Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Paul Unschuld

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780520233225
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928497 | DOI:
Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

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The Huang Di nei jing su wen, known familiarly as the Su wen, is a seminal text of ancient Chinese medicine, yet until now there has been no comprehensive, detailed analysis of its development and contents. At last, the author offers entry into this still-vital artifact of China's cultural and intellectual past. He traces the history of the Su wen to its origins in the final centuries b.c.e., when numerous authors wrote short medical essays to explain the foundations of human health and illness on the basis of the newly developed vessel theory. The author examines the meaning of the title and the way the work has been received throughout Chinese medical history, both before and after the eleventh century, when the text as it is known today emerged. His survey of the contents includes discussions of the yin-yang and five-agents doctrines, the perception of the human body and its organs, qi and blood, pathogenic agents, concepts of disease and diagnosis, and a variety of therapies, including the new technique of acupuncture. An extensive appendix offers a detailed introduction to the complicated climatological theories of Wu yun liu qi (“five periods and six qi”), which were added to the Su wen by Wang Bing in the Tang era. In an epilogue, the author writes about the break with tradition and the innovative style of thought represented by the Su wen.

Keywords: Su wen; ancient Chinese medicine; medical essays; human health; human illness; vessel theory; Chinese medical history; yin yang; five agents; Wang Bing

Book.  536 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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Table of Contents

The Meaning of the Title in Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen


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