Rare Commentary on the Earliest Biography
of the First Chinese Doctor
Henjaku Soko retsuden kakkai [Commentary on Bianque Canggong zhuan].
24; 46 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. blue wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, & Edo: Kawachiya Kihei et al., 1848.
Second edition (1st ed.: 1770); both editions are very rare. This book, in Chinese with Japanese reading marks, is the commentary by Asai (1706-80), the famous painter of bamboo and court physician of the Owari fiefdom, on the biography of Bian Que (active sometime in 5th-3rd centuries B.C.), the founding father of scientific Chinese medicine. This biography first appeared in Shiji [Records of the Grand Historian], written by Sima Qian. The Shiji, completed ca. 94 B.C., is the first of the monumental series of Chinese dynastic histories.
“Bian Que is said to have learnt and applied a range of medical techniques including acupuncture and moxibustion, drug preparation, and therapeutic massage. He is also credited with special expertise in pulse diagnosis. Shiji calls him China’s first pulse-diagnostician, and presents him as a key figure in the early differentiation of a Chinese medicine, as groups of practitioners distanced themselves from the practice of magic in favour of treatments based on the emerging theories of the Yin and Yang channels and of Qi.”–Ma Kanwen in Lo & Barrett, Imagining Chinese Medicine, p. 446.
Fine set. Minor marginal worming.
❧ Needham et al., Science & Civilisation in China. Vol. 6, Part VI: Medicine, p. 45.
Item ID: 7544