Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen: Nature, Knowledge, Imagery in an Ancient Chinese Medical Text

By Paul U. Unschuld | Go to book overview

III
Early Su wen Texts
and Commentaries
before the Eleventh Century

1. HUANGFU MI AND THE JIA YI JING $

In about a.d. 260 a man named Huangfu Mi (215–282) wrote the first medical text transmitted to the present containing historically datable contents that can be traced to the textus receptus of the Su wen. Huangfu Mi, whose childhood name was Jing R and whose style name was Shian hw, was renowned enough to be remembered with a biography by the authors of the official history of the Jin dynasty. He is portrayed as a knowledgeable author who wrote texts on a broad range of topics. Originally not a medical specialist, he became interested in health care as a result of a personal illness during the gan lu reign period (256–60). Coping with what he experienced as inadequate treatment, he collected medical texts and realized the deplorable state of what he considered the remnants of the Huang Di nei jing listed in the bibliographic section of the history of the former Han dynasty. A separate book, the Ming tang kong xue zhen jiu zhi yao $'fiwbvn (Essentials on [Insertion] Holes and Acu-Moxa Therapy from the Hall of Brilliance), which he held in his hands and which, like the Huang Di nei jing, he traced to the Huang Di, supported his impression of omissions, errors, and overlaps in the available medical literature. Hence he “threw out meaningless phrases, eliminated repetitions, and [focused on the] discussion of the essential” and compiled the Huang Di san bu zhen jiu jia yi jing $ (The Classic in One, Two, [Three, … Juan Compiled from] Three Sections of Acu-Moxa [Texts] by Huang Di).

The “three sections” alluded to in the title were the Su wen, the Zhen jing, and the Ming tang kong xue zhen jiu zhi yao. While the Su wen and the Zhen jing are closely associated with the Su wen (except for the one-third of its contents added by Wang Bing during the Tang dynasty) and the Ling shu of the

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