Classified Materia Medica from Historical Classics for Emergency


Jing shi zheng lei bei ji ben cao (Classified materia medica from historical classics for emergency), often abbreviated as Zheng lei ben cao, is an encyclopedic work on materia medica. The compiler, Song physician Tang Shenwei, systematically collected all 365 herbs recorded in Shennong ben cao jin (Shennong’s materia medica) of the Qin and Han. He also studied classics of the Liang and Tang, such as Ben cao jing ji zhu (Variorum of the classic of materia medica) by Tao Hongjing (452−536) and Xin xiu ben cao (Newly revised materia medica) by Su Jing (published circa 659). At the completion of his work, between the late 11th and early 12th centuries, Tang had collected 1,746 medical herbs. The contents of this work are extremely rich and of great practical use. The book was highly recommended by the physicians of the time and was widely known. Tang’s work provides a systematic summary of the greatest achievements in materia medica during earlier times. It received great attention during the Song dynasty. After revisions, it was reissued in 1108 and promulgated as an official pharmacopeia. At the beginning is a preface for the 1211 edition, written by Liu Jia, a military prefect of Tongchuan, in which he indicates that the work was first revised in Jiangxi, reprinted in Nanlong, and then verified in Dongzi. This copy is a reprint edition of the edition of 1185 (12th year of the Chunxi reign) printed by the Transport Division of Jiangxi Circuit. It also contains the 1185 print title. It was in the collection of Haiyuange, the private library of Yang Shaohe in Liaocheng, Shandong, in the mid-19th century, and there are several seal impressions, including that of Haiyuange and Yang Shaohe’s personal seals. It is now in the collection of National Library of China.

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Transport Division, Jiangxi Circuit, Nanlong


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Stitched binding ; 24.6 x 19.1 centimeters

Last updated: August 4, 2014