Golden-Silk Smoke: A History of Tobacco in China, 1550-2010

By Carol Benedict | Go to book overview

4
Tobacco in Ming-Qing Medical Culture

In 1752, Li Ê, the Han River Poetry Society lyricist who had so passionately promoted tobacco during his lifetime, passed away in his beloved city of Hangzhou. The exact cause of death is uncertain. In the year just before he died, however, Li Ê sadly noted that although his desire for tobacco was still great, he could no longer smoke because his lungs were diseased (fei ji).1 Physicians in attendance at the time of Li’s passing would not have explained his affliction in terms of cancer, emphysema, or any other smoking-related illness now associated with tobacco. Instead, Li’s doctors would have observed that his Lung viscera had been lethally damaged by injudicious consumption of the Pungent and Hot qi of tobacco over many years such that the original influences needed to sustain life (yuan qi) had been depleted to the point of exhaustion.2

Viewed from within the cosmological framework of the “medicine of systematic correspondences,” the main strand of classical Chinese medicine that would have generated such a diagnosis,3 Li Ê’s transgression was not that he enjoyed the occasional pipe or two, but that he smoked far too much over the course of his lifetime. As a self-acknowledged “tobacco lover” who took up smoking in his youth, Li Ê might well have lived beyond sixty years of age had he heeded the advice offered up by countless works on “nourishing life” (yangsheng) or healing disease with food (shiliao) or by materia medica (bencao) available in Ming-Qing book markets. Such works typically urged readers to greatly limit, though not abandon entirely, their consumption of “potent” (youdu) substances like tobacco.

That tobacco could harm the body was already recognized by Chinese physicians in the early seventeenth century. Indeed from the 1620s onward, those who wrote about tobacco persistently included cautionary notes about its potential dan-

-88-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Golden-Silk Smoke: A History of Tobacco in China, 1550-2010
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 335

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.