Supplement to Compendium of Materia Medica

This work is a supplement to the 16th-century Ben cao gang mu (Compendium of materia medica) in manuscript form, of 11 juan, in 20 volumes, compiled by Zhao Xuemin (circa 1719–1805), a native of Qiantang (present-day Hangzhou), Zhejiang Province. The book is considered the most important medical work of the Qing dynasty. Zhao Xuemin was the son of a renowned physician, and both he and his brother followed in their father’s footsteps. Zhao was known as an avid collector of medical, pharmacological, and astrological works. He cultivated an herbal garden, tested the properties of various plants, and operated a clinic. This work originally was a part of the 100-volume series entitled Liji shi er zhong (Twelve series of Liji), which Zhao completed over decades of collecting and arranging. The work was grouped in 12 categories, encompassing various medical topics relating to diseases, cures, and materia medica, including folk medicine. Of the 12 categories, only two are extant, and these were revised and printed by Zhang Yingchang in the tenth year of the Tongzhi reign (1871). The preface to this manuscript states that it took the author 40 years to complete the work, between 1765 and 1805, during the reigns of Qing emperors Jiaqing and Qianlong. Notwithstanding the lapse of more than 200 years since the publication of Li Shizhen’s Ben cao gang mu, Zhao attempted to fill certain gaps he had found in the earlier compendium. He corrected a number of errors and added a more than 700 medicinal drugs, chiefly taken from the folk tradition. The book has a preface by the author.

Compendium of Materia Medica

Printed during the Wanli period, Ben cao gang mu (Compendium of materia medica) is a work on an encyclopedic scale, in 52 juan of text with two juan of illustrations, in 25 volumes. It was compiled by Li Shizhen (circa 1518–93), a native of Sichuan, who was one of the greatest physicians, pharmacologists, and naturalists in Chinese history. After serving for only one year in the prestigious Imperial Medical Institute, Li returned home to work as a doctor and to begin writing this book. The work and its three revisions took 27 years to complete. The exact date of publication is unknown. Li collected the material by meticulously surveying hundreds of sources in the years 1552–78. He travelled extensively and gathered first-hand experience with herbs and local remedies throughout China, as well as consulted every medical book in print at the time. The result was this work of great scientific, medical, and historical significance. The compendium contains details on approximately 1,800 medicinal drugs, including previously unknown varieties, with illustrations and some 11,000 prescriptions. Each herb is described by its type, form, flavor, nature, and method of application. The work was reissued many times during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) and since then. It has been translated into many languages, and is still considered the premier reference tool for Chinese herbal medicine. Also included are discussions on such related subjects as botany, zoology, mineralogy, and metallurgy. The author grouped his material into the categories of animal, mineral, and plant. Also included is a bibliography of 900 or so book titles. A label indicates that this copy was originally owned by Fujiyama of Izumo. The corrections, written in red ink on the top margins, were made by the Japanese medical scholar, Mori Tatsuyuki. The preface, dated 1590, is by Wang Shizhen (1526–90), a preeminent man of letters and historian of the Ming dynasty.

Biography of the Dragon-like Heavenly Sovereign and Emperor of High Virtue

The original edition of this work was described in the annotated catalog Dao zang mu lu xiang zhu (Catalog of the Daoist canon with detailed annotations) as consisting of six juan. The work is a biography of Laozi, who was traditionally regarded as the author of Dao de jing and the founder of Daoism. The earliest reference to Laozi is found in Shi ji (The records of the grand historian), by Chinese historian Sima Qian (circa 145–86 BC). Laozi was often said to be a contemporary of Confucius (551–479 BC). The lengthy phrase, Tai shang hun yuan shang de huang di (The dragon-like heavenly sovereign) was an honorific title bestowed on Laozi by the Song emperor Zhenzong (reigned 998–1022). This fragmented Ming manuscript copy has two juan in two volumes, and it is possibly a copy that originated from the library of Prince Gaotang of the Ming dynasty, as each volume has a square-shaped seal impression of the prince’s ex libris: Gaotang Wang fu tu shu (Library of Prince Gaotang Mansion). A grandson of Emperor Xianzong (reigned 1465–87), Prince Gaotang (1514–83), whose real name was Zhu Houying,  was known as a scholar of encyclopedic knowledge, a calligrapher, and a collector of books who often had rare books copied. This Ming edition was copied from a Song text. The author was Jia Shanxiang, a famed Daoist, conversationalist, and zither-player of the Northern Song dynasty (960–1127). A number of his works, among them You long zhuan (Biography of a dragon-like master), can be found in Zheng zong dao zang (Orthodox Daoist canon).

The Wanli Gazetteer of Yanping Prefecture

During the Ming dynasty there were three prefectures in northern Fujian Province: Yanping, Jianning, and Shaowu. Yanping Prefecture (present-day Nanping Shi) was established in 1369. The highest-ranking official was the prefect, who administered the counties, relayed the state government’s ordinances, controlled criminal courts, and levied taxes. During the Ming dynasty a prefect had a fourth-grade rank in the official hierarchy. Prefects often were involved in publishing local gazetteers. These works contained detailed descriptions of the state of affairs in a locality at a given period. The in-depth information they contain makes them important sources for the study of the history, geography, local economy, culture, language and dialects, biographies of notable people, as well as the administration of local government. The main compiler of this work was Yi Kejiu, the prefect of Yanping, who achieved his jin shi (doctoral degree) in 1565 and became the prefect at the beginning of the Wanli reign (1573–1620). The four other compilers, all officials in his administration, were Yang Shujing, Li Jiazhi, Lu Yang, and Yao Yinglong. An added title reads Chong xiu Min zhi cai fang shu (New edition of the collected gazetteers of Fujian). The catalog of Tian yi ge (The Tianyi Pavilion Library) lists this work as a new edition of 34 juan, reissued by this library.

Genealogy of the Wang Family

This printed Chinese genealogy is in four volumes. Chinese genealogical works are historical records that document the pedigree, deeds, and events relating to a patriarchal clan. A genealogical work generally was composed of: a preface; table of contents; rules of compilation; rules and instructions to be observed by clansmen; images of the ancestral temple, tombs, and portraits; pedigree charts; and biographies of worthy members of the clan. Also included were the names of the person or persons responsible for issuing the work, as well as a postscript. The title inscription indicates that the compiler was Wang Huo, a 78th-generation descendant from Shaxi, Shexian, Anhui Province. The work traces a line back to Wang Han, a descendant of Prince Yue of the Tang dynasty, who was considered the founding member of the Wang family, and whose descendants later expanded and grew into eight clans. The work was published during the Wanli reign, circa 1550, and has an author’s preface dated 1550 and a postscript by Wang Daokun, a poet and playwright of the time, dated 1551.

Genealogy of the Liu Family of Xiuyi Mining

Chinese genealogical works are historical records that document the pedigree, deeds, and events relating to a patriarchal clan. A genealogical work generally was composed of: a preface; table of contents; rules of compilation; rules and instructions to be observed by clansmen; images of the ancestral temple, tombs, and portraits; pedigree charts; and biographies of worthy members of the clan. Also included were the names of the person or persons responsible for issuing the work, as well as a postscript. Such works complement the available general historical records and are an important source for studies of Chinese history and culture. Many genealogies exist of Liu families in the early history of China, and the quantity published surged to a new high during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The earliest extant editions are from the Ming era, including this work, published in 1557. The original inscription states that the work was compiled by Liu Hao, a 19th-generation descendant, and other authors. The work traces a family line back to Liu Yu of Mining, who, after receiving his jin shi (doctoral degree) during the Xiantong reign (860–74) of the Tang dynasty, was posted to Jiangnan, where he engaged in military affairs. Subsequent generations of the Liu during the Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasties mostly had literary and political careers. The work contains numerous writings by renowned personalities. The four prefaces were written by Yu Ji (1272–1348), a scholar and poet; by Zhu Sheng (1299–1370), a member of the Hanlin Academy; and by two members of Liu family, Liu Ran and Liu Tang. The postscript was by the author himself. Some pieces in this work are the only existing writings of these men of letters.

Album of the Old City

Al’bom starogo L’vova (Album of the old city), published in 1917, is a collection of images of the main historical monuments of L’viv (in present-day western Ukraine). The album contains pictures of the dominant places of worship, such as the Catholic Cathedral, the Armenian Cathedral, the Dominican Church, and the Benedictine Church. Illustrations show both details and scenes of L’viv’s streets, built in the 16th–19th centuries. The architectural details include bas-reliefs, carved doorways, fine and amusing stone carving, and moldings. People are seen walking by the fountains in the marketplace with its attractive shops and houses. Streets shown include the rue des Arméniens, rue du Tribunal, and rue Czacki, with interior details of the Maison Sobiéski and the Maison Noire. Photographs taken at the City Museum show its fine rooms, with a portrait of Stanisław August (king of Poland 1764–95); other art, furniture, and porcelain; ceramic stoves to heat the rooms; and sculpture. The album conveys something of the spirit of the old city. The introductory text is in Russian, with captions to the photographs given in Russian and in French.

Thirteen Essays of Guan Gongming

This work consists of essays and a summary of Yi divination purportedly written by Guan Lu (208–55), also known as Guan Gongming. Guan Lu was a famed practitioner of divination during the Three Kingdoms era (220–65). He was known to have been able to diagnose the causes of diseases and foresee a person’s fate by casting lots. A number of works credited to him were listed in the histories of the Sui and Tang dynasties. This manuscript edition was issued during the Qianlong period (1736–95) of the Qing dynasty. A postscript at the end of the second volume states that the work was written in the fourth year of the Qianlong reign (1739). Guan Lu’s name presumably was used to add authenticity to the work. The inscription in the first volume indicates that the text was copied by Chen Dajing, about whom no information exists. Volume two, entitled Bu yi zhai yao (Essentials of divination), has four impressions of Chen Dajing’s seals. In the congratulatory script at the beginning of the work, among the names mentioned is Liu Bowen (1311–75), a military strategist, politician, and man of letters active under the first Ming emperor, Hongwu (reigned 1368–98). This suggests that the original text could have been written during or after the middle Ming period.

Writings of the Orthodox School

Wen zhang zheng zong (Writings of the orthodox school) is an incomplete work of the Song dynasty, consisting of juan 4, 10, 13, and 15, the surviving parts of a compilation originally in 24 juan. It is an anthology of practical writings and official records. The articles were selected based on the authors’ literary, philosophical, and political standards, such as emphasis on rationalism, the use of correct notations, the pursuit of elegance, and respect for the ancients, moral ethics, and the like. The author, Zhen Dexiu (1178–1235), a native of Pucheng, Fujian Province, changed his family name from Shen to Zhen to avoid using the same name as Emperor Xiaozong (reigned 1163–89). Zhen Dexiu was a famous politician and renowned writer who, together with Wei Liaoweng, was one of the two promoters of Neo-Confucianism of the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279). A descendant of Zhu Xi, the founder of Neo-Confucianism, Zhen further developed Neo-Confucianism and expanded its influence. By combining doctrines of Buddhism and Daoism with Neo-Confucianism and expressing his thoughts on the improvement of the personality and administration of the country, he adapted Neo-Confucianism to the times and succeeded in making it the mainstream philosophy of the Song dynasty. This book embodied the literary conception of Neo-Confucianism and reflected the main literary thought of its day, and it deeply influenced Chinese literature in subsequent generations. For this work, Zhen selected a large number of official documents dating from the Spring–Autumn period (770–476 BC), which he annotated as guides for posterity. These official documents were important tools in politics, which evolved over time, with increasingly varied types and formats. Zhen considered the documents from the Spring–Autumn period as simple, direct, and rich in content, and regarded the imperial edicts of the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) as brief, simple, and imbued with sympathy for the common people.

Treatise on Diagnoses and Treatments of Zang and Fu Organs with Illustrations of Human Body

This printed edition, in eight juan, with two juan of supplements, in six volumes, was published in the 34th year of the Wanli reign (1608). The work has some characteristic features of Ming printing, its woodblocks being cut with extreme care and precision, the typeface mostly cut in square shape, and the binding stitch-bound. The author of the original work is unknown. The preface dated 1606 by Qian Lei, a Ming dynasty physician from Siming (present-day Ningbo Shi, Zhejiang Province), states that he had acquired a book entitled Zang fu zheng zhi tu shuo ren jing jing (Treatise on diagnoses and treatments of zang and fu organs with illustrations of the human body) from the estate of the court physician Wang Zongquan, under whom he had practiced medicine. Qian issued this edition under the same title based on the book he acquired, and added the two juan of supplements. The work deals chiefly with the so-called 12 meridians, regular and divergent, and the eight extra channels, of traditional Chinese medicine, whose main function was to strengthen the exterior–interior relationship of the 12 regular channels and so form closer ties between all parts of the body. The entries in the book, with illustrations, explain the inner organs zang (such as the heart, lungs, and liver) and fu (such as the gall bladder and stomach), their functions, the symptoms of diseases, and treatments. The preface notes that at the time of the book’s printing Qian was already elderly, so his son Qian Xuan and his grandson Qian Shizhong joined him in compiling the work.