Medical Notes from the Xianxing Studio


Xian xing zhai bi ji (Medical notes from the Xianxing studio) is a medical work compiled by the Ming physician Ding Yuanjian (1560−1625). It is an original edition issued during the Wanli period of the Ming dynasty. The encyclopedia Si ku quan shu (The complete collection of the four treasuries) lists only one similar work by Zhuang Jiguang. Both Ding and Zhuang were students of Miao Xiyong (1546−1627), the renowned late Ming physician. Ding had been friends with Miao during the Wanli years and frequently discussed medical matters with him. Ding’s work was based on Miao’s clinical cases, prescriptions, and medical experience. However, this text is Ding’s original work, in original print. Si ku ti yao (Annotated catalog of the complete Imperial Library) lists the work with Miao Xiyong as the author. The works by these physicians, however, differ in size. Miao’s original work was five leaves long; Zhuang Jiguang’s had one juan, in 41 leaves; Ding Yuanjian’s work has four juan. Later Miao Xiyong revised and expanded Ding’s work, and changed the title to Xianxingzhai yi xue guang bi ji (Expanded medical notes from the Xianxing Studio), with a preface written by Ding Yuanjian, dated 1613. It thus became a comprehensive medical work, in four juan, in four volumes. The first three juan cover a wide range of topics on various common internal, external, gynecological, and infant diseases, such as stroke, diarrhea, malaria and dysentery; their cures; formulas, and cases; as well as brief discussions of the treatments. Also included are discussions of diseases of women and children. The last juan covers the norms of treatment and ways to prepare drugs, pills, and ointments. The work also contains an essay on the treatments of smallpox as well as the author’s preface (dated 1613). The Library of Congress also has a copy of the Chongzhen edition (1628‒44) of this work.

Last updated: January 16, 2018