Pulse Diagnosis in Early Chinese Medicine: The Telling Touch

Pulse Diagnosis in Early Chinese Medicine: The Telling Touch

Hardback University of Cambridge Oriental Publications

By (author) Elisabeth Hsu


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  • Format: Hardback | 424 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 232mm x 26mm | 798g
  • Publication date: 5 July 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521516625
  • ISBN 13: 9780521516624
  • Illustrations note: 1 map
  • Sales rank: 848,958

Product description

This is a study of the earliest extensive account of Chinese pulse diagnosis, or more accurately, the examination of mai. Dr Hsu focuses on a biography of Chunyu Yi, a doctor of the early Han, and presents the first complete translation into English of the Memoir in the Historical Records by Sima Qian (d. ca 86 BCE). This Memoir contains biographies of the physician, medical case histories and interviews, and constitutes a document of enormous importance to the history of medicine in China. The analysis covers the first ten medical cases and their rich vocabulary on touch, as used in Chinese pulse diagnosis. The patients treated were mostly nobility of the kingdom of Qi in Eastern China, who suffered from the indulgences of court life and were treated with early forms of decoction, fomentation, fumigation, acupuncture and moxibustion. To date there is no book on early China of its kind.

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Author information

Elisabeth Hsu is Reader in Social Anthropology and Fellow of Green College, and convenor of the MSc and MPhil in Medical Anthropology at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford. Previous publications include The Transmission of Chinese Medicine (Cambridge, 1999), and Innovation in Chinese Medicine (Cambridge, 2001).

Review quote

"This book is a welcome if odd contribution to the expanding field of Chinese medicine." -Michael Nylan, Bulletin of the History of Medicine

Table of contents

Part I. Framing the Field: Introduction; The questions; Diagnosis and medicine in the warring states and early Han; Conceptions of the body in the warring states and early Han; Discussion; Part II. Shi Ji 105.2 - The Memoir of Chunyu Yi: Outline of the memoir; Text structure semantics; Part III. Translation and Interpretation of Cases 1-10 in the Memoir of Chunyu Yi: Case 1; Case 2; Case 3; Case 4; Case 5; Case 6; Case 7; Case 8; Case 9; Case 10; Discussion; Part IV. Appendices.