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THE WUWEI MEDICAL MANUSCRIPTS: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION AND TRANSLATION

  • Yong Yang (a1) and Miranda Brown (a2)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.
Abstract

Discovered by farmers from an unmarked tomb in 1972 in Gansu, the Wuwei strips and tablets set forth a wealth of information about ancient Chinese drug formulary and acupuncture. The present article supplies the first English-language translation of its contents along with a brief introduction.

1972 年,甘肅武威農民發現了一座無名墓葬,于此墓中出土的醫簡包含大量的病方以及部分針灸術。本文簡要介紹了这些醫簡的内容,并首次將之譯成英文。

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References
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1. Gansusheng bowuguan 甘肅省博物館 and Gansusheng Wuweixian wenhuaguan 甘肅省武威縣文化館, “Wuwei Hantanpo Hanmu fajue jianbao—chutu dapi yiyao jiandu” 武威旱灘坡漢墓發掘簡報——出土大批醫藥簡牘, Wenwu 文物 1973.12, 18–22; 18, 21.

2. bowuguan, Gansusheng 甘肅省博物館 ed., Wuwei Handai yijian 武威漢代醫簡 (Beijing: Wenwu, 1975). For Akira, Akahori 赤堀昭 and Keiji, Yamada 山田慶兒, Shinhatsugen Chūgoku kagakushi shiryō no kenkyū 新發現中國科學史資料の硏究 (Kyoto: Kyōto Daigaku Jinbun Kagaku Kenkyūjo, 1985), 363404 . The translation was based on Akahori’s earlier translation, Bu-i Kandai ikan ni tsuite” 武威漢代醫簡について, Tōyō Gakuhō 東方學報 50 (1978), 75107 . He Shuangquan 何雙全, “Wuwei Handai yijian shiwen buzheng” 武威漢代醫簡釋文補正, Wenwu 文物 1986.4, 39; Yanchang, Zhang 張延昌, Wuwei Handai yijian zhujie 武威漢代醫簡注解 (Beijing: Zhongyi, 2006). For passing discussion of the Wuwei manuscripts, see Guihua, Xie, “Han Bamboo and Wooden Medical Records Discovered in Military Sites from the North Western Frontier Regions,” in Medieval Chinese Medicine: The Dunhuang Medical Manuscripts, ed. Lo, Vivienne and Cullen, Christopher (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005), 77105 .

3. Shenghua, Li 李盛华 and Yanchang, Zhang 張延昌, eds., Wuwei Handai yijian yanjiu jicheng 武威漢代醫簡研究集成 (Hefei: Anhui kexue jishu, 2014).

4. Gansusheng bowuguan and Gansusheng Wuweixian wenhuaguan, “Wuwei Hantanpo,” 18.

5. Gansusheng bowuguan and Gansusheng Wuweixian wenhuaguan, “Wuwei Hantanpo,” 22–23.

6. Gansusheng bowuguan and Gansusheng Wuweixian wenhuaguan, “Wuwei Hantanpo,” 18–19.

7. Luo Fuyi 羅福頤, “Dui Wuwei Han yiyaojian de yidian renshi” 對武威漢醫藥簡的一點認識, Wenwu 1973.12, 30–31; 31.

8. Gansusheng bowuguan and Gansusheng Wuweixian wenhuaguan, “Wuwei Hantanpo,” 19.

9. Gansusheng bowuguan and Gansusheng Wuweixian wenhuaguan, “Wuwei Hantanpo,” 19.

10. We find it useful to distinguish between strips (jian) and tablets (mudu), despite the fact that the two could be composed of similar materials. At the Wuwei Hantanpo site, the strips (jian) were made of wood, like most strips found in the Northwest. However, in other areas of China, particularly in the south, the strips were made of bamboo. The main differences between the strips (jian) and tablets (mudu) discovered at Wuwei lie in their width, as well as the fact that writing was found on both sides of the tablets.

11. Gansusheng bowuguan and Gansusheng Wuweixian wenhuaguan, “Wuwei Hantanpo,” 19.

12. Gansusheng bowuguan and Gansusheng Wuweixian wenhuaguan, “Wuwei Hantanpo,” 19.

13. Gansusheng bowuguan and Gansusheng Wuweixian wenhuaguan, “Wuwei Hantanpo,” 19.

14. Gansusheng bowuguan and Gansusheng Wuweixian wenhuaguan, “Wuwei Hantanpo,” 19.

15. Gansusheng bowuguan and Gansusheng Wuweixian wenhuaguan, “Wuwei Hantanpo,” 19.

16. Gansusheng bowuguan and Gansusheng Wuweixian wenhuaguan, “Wuwei Hantanpo,” 19.

17. Gansusheng bowuguan and Gansusheng Wuweixian wenhuaguan, “Wuwei Hantanpo,” 20.

18. In treating these and other examples as variants rather than as errors (wuxie 誤寫), we follow Boltz, William G., “Orthographic Variation in Early Chinese Manuscripts”, Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 62.1 (2009), 89113 ; Boltz, , “Character Variation in Early Chinese Manuscripts”, Manuscript Cultures 5 (2012/2013), 7683 . Boltz also draws on the findings of Richter, Matthias, “Towards a Profile of Graphic Variation: On the Distribution of Graphic Variants within the Mawangdui Laozi Manuscripts”, Asiatische Studien/Études Asiatiques 59 (2005), 169207 .

19. Gansusheng bowuguan ed., Wuwei Handai yijian, 27. This claim is at variance from what was reported earlier by the Zhongyi yanjiuyuan yishi wenxian yanjiushi 中醫研究院醫史文獻研究室, “Wuwei Handai yiyao jiandu zai yixueshi shang de zhongyao yiyi” 武威漢代醫藥簡牘在醫學史上的重要意義, Wenwu 1973.12, 23–29; 24, 26. We follow what appears in the 1975 publication by the same research team, which seems to have been a revision of the earlier essay.

20. Zhongyi yanjiuyuan yishi wenxian yanjiushi, “Wuwei Handai yiyao jiandu zai yixueshi shang de zhongyao yiyi,” 28.

21. For examples of formulas that exhibit different formats from those found at the Wuwei site, see Wei, Chen 陳偉 et al. , Liye Qin jiandu jiaoshi 里耶秦簡牘校釋 (Wuhan: Wuhan daxue chubanshe, 2012), vol. 1, 270.

22. See the examples of formulas for persistent coughs and saddle wounds in Zhenyu, Luo 羅振玉 and Guowei, Wang 王國維, Liushazhui jian 流沙墜簡 (Beijing, Zhonghua, 1993), 23.

23. For Figure 3, see Xigui, Qiu 裘錫圭, ed., Changsha Mawangdui Hanmu jianbo jicheng 長沙馬王堆漢墓簡帛集成 (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2014), vol. 5, 219 (23); Harper, Donald, Early Chinese Medical Literature (London: Kegan Paul, 1998), 227–28. For Figure 4, see Changsha Mawangdui Hanmu jianbo jicheng, vol. 5, 284 (385–75); Harper, Early Chinese Medical Literature, 292–93.

24. Zhao Huaizhou 趙懷舟, He Zhongjun 和中浚, Li Jiming 李繼明, Zhou Xinglan 周興蘭, and Xie Tao 謝濤, “Chengdu Laoguanshan Hanmu ‘Liushi bingfang’ he ‘Wuwei Handai yijian’ de bijiao yanjiu,” 成都老官山漢墓《六十病方》和《武威漢代醫簡》的比較研究, Zhongyiyao wenhua 中醫藥文化 2015.5, 4–9; 7. For precise units of measurement, see Liu Xinglong 劉興隆, Zhao Huaizhou 趙懷舟, Zhou Xinglan 周興蘭, and He Zhongjun 和中浚, “Chengdu Laoguanshan Hanmu chutu yijian ‘Liushi bingfang’ fangji jixing kaobian” 成都老官山漢墓出土醫簡《六十病方》方劑劑型考辨, Zhongyiyao wenhua 中醫藥文化 2016.1, 4–14; 9. For the site report, see Chengdu wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo, 成都文物考古研究所 and Jingzhou wenwu baohu zhongxin 荊州文物保護中心, “Chengdushi Tianhuizhen Laoguanshan Han mu” 成都市天回鎮老官山漢墓, Kaogu 考古 2014.7, 59–70.

25. Chen Wei et al., Liye Qin jiandu jiaoshi, vol. 1, 293. Translation adapted from Brown, Miranda, Art of Medicine in Early China: The Ancient and Medieval Origins of a Modern Archive (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 80.

26. On this point, see the discussion in Harper, Early Chinese Medical Literature, 168–69. The Qin strips kept at the Peking University Museum also include exorcistic or spiritual methods. On this point, see Chen Kanli 陳侃理, “Beida Qin jian zhong de fangshu shu 北大秦簡中的方術書,” Wenwu 文物 2012.6, 90–96; 94.

27. On this point, see Sivin, Nathan, “Text and Experience in Classical Chinese Medicine”, in Knowledge and the Scholarly Medical Traditions, ed. Bates, Don (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 177204 ; Jianmin, Li 李建民, “Zhongguo gudai jinfang kaolun” 中國古代 “禁方” 考論 in Shengmingshixue—cong yiliao kan Zhongguo lishi 生命史學——從醫療看中國歷史 (Taipei: Sanminshuju, 2005), 149206 . See Harper, Early Chinese Medical Literature, 65–66. We would like to note that Wushier bingfang contains twelve references to wujin 毋禁. It is unclear to us whether this phrase refers to the absence of any restrictions on food or activities as opposed to restrictions on transmission. Harper translates wujin as “there are no prohibitions,” meaning no restrictions on activity or diet. For an example, see Harper, Early Chinese Medical Literature, 236.

28. For prohibitions, see Zhao et al., “Chengdu Laoguanshan Hanmu,” 7.

29. Chengdu wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo and Jingzhou wenwu baohu zhongxin, “Chengdushi Tianhuizhen Laoguanshan Han mu,” 64.

30. For the identification of Mr. Gongsun and General Geng of Jianwei, see Zhi, Chen 陳直, Wenshi kaogu luncong 文史考古論叢 (Tianjin, Tianjin guji, 1988), 300302 ; also see Akahori and Yamada, Shinhatsugen Chūgoku kagakushi shiryō no kenkyū, 395, n. 236.

31. Beijing daxue chutu wenxian yanjiusuo 北京大學出土文獻研究所, “Beijing daxue cang Xi Han zhushu gaishuo” 北京大學藏西漢竹書概說, Wenwu 文物 2011.6, 49–57; 55.

32. On this problem, see Unschuld, Paul and Zhang, Zhibin, Dictionary of the Ben cao gang mu, Volume 1: Chinese Historical Illness Terminology (Ben Cao Gang Mu Dictionary Project) (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014), 10; Donald Harper, Early Chinese Medical Literature, 99–101.

33. On this point, see particularly Boltz, “Orthographic Variation” and Matthias Richter, “Towards a Profile of Graphic Variation.” Also see Galambos, Imre, Orthography of Early Chinese Writing: Evidence from Newly Excavated Manuscripts (Budapest: Department of East Asia Studies, 2006).

34. Gansusheng bowuguan, Wuwei Handai yijian, 6; Akahori and Yamada, Shinhatsugen Chūgoku kagakushi shiryō no kenkyū, 376.

35. Zhang Yanchang, Wuwei Handai yijian zhujie, 121, n. 5.

36. Zhang Yanchang, Wuwei Handai yijian zhujie, 139, n. 1.

37. Akahori and Yamada, Shinhatsugen Chūgoku kagakushi shiryō no kenkyū, 365, n. 8.

38. Zhang Yanchang, Wuwei Handai yijian zhujie, 113, n. 5.

39. Bencao jing jizhu 本草經集注, ed. Hongjing, Tao 陶弘景 and Zhijun, Shang 尚志鈞 (Beijing: Renmin weisheng, 1994), 36. Guangming, Qiu 丘光明, Long, Qiu 邱隆, Ping, Yang 楊平, and Jiaxi, Lu 盧嘉錫, Zhongguo kexue jishu shi: duliangheng juan 中國科學技術史:度量衡卷 (Beijing: Kexue, 2001), 338–39, esp. 338.

40. Defang, Zhang 張德芳, Dunhuang Maquanwan Hanjian jishi 敦煌馬圈灣漢簡集釋 (Lanzhou: Gansu wenhua, 2013), 522 (strip 563B).

41. Akahori and Yamada, Shinhatsugen Chūgoku kagakushi shiryō no kenkyū, 368, n. 28.

42. Harper, Early Chinese Medical Literature, 228, n. 4.

43. Han Feizi jijie 韓非子集解, ed. Xianshen, Wang 王先慎 and Zhong Zhe 鐘哲 (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1998), “Waichu shuo” 外儲說, 299.

44. Chongguang buzhu Huangdi neijing suwen 重廣補注黃帝內經素問, ed. Bing, Wang 王冰 and Gao Baoheng 高保衡 (Beijing: Zhongyi guji, 2003), 11/84.

45. Gu, Ban 班固 comp., Baihu tong shuzheng 白虎通疏證, ed. Li, Chen 陳立 and Zeyu, Wu 吳則虞 (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1994), 3/118.

46. Chunqiu Zuozhuan zhu 春秋左傳注, ed. Bojun, Yang 楊伯峻 (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1990), 467.

47. Shen, Xu 許慎, Shuowen jiezi 說文解字 (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1963), 5/107.

48. Zhang Yanchang, Wuwei Handai yijian zhujie, 114, n. 4.

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A correction has been issued for this article: