By Paul Unschuld
Trade paperback book
In this superbly illustrated text Unschuld continues his exploration of Chinese traditional medicine through an examination of the art, craft, and commercial artifacts of its history in China. Beginning with an historical overview, Unschuld examines the literature of medicine and pharmacy, taking the Mawangdui text as the starting point. In successive chapters he examines drug use and pharmacology, including mass-produced products and how they were marketed, pharmacies, their containers, and equipment. This is followed by an revealing examination of physicians, including the itinerant physicians about whom little has been published in Western writings, medical scholars, and official physicians. The chapter, “Medicine, Healing, and Popular Religion” examines the evolution of Tang physician Sun Simiao from healer to medical god.
The final chapter discusses Chinese medicine in art and literature beginning with an overview of the distinctions between East and West in the medical subjects chosen, or ignored for artistic portrayal, the concentration on portraits of famous Chinese physicians in painting and the relationship of medical subjects in art to Chinese beliefs and customs. The text concludes with 178 plates, many in color, that include acupuncture charts and equipment, pharmaceutical preparation equipment and formula packaging, paintings of medical subjects and physicians, and statuary.