A finely drawn & painted acupuncture and moxibustion scroll on four joined sheets of paper (365 x 2780 mm.), recently & expertly backed with modern paper, silk endpapers & borders. Japan: written at end “1651.”. ACUPUNCTURE, MOXIBUSTION SCROLL.

A finely drawn & painted acupuncture and moxibustion scroll on four joined sheets of paper (365 x 2780 mm.), recently & expertly backed with modern paper, silk endpapers & borders. Japan: written at end “1651.”

This attractive scroll begins with three large figures of the human body — front, rear, and side views — with locations of acupuncture points (red dots) and moxibustion locations (black dots). Each of the acupuncture pressure points are labeled in manuscript with their names. The moxibustion points are also labelled but with notes giving their locations. The three images are delicately painted with flesh colors and black hair. The anterior view depicts the 21 bones of the spine. Many of these are numbered with references to specific organs. Again, pressure points are displayed.

These illustrations are derived from the Ling-shu [the “Vital Axis”], a rare collection of dissertations on moxibustion and acupuncture, written in about the second century BCE, which “formed [along with the Su Wen] the theoretical basis of classical Chinese medicine…the Ling-shu…discusses mainly therapy — mostly centered on medicinal prescriptions, but also including physical therapies such as bonesetting and breathing exercises, and stimulation treatments such as acupuncture, moxibustion and massage.”–Sugimoto & Swain, Science & Culture in Traditional Japan, p. 85.

This is followed by a view of the five organs and six intestines, all color coded (lung is white, heart is red, liver is green, spleen is yellow, and kidney is black).

The next image is most unusual: in a tabular array, we see the bones of the spine, their connections to the five organs, the four directions (West, South, East, and North), five bagua (trigram) symbols used in Taoist cosmology (dui, li, zhen, kun, and kan) with correspondences in traditional Chinese medicine (including direction, organs, solar terms, color, elements, taste, emotional state or humor, stage, etc.).

The next images are of the hand and foot, with notes on which organs and intestines are connected to each finger and toe.

The next image, in red ink, is hard to decipher. It seems to be related to the circulation between hand and foot.

At the end, there is an contemporary annotation stating that the notes were given by a certain “Yoshihiro” (we cannot decipher his last name). Next to this is a note stating that this scroll was written by “Kichiuemon Watanabe” with the year “Keian 4“ (February 1651) and given to “Seibei Kimura.”

One or two wormholes but in fine and fresh condition with the colors rich and strong.

❧ See Lu & Needham, Celestial Lancets. Wang Shumin & Gabriel Fuentes, “Chinese Medical Illustration: Chronologies and Categories” in Imagining Chinese Medicine (eds. Vivienne Lo & Penelope Barrett), 2018, pp. 29-50.

Price: $15,000.00

Item ID: 6239