The Newly Illustrated Manual of Acupuncture Points on a Bronze Figure, with Supplemental Annotations


This work was compiled by imperial order by Wang Weiyi (987–1067), the Hanlin Academy physician, in 1026 in Bianjing (present-day Kaifeng, Henan Province). Two large stone steles containing the text were also erected so that copies of it could be made. In his preface, Xia Li (985–1051), a high Song official, states that Wang Weiyi made steadfast efforts in compiling the work and consulted both ancient and contemporary sources. To demonstrate his manual visually and not just in words, in 1027 Wang Weiyi had two human-sized bronze figures cast, each figure with organs placed inside. The 354 acupuncture points were marked on the bronze bodies, with mercury infused in them and then sealed with wax. With the increasing use of acupuncture and moxibustion during the Song dynasty, it became necessary to formulate a national standard of meridians and points. This illustrated work, in five juan, was intended as an aid to acupuncture education and practice. It provides the standardized course of the 12 regular meridians, the vessels, and the points along the meridians. It introduces images of the main and collateral channels in hands and feet, instructs how to guard against errors in acupuncture, explains each point along the 12 meridians, and gives various methods according to the four seasons, the five primary elements, and breathing methods. The text often uses a question-and-answer dialogue between the Yellow Emperor and the God of Thunder. Readers in later centuries often referred to this work as Tong ren (Bronze man) or Tong ren jing (Bronze man manual). During the war between the Song and the Jin, one of the bronze figures was lost. The other was taken by the Jurchens and returned only after negotiations between the Song and Jin courts. The book presented here is a Yuan edition, the earliest extant copy, and it is extremely valuable.

Subject Date


Title in Original Language


Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

5 juan, 5 volumes : illustrations ; 18.1 x 11.6 centimeters


  • Only preface and partial text of juan 1 are included in the WDL presentation.

Last updated: March 5, 2014