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Early C20 Chinese Lithograph: 'Fan' diseases


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Credit: Early C20 Chinese Lithograph: 'Fan' diseases. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Huitu zhenjiu yixue (Illustrated Acupuncture Made Easy), by Li Shouxian, was composed in 1798 (3rd year of the Jiaqing reign period of the Qing dynasty). It comprises two volumes (juan), plus a supplementary volume containing illustrations of the 'Seventy-two fan'. The 'Seventy-two fan' are not mentioned in any other early Chinese medical sources. Judging from the accounts given in this text, fan must be a generic term for a category of acute illness of unexplained origin. The word fan is qualified by names of animals and insects to characterise the external manifestations of these illnesses. This illustration shows the manifestations of Fierce Tiger (menghu) fan, Locust fan and Spinning Wheel (fangche) fan. According to the captions, the signs of these conditions are as follows: In Fierce Tiger fan, the head twitches and the limbs are bent and cannot be straightened. This can be cured by needling the yongquan (Gushing Spring) point seven times, and then administering realgar (xionghuang) with Yellow rice wine. In Locust fan, the lower limbs shake and cannot extended; the patient is nauseous and has an impulse to vomit, and has a sense of turmoil in the heart. This is treated by administering locusts calcined till brown and ground to a powder, washed down with yellow rice wine. The symptoms of Spinning Wheel fan are dizziness and vomiting, and an inability to sit or lie still. This can be cured by administering cord from a spinning wheel, burnt to powder, washed down with yellow rice wine.

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TITLE: Fierce Tiger (menghu) fan; Locust fan (mazha; variant graph for 'zha'); Spinning Wheel (fangche) fan. CAPTIONS: See 'Description of Image Content'

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