Chapter

The Yellow Thearch's Body Image

Paul U. Unschuld

in What Is Medicine?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257658.003.0013
The Yellow Thearch's Body Image

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Historical documents enable us to reconstruct the beginnings of medicine from the second and first centuries bc. These documents are referred as the writings of the Yellow Thearch (also known as the Yellow Emperor), since it was under this name that they were handed down. The description of highly complex systems of vessels in the writings of the Yellow Thearch is in three different orders of magnitude. First, there are the twelve great pathways. Three parallel vessels with four subdivisions each run from the torso to the fingers, from the hands to the head, from the head to the toes and from the feet back to the torso. Second, there are network vessels that act as links between the separate sections of the great pathway system and together comprise a comprehensive network. A third level includes “grandchild” vessels. These depart from different places in the network and end somewhere in the tissues. The writings of the Yellow Thearch paired every great pathway on the left and right sides of the body with a well-defined organ.

Keywords: Yellow Thearch; well-defined organ; parallel vessels; grandchild vessels; network vessels

Chapter.  890 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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