Collected Classified Materia Medica of the Daguan Period


This work was compiled by the famous Song physician Tang Shenwei, with the original title Jing shi zheng lei bei ji ben cao (Classified materia medica from historical classics for emergency). Si ku quan shu zong mu tiao yao (Annotated bibliography of the complete imperial library) lists two works attributed to Tang Shenwei. One was Daguan ben cao (Materia medica of the Daguan era) in 30 juan, the other Zheng lei ben cao (Collected classified materia medica) in 32 juan. During the Song dynasty, Tang’s materia medica was revised several times with different titles. The 1108 edition, revised by physician Ai Cheng and others, became the official copy. It later was revised again by Cao Xiaozhong with a changed title. In 1182 Zhang Cunhui of the Jin published an expanded edition, combining Ben cao yan yi (Augmented materia medica) by Kou Zongshi (active 1111‒17) and Jing shi zheng lei ben bao (Classic classified materia medica) and changing the title to Chong xiu Zhenghe jing shi zheng lei bei yong ben cao (New edition of Zhenghe classic classified materia medica). The existing editions of Daguan ben cao include the 1302 edition of Chongwen shu yuan (a Chongwen college), a Ming Jiajing edition, and the 1577 Ming edition. Based on the record of juan 1 and juan 31 and the copyright page, this copy was printed in Japan by Wangzaoxuan in the fourth year of the An’ei (1775) era. The book probably was acquired by Walter T. Swingle (1871‒1952), an agricultural botanist and explorer who helped the Library of Congress add to its collections more than 100,000 Chinese botanical works, gazetteers, local histories, and other Chinese literature. This herbal medicine work has 31 juan in 26 volumes. However, it lacks a table of contents and juan 3‒5. Its quality is also inferior, especially its coarse illustrations and thin printing paper.

Last updated: January 16, 2018