Comprehensive Guide to the Health of Children


Quan you xin jian (Comprehensive guide to the health of children), in four juan, was compiled in the Ming dynasty by Kou Ping, courtesy name Hengmei, a native of Songyang, a pediatrician about whom little is known. Juan 1 refers to the innate gifts of children, physiological characteristics of an infant’s yin and yang, qi (vital energy), and blood. It discusses examining a child’s face and hands, child care, nursing, and proper behavior for a pediatrician. Juan 2 explains diagnosis by pulse-taking, nursing of newborns, and common infant ailments. Juan 3 and 4 discuss childhood diseases and symptoms, including smallpox, and has an appendix, entitled Xiao er ming tang zhen jiu (The Illuminated Hall classic on acupuncture for infants). It describes classic prescriptions and diagnostic methods, such as examining a child’s face, using the left-hand three-finger rule called “three passes of tiger-mouth,” and looking at the loops and whorls of a finger. Attached at the beginning of juan 1 is a chapter, entitled Jing yi (Exhortations to physicians), quoting from a Daoist classic Lei ting yu ce (The jade book of thunders). Examples of the exhortation include: “When a formula was proven effective, some men of jealousy would withhold it and would not pass it on, some good formulas therefore did not survive … those, who did not pass on good formulas, to say the least, harmed themselves, but more seriously, they would become widowed with no heir.” “We exhort physicians to treat people with good intentions and to persuade patients to take good medicines.” “Physicians must work in good will and consider other people’s illnesses as their own.” And “Physicians should not consider whether the patients are rich or poor, noble or lowly, they should consider saving patients as their sole purpose.” The work identifies common problems for physicians and patients and states that its goal is to make families understand medical issues “so that they will not be deceived by cunning villains.” The guideline provided in the work, Yi shou shi quan san de (A physician’s ten essential qualities and three virtues), lists as essential qualities being literate, understanding yin and yang and the five elements and six meridians, knowing how to fight evil, knowing the correct application of acupuncture, knowing truth and falsehood, and being polite. The initial virtues are righteousness, knowledge of Confucian classics, and the three religions; next are good-heartedness, friendliness, deep knowledge of morality, integrity, and being just and not malicious. Next in importance is to refrain from deceiving the deaf and mute and from fawning on heroes and outstanding personages. The work includes a list of auspicious days for compounding medicines, methods of taking medicines, information on the five viscera and blood, and much else. It points out that it is more difficult to treat infants than adults. Each juan has more than 40 drawings. This copy is an original edition of Baoyoutang, printed in the fourth year (1468) of the Chenghua reign of the Ming dynasty. It is considered a very rare copy both in China and elsewhere. The table of contents and juan 1, without illustrations, are presented here.

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1 juan in 2 volumes : illustrations


  • Originally four juan in 12 volumes

Last updated: May 31, 2017