Western Barbarian Medicine

Illustrated scroll on paper, entitled at beginning “Rai rai hiden no maki” [“Secrets Passed Down on this Scroll”].

Seven color paintings of patients afflicted with leprosy & one anatomical illus. of the central body trunk & its organs. Scroll (253 x 5250 mm.). [Japan]: at end, in trans.: “Copied 1812.”

The long introduction at the beginning of this scroll provides details of the most interesting provenance of the information contained here, which passed through several generations of Portuguese and Japanese physicians. We learn that the treatments described here to cure leprosy originate with Portuguese doctors who accompanied missionaries to Japan in the second half of the 16th century. The two names of the Western doctors, father and son, are given in kanji but are not decipherable (the son’s first name is Japanese: “Kiyotada”). These two men lived in Higo Province, today’s Kumamoto. In 1557, the father gave to his son the secret information on leprosy treatments, who, in turn, passed the secrets on to his own son, “Kiyonori,” in 1619. The secret knowledge then passed to a family of physicians named “Satake,” who lived in Aki Province and practiced as court doctors for Lord Terumoto Moori, and also two doctors named Yoshioka and Wakabayashi, both of whom worked in Nagasaki.

Following this introduction, there is a section on the correct diagnosis of leprosy; it is clearly based on Chinese medicine.

Next we have seven case studies, each vividly illustrated with depictions of men and women afflicted with leprosy. The author provides careful descriptions of each case history and symptoms. He also provides detailed recipes for various herbal medications for each patient, with careful instructions for using the medicines (pills and liquids for external use), ointments, and plasters. There are further recipes given for other leprosy treatments at the end as well as diet recommendations (rice and beans are good; mochi, alcohol, river fish, and meat are bad).

At the very end is the statement (in trans.): “Copied 1812 by Shoju (or Masatoshi) Yoshioka.”

In very good condition.

Price: $12,500.00

Item ID: 8212

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