The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion


Zhen jiu da cheng (The great compendium of acupuncture and moxibustion) was compiled by Yang Jizhou (1522‒1620), courtesy name Jishi, a native of Sanqu (present-day Liudu, Quzhou, Zhejiang), and a renowned acupuncturist of the Ming dynasty. He was a physician to Emperor Jiajing and a medical official at the Imperial Academy of Medicine. This work, rich in contents, has ten juan in ten volumes. It discusses the origin of acupuncture and ancient works on the subject, summarizes the experience of Chinese historical practitioners, discusses the uses of the main and adjunct acupuncture points, shows detailed knowledge of human anatomy of the inner organs, and introduces the methodology of acupuncture and its treatment of illnesses as well as various herbal medicines. According to the preface written by Wang Guoguang, Zhao Wenbing, the chief investigating censor of Shanxi, suffered chronic illnesses and received treatments to no avail. Then he paid a visit to Yang Jizhou, who applied acupuncture and cured his ailments. From then on, Yang received favorable preferences from Zhao. Zhao Wenbing also helped Yang publish his original work in an expanded version under the title of Zhen jiu da cheng. The second preface, written in 1601 by Zhao Wenbing himself, reads: “When I assumed the post in Shanxi, I dealt with many cases … [which] left me in depression and anger. Gradually I developed a bodily impediment. Despite numerous visits to physicians and daily medications, there was no successful result. Finally I had the renowned acupuncturist Yang Jizhou see me. After three acupuncture treatments I recovered. I also got to see his family secrets and learned the origin of his technique. I initiated the publication of his work.” Zhao continued in his preface that great efforts were made to search widely for authoritative works, such as Shen ying jing (Classic of divine response) and Gu jin yi tong (Compendium of medicine ancient and modern). Any works relating to acupuncture were to be collected, especially works considered primary sources, such as Su wen (Plain questions) and Nan jing (Canon of difficult questions). Zhao also commissioned a sculpture of a life-size bronze man for the Imperial Academy of Medicine, with acupuncture points engraved on it to make it easier for scholars to study. This copy is one of the treasures in the National Central Library’s collection. It is an original 1601 edition, published by Zhao Wenbing. There are impressions of two seals on the first page: one reads Mao zhai and the other Guo li zhong yang tu shu guan shou cang (Collection of National Central Library). Presented here are the two prefaces, two illustrations, and juan 1.

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Zhao Wenbing


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1 juan in 2 volumes : illustrations


  • Originally ten juan in ten volumes

Last updated: May 31, 2017