A Chinese Ophthalmological Classic

[From label on upper cover]: Ginkai seibi; [from title-page]: Naifu hiden ganka ginkai seibi [in Chinese: Yin hai jin wei; Explanation of the Eye].

80 woodcut illus. in the text. 100; 89 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. wrappers (minor foxing & rubbing), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers (label on Vol. I no longer present), new stitching. Kyoto: Murakami Kanbei, 1668.

First Japanese edition, in Chinese with Japanese reading marks, of the Yin hai jing wei, a Chinese ophthalmological classic, with 80 woodcut illustrations of various eye diseases. Some Chinese authorities have suggested that Simiao Sun (581-682), the famous physician of the Tang dynasty, was the author of this work, but other evidence supports a later date for the work, at least during the Song Dynasty, and perhaps afterwards. Sun, known as “the King of Medicine,” was a “great alchemist as well as an eminent physician and medical writer.”–Lu & Needham, Celestial Lancets, p. 121.

This was one of the chief texts used in the ophthalmological practice of Japanese physicians of the “middle ages” in Japan. It includes therapeutics, operations, and the use of moxa in ocular disorders. It is based on the theory of wu lun ba kuo, showing the illustrations of a variety of eye diseases and explaining the causes and prescriptions of each disease.

A fine set.

❧ Mestler, A Galaxy of Old Japanese Medical Books, IV, p. 328–(& illus. on Plate 1). Needham et al., Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 5, Part III, pp. 132-39. Unschuld, Medicine in China. A History of Ideas, p. 160–“At the beginning of the seventh century, Sun Ssu-miao, a scholar versed in all humanistic endeavors, compiled an extensive collection of prescriptions in which he combined, as already indicated, the concepts of systematic correspondence with Taoist techniques of demonic exorcism as well as with certain Buddhist notions.”.

Price: $9,500.00

Item ID: 7013