Li Shizhen (李时珍), Jie zi yuan chong ding ben cao gang mu (芥子園重訂本草綱目), 1657







Author: Li Shizhen, 李时珍

Title: Jie zi yuan chong ding ben cao gang mu (芥子園重訂本草綱目)

Volume: 8 volumes

Date: [1657]

Medium: hard cover, bamboo paper, thread binding, wood engraving 

Publisher: Jieziyuan, Qing Dynasty

University of Pennsylvania Libraries Rare Book & Manuscript Library – Rare Book Collection. RS180.C5 L448 1657

This title, Ben cao gang mu (“Compendium of Materia Medica”), is a collection of the great achievements of traditional medicine before the 16th century in China. It is no exaggeration to call it an encyclopedia of pharmacy, and its content not only includes Chinese herbal medicine, but also contributes to biology, chemistry, astronomy, geography, geology, mining and even history and other disciplines. There have been more than 80 editions since it was first published, with new printings appearing every 6-7 years. The many editions fully demonstrate its practical value and impact on human society.

“Jie zi yuan” was the name of the residence of Li Yu (1611-1680), a famous writer and Chinese opera performer in the late Ming and early Qing Dynasty. This impression took an earlier version, known as “Changwei,” and recarved it for this edition. The publication date should be in the Kangxi era of the Qing Dynasty, although the specific date is uncertain here; but we known that the Jie zi yuan section is the copy published in the Tongzhi Ren Shen period of the Qing Dynasty (1872). The “Jie zi yuan version” is very famous for its illustrations, and this version includes examples from three prestigious painters. Carvers Wang Gai and his brothers carefully carved the original new images to replace the earlier versions (some of which had errors). Once it was published, the “Jie zi yuan” version of Ben Cao Gang Mu was quickly snapped up, playing an important role in the development and dissemination of the “Compendium of Materia Medica.”

Copies in other collections: There are a number of various editions; one of the most famous being the Jinling edition produced in Ming & Qing Dynasty, China

Selected Reading

• Mayanagi Makoto, “Imported Chinese Medical books and their Japanese Reprints in the Course of the Edo Period,” China Historical Materials of Science and Technology, Volume 23 (September 2002), Period 3, page 232-254 ,.

• 李载荣. 《本草纲目》版本流传研究[D]. 北京: 北京中医药大学, 2004: 5.

• 邢泽田. 金陵版再印制锦堂《本草纲目》的印行时间[J]. 中医研究, 2015, 28 (12): 73–73. DOI:10.3969/j.issn.1001-6910.2015.12.034 • 尚志钧. 《本草纲目》版本研究[J]. 安徽中医学院学报, 1988, 7 (4): 45–49.


Posted by Sha Ni
April 10, 2018