A Complete Collection of Ancient and Present Medical Works: 100 Juan


Gu jin yi tong da quan (A complete collection of ancient and modern medical works) is an encyclopedic medical compilation that includes more than 390 medical works and Confucian classics on philosophy, history, and literature in 100 juan. The compiler was Xu Chunfu (1520−96), courtesy name Ruyuan, style names Donggao, Sihe, and Simin, a native of Xin’an. He studied under Grand Academician Ye Guangshan for the civil service examinations. As he was often in poor health, Xu also began to study medicine with the Ming physician Wang Huan, after which he served at the Imperial Academy of Medicine and practiced medicine in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang region for more than ten years. According to the editorial guide to this work, the prescriptions selected were taken from historical medical sources and based on rules written by saintly and wise sages, and thus were regarded as standard for all. The work cites writings by famous physicians as well as literary works, with Nei jing (shortened title of Huangdi nei jing [The inner canon of Emperor Huang-di]) providing the basic tenets and standard methods. The compiler places the greatest importance on the pulse. Diseases are classified and their sources discussed. Quoting Nei jing and Zhu bing yuan hou lun (On pathogens and syndromes), Xu explains pathogenesis. Acupuncture is to be applied following the primary diagnoses of disease. The work advises that physicians should be aware of incurable diseases. They must be familiar with medicinal herbs and their characteristics. On the topic of nurturing life, Xu introduces the applicable methods of Daoist works. He explains in detail the theory of the movement of qi and records miraculous formulas, secret prescriptions, and everyday practices. The preface was written by Xu Chunfu in 1556, but the compilation took almost ten years to complete; printing was further delayed to between 1575 and 1578. More than 30 people, including some Ming political personalities, such as Zhu Xizhong, a member of the Imperial family, made financial contributions to the publication. Shortly after publication in China, the work appeared in Japan. During the 17th century, at least two reprints were issued in Japan, one in the third year (1657) of the Meireki era and another in the third year (1660) of the Manji era. Shown here are the prefaces, table of contents, editorial notes, and Juan 1−2.

Last updated: April 14, 2016