scribe].” This section of the manuscript apparently has remained unstudied and unpublished. Asai (1643-1705), studied under Sanpaku Ajioka and was a contemporary of Ippo Okamoto.

The illustrations and text have some minor worming carefully repaired.

❧ Needham, Science & Civilization in China, Vol. 5, Part V, p. 112.

Price: $15,000.00

Item ID: 5649

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