The Shishan Medical Records


This work, in three juan with a supplement and in three volumes, was written by Wang Ji (1463–1539), famed physician and member of a Ming dynasty medical family, and originally published in 1520. The manuscript was put together by his disciple, Chen Jiao. This edition was printed by Chen Jiao in the tenth year of the Jiajing reign (1531). The preface was written by Cheng Zeng and is also dated 1531. Included are two portraits of the author, inscriptions by Li Fan, Cheng Wenjie, and Chen Jiao, and the author’s recommendation. Wang Ji (style name Shi shan ju shi), a native of Qimen, Huizhou, Anhui Province, studied Confucian teachings in his early years and, after unsuccessful civil examinations, devoted himself to medicine. He was the author of 13 works, among them this collection of his cases. Wang Ji basically followed the teachings of the famed Yuan dynasty physician Zhu Zhenheng (circa 1281–1358), as is known from one of his other books, Tui qiu shi yi (Ascertain the master’s meanings). Ancient Chinese medical cases record the process and result of treatments. Such medical records could be found as early as in the Western Han (206 BC–8 AD), the earliest being a collection of 25 cases of Chun Yuyi (205–150 BC). Such records could be brief or lengthy. Each record contained the name, sex, age, social status, shape of the body, cause of the disease, symptoms, diagnoses, prescription, prognosis, and so forth. These records also reflect the physician–patient relationships. Early medical cases were issued mostly as appendices to other works. From the mid- and late-Ming dynasty, physicians began to publish them as individual works, thus creating a new form of medical writing to be examined, referenced, and used for education. These works have since become valuable historical sources. This work records not only clinical experience; it also provides information on various diseases, especially those suffered by the male population, such as syphilis, which was seen as a health crisis in the region south of the Yangtze River, where flourishing trade and commerce helped to spread the disease.

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Chen Jiao, Qimen, Anhui Province


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3 juan in 3 volumes

Last updated: March 8, 2016