Manuscript scroll (193 x 6845 mm.), on paper, written & illustrated on each side, depicting 199 pairs of diseased eyes painted, in brush with black, gray, and red wash, copper or bronze roller. EYE DISEASE SCROLL.
Manuscript scroll (193 x 6845 mm.), on paper, written & illustrated on each side, depicting 199 pairs of diseased eyes painted, in brush with black, gray, and red wash, copper or bronze roller.

Diseases of the Eye

Manuscript scroll (193 x 6845 mm.), on paper, written & illustrated on each side, depicting 199 pairs of diseased eyes painted, in brush with black, gray, and red wash, copper or bronze roller.

[Japan: late Edo].

In the tradition that was so prevalent in Japanese medicine, medical techniques and treatments were kept in manuscript in order to keep them secret (hidensho or confidential teaching texts) and passed on to students through lectures and brief demonstrations. This remarkable scroll, which depicts nearly two hundred pairs of diseased eyes, is such an example. It is very much in the tradition of the famous Majima school of ophthalmology, which was founded in the 14th century. Eye diseases were common in Japan in the pre-Edo and Edo periods, due to malnutrition and infectious diseases.

This is clearly a scroll prepared by a master doctor and is derived from Chinese medicine. The first group of images of eyes depicts broad general symptoms of eye diseases including cataracts, inflammation, etc. This is followed by two pairs of eyes, the first showing the structural relationship of the eye to the “five wheels” (the five main internal organs: heart, lung, liver, kidney, and spleen), a theory that originated in the Song dynasty. The second shows the relationships to the body’s “eight boundaries.” From changes of the “five wheels” and “eight boundaries,” diseases and the necessary therapy may be deduced.

Following this is a series of illustrated case studies of diseased eyes; some the doctor himself observed and others “were told to him” by other doctors. The next is a series of pharmaceutical recipes that include such materials as gypsum, camphor, deer musk, herbs, ground oyster shells, mint, orange rinds, rhubarb, horns of animals, talc, beeswax, etc. This pattern of case histories and medical recipes is continued on the inner side of the scroll. There are a total of eleven recipes.

The doctor had much more to relate and has used the entire outer side of the scroll as well. Here, below the illustrations of the pairs of diseased eyes, the descriptions are much longer, with details on the health condition of the patient, symptoms of the eye disease, the pharmaceutical preparations used, the course of treatment, and results.

Some of the eye diseases depicted in this scroll include cataract, glaucoma, corneal opacities, and blepharitis.

In fine condition. The are several careful patches and strengthening to a few parts of the scroll.

Price: $6,500.00

Item ID: 6588