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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 Quail fan, Bee fan and Four-Footed Snake (sizu she) fan. According to the captions, the signs of these conditions are as follows: In Quail fan, the patient utters sounds like the call of a quail, and purple boils appear under the tongue. This is treated by lancing the boils with a needle so as to draw blood, and administering a quail net burnt to ash, washed down with yellow rice wine. In Bee fan, the patient makes an incessant humming sound, and suffers from vomiting and diarrhoea, and purple boils under the tongue. This is treated by lancing the boils with a needle and applying a little salt. In Four-Footed Snake fan, the patient suffers from tachycardia, purple boils appear under the tongue, and the corners of the mouth become rigid. This is treated by lancing the boils with a needle so as to draw blood and applying tobacco tar (yanyou).

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TITLE: Quail fan; Bee fan; Four-Footed Snake (sizu she) fan. CAPTIONS: See 'Description of Image Content'

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