Daguan Classified and Practical Basic Pharmacopeia Based on Historical Classics


Jing shi zheng lei Daguan ben cao (Daguan classified and practical basic pharmacopeia based on historical classics) was compiled by Tang Shenwei, courtesy name Shenyuan, a native of Huayang, Chengdu, and a medical practitioner active in the 11th−12th centuries, who came from a family of physicians. Daguan refers to a reign period (1107−10) of Emperor Huizong of Song. During the reign of Yuanyou (1086−94), Tang’s tutor was the famed physician Li Duanbo. Tang collected and recorded every medical formula and theory from classical and historical works. His prime source was Jiayou ben cao (Materia medica of the Jiayou reign of the Song), and Tang compiled his work after he had consulted 247 works. Tang’s pharmacopeia is listed in Zhizhai shu lu jie ti (Explanatory notes on titles in the Zhizhai studio) by Chen Zhensun as Jing shi zheng lei bei ji ben cao (Classified materia medica for emergencies) in 30 juan. Junzhai du shu zhi (Records of books read in the Junzhai studio) by Chao Gongwu lists it as Zheng lei ben cao (Classified materia medica) in 32 juan. Both of these works list Tang Shenwei as the compiler. During the Qing dynasty several editions were available. One was the Zongwen Shuyuan edition of the sixth year (1302) of the Dade reign of the Yuan. The other was the 1468 Ming Chenghua edition, a reprint of the 1204 Jin edition. The Jin edition was printed by imperial order by Yang Jian at Huimingxuan, in the sixth year of Zhenghe of the Song (1116). It was edited by and contained a preface written by Cao Xiaozhong. The title was changed to Zhenghe ben cao (Materia Medica of the Zhenghe reign). The 1577 edition of the fifth year of the Wanli reign of the Ming was a reprint of the Zongwen Shuyuan edition, with a preface written by Ai Cheng, magistrate of Renhe County, according to which the work had 31 juan plus one juan of tables of contents. This copy is the 1302 edition, published by Zongwen Shuyuan, in 31 juan. However, in the front of this copy is a handwritten note by bibliographer and collector Yang Shoujing (1839−1915) of the late Qing, in which he dates the copy as a Southern Song edition, pointing out as proof that there is no trade mark or seal of publisher Zongwen Shuyuan at the end of the preface. The text describes categories of jade and stone, grass, trees, human, animals, birds, insects and fish, fruits, grains and vegetables. Each category has three grades. Jiayou ben cao contained 1,118 medicines, to which Tang Shenwei added 628, bringing the total number of medicines discussed in the book to 1,746. The work’s rich contents, great practicability, and popularity among physicians led to its widespread distribution. The preface, tables of contents, and Juan 1 are presented here.

Last updated: October 29, 2015