Clive Farahar Antiquarian Books - Rare and Antiquarian Books and Manuscripts

CHINA. An Archive of 600 Herbal Remedies carved on 60 wooden boards, five to each side  used by a Pharmacist for printing labels for the medicine dispensed, Provincial Southern China, late 19th Century
5 x 14½ max. some occasional light worming, some slight damage affecting the text of 3 boards, preserved in 4 clamshell boxes with leather spines and labels,
These Receipts are headed with either the title Chung the Celestial at Chuan-Tuan, or Military General the Protector of the People at Chu-Ling-Shan. There are exactly 200 numbered (1-200) 'labels' each, for men, women and children, giving the ingredients and name of the remedy Pills or Powders to "Restore Youth" and suchlike. They use the Imperial Measures and not metric, used after the Revolution of 1911. Chinese Medicine is of great antiquity and devoid of any outside influence. Legend has it that the Yellow Emperor, Huang Ti, wrote the first treatise on Chinese Medicine in 300B.C. But in its present form, the Nei Ching, on which most Chinese Medical Literature is founded, is thought to date from the third century A.D. It was the Nei ching which says that "the blood current flows continously in a circle and never stops," anticipating Harvey by centuries. The Chinese materia medica has always been extensive and consists of vegetable, animal, including human, and mineral remedies. There were famous herbals from ancient times, but these, about 1000 were collected by Li Shih-chen in the Pen-ts'ao kang-mu or Great Pharmacopia of the 16th Century. In 52 volumes it was revised and reprinted many times and is still authorative. The use of drugs is to restore the harmony of the ying and yang, related to the five organs, five planets, and five colours. Western influences did not occur until the 19th century, but now, with the revival of Taoist temples for healing which began to be tolerated again in the 1970s, and the profusion Chinese Chemists, Acupuncturists and Hydrotherapists in the West, the Chinese can be said to have redressed the balance. The troubled history of the 20th Century in China has made the survival of such ephemeral documents, and in such quantity, quite remarkable.

Stock ref: 14338