Rare China medical book discovered

Kyodo

A medical book published in China’s Southern Song period, spanning the 12th and 13th centuries, has been found in the storehouse of a long-established samurai family in Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture, officials at a municipal museum said Saturday.

While the book was referred to in a Chinese bibliography compiled in the 14th century, it is the first time an actual copy has been found, according to officials at the Tateyama Municipal Museum. No originals are known to exist even in China.

The book, believed to have been compiled by a Chinese doctor in the seventh century, contains prescriptions for medicines to treat 30 maladies, including headaches and infections, as well as precautions on taking them.

The covers of the three-volume, 38-page book are missing, but its kanji-covered pages are clearly legible and devoid of damage. The book also carries a stamp indicating it was part of a collection at Kanazawa Bunko, the library of a samurai family established around 1275 in what is now Yokohama.