Item ID: 9432 Shaowu yuan ban Danxi xin fa fu yu 邵武原板丹溪心法附餘 [Danxi’s Methods of Mental Cultivation, from the Original Woodblocks from Shaowu [Fujian], with an Appendix]. Guang 方廣 FANG, ed.

Master Danxi

Shaowu yuan ban Danxi xin fa fu yu 邵武原板丹溪心法附餘 [Danxi’s Methods of Mental Cultivation, from the Original Woodblocks from Shaowu [Fujian], with an Appendix]

11 columns per page, 24 characters per column. One introductory juan (shoujuan 首卷), 24 juan, & one juan of Appendix in 15 vols. 8vo, early wrappers, new stitching. [Jianyang, Fujian Province: Sizhi Guan 四知館], Preface dated 1536; published before 1628.

A rare Ming edition, corrected, that expounds on the medical concepts of Zhu Zhenheng 朱震亨 (style name Danxi, 1282–1358). Zhu or “Master Danxi,” is today known as the last and greatest of the “Four Master Physicians of the Jin-Yuan” dynasties. The innovations of these four physicians, Liu Wansu (1120-1200?), Zhang Congzheng (1156-1228), Li Gao (1180-1251), and Zhu, shaped Chinese learned medicine between the 13th and 17th centuries. Zhu’s medical theories were also popular in Korea and Japan. His “merging of conflicting views of health and disease shaped Chinese medical thinking and writing from the late fourteenth to the late sixteenth century.”–Fabien Simonis, “Illness, Texts, and ‘Schools’ in Danxi Medicine: A New Look at Chinese Medical History from 1320 to 1800” (Brill: 2015), p. 53.

Zhu was a major innovator and synthesizer of Chinese medicine and the founder of the “Nourishing Yin School,” which taught that yin tended to be in deficiency while yang tended to be in excess. This was an influential theory of the dynamics of health and disease that prevailed through the Ming dynasty and extended to Japan and Korea. Zhu’s body of teachings — known as “Danxi medicine” — had a profound effect on Chinese medical thinking and practice from the 14th century. His pharmaceutical strategies for treating “damp heat” and “yin depletion heat” are still admired today.

“Based on the ‘ministerial fire theory,’ Zhu believed that ‘yang is usually in surplus and yin is usually scanty, which has been considered as his major theoretical achievement. He thought the ‘ministerial fire’ existed in the ‘life gate’, liver and gallbladder. Interacted with ‘heart fire’ it functioned to warm the zang-fu organs. He held the idea that dynamism was the energy that maintained normal life activities as well as the functions of the zang-fu organs and meridians. It was also the outcome of the work of the ‘ministerial fire’. But people were often affected by various external factors such as heightened emotional sensitivity, preference for rich food, overindulgence in wine and women, which induced hyperactivity of the ministerial fire and disease due to consumption of yin fluid and impairment of healthy qi. So he advocated regulating emotions, restricting what one ate and drank, and avoiding excessive sexual life…Zhu attached great importance to preservation of yin essence because it ensured positive health, so he was known as the founder of the ‘School of Yin Nourishing’.”–Min Li & Yongxuan Liang, “Zhu Xhenheng, Founder of the School of Yin Nourishing” in Journal of Traditional Chinese Medical Sciences, 4 (2017), pp. 1-2.

“Zhu Zhenheng is generally regarded as representing the pinnacle of Jiu-Yuan medical thought…As the most outspoken critic of formula books and the simplified Cold Damage therapeutics of his time, Zhu Zhenheng was an icon of the scholar-physician’s intellectual agenda.”–Charles Chace, “Development in Chinese Medicine from the Song through the Qing” in Lo & Stanley-Baker, eds., Routledge Handbook of Chinese Medicine (2022), p. 150.

This book is a notable work of internal medicine in which Zhu describes more than 100 kinds of diseases, including gynecological and pediatric illnesses, and gives his original theories regarding causes, symptoms, and treatments.

A book entitled Danxi’s Methods of Mental Cultivation was first published by Yang Xun 楊珣 in the 1450s. A later edition, by the physician Cheng Chong 程充, appeared in 1482. Our edition is a revised version of the latter work. Fang Guang (active 16th century), the editor of the present collection, was from the central province of Anhui but achieved renown on the north China plain for his medical skills. Initially a student of Confucianism, Fang turned to medicine after a physician’s faulty diagnosis led to the death of his mother. By his own account, Fang worked on the present work for over five years, “removing what was erroneous and keeping what was correct; among the numerous prescriptions, I deleted what was obstruse and made it more simple” 乃將《心法》去訛留正,群方刪繁就簡,合為一書也,凡五年餘. The book contains an undated Preface by Jia Yong 賈詠 (1464-1547), a high official and publisher from Henan, and a second Preface by Fang Guang, dated 1536. The publisher, Sizhi Guan 四知館 (House of Knowing the Four [i.e., the hidden, the manifest, the soft, and the hard, and thus the ordering of the world]), was run by Yang Jin 楊金 (style name Junlin 君林). In addition to the present work, the publisher released other literary and medical collections, military works, and fiction. The imprint is seen as late as 1628. Yang has added a note to the title-page saying that the book has already been published by Sizhi Guan, but that this edition has been produced upon correction of the old and worn blocks.

PROVENANCE: The book carries the seal daidō yakushitsu tosho no ki 大同藥室圖書之記 (ex libris the Great Harmony pharmacy), which was the seal of Nakano Yasuaki 中野康章 (1874-1947), Shinto priest, practitioner of Chinese medicine (Kanpō 漢方), and book collector. Book label on each cover of “Dr. Saiki’s Library.” Riichiro Saiki (1862-1953) was a gynecologist and formed an extensive rare book library.

Very good set, preserved in an old wooden box. The wrappers of each volume are somewhat wormed, which extends into the text but does not obscure any characters. One leaf has been supplied in excellent and early manuscript facsimile.


Furth, Charlotte. “The Physician as Philosopher of the Way: Zhu Zhenheng (1282-1358).” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 66.2 (2006): 425–426.

Lü Ming’an 呂明安. “Fang Guang” 方廣. In Xin'an yixue fangyao jinghua 新安医学方药精华, 31–33. Edited by Chen Xuegong 陈雪功. Beijing: Zhongguo zhongyiyao chubanshe, 2009.

Qu Mianliang 瞿冕良, ed. Zhongguo guji banke cidian 中国古籍版刻辞典. Jinan: Qi-Lu shushe, 1999.

Price: $49,500.00

Item ID: 9432