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Chinese/Japanese Pulse Image chart: Ultimate Pulse

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Credit: Chinese/Japanese Pulse Image chart: Ultimate Pulse. Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Illustration of Ultimate Pulse (taiji mai) from Renyuan maiying guizhi tushuo (Pictorial Handbook of Pulse Images Based on the Person). This is a specialist text on pulse diagnosis attributed to the third-century master Shuhe, edited and revised by Shen Jifen in the Ming period (1368-1644). It discusses various pulse images and the medical conditions to which they relate, and contains 48 pulse image diagrams. This undated edition was engraved and published in Japan.

The text states: Ultimate Pulse is one of the Sixteen Weird Pulses (guai mai). It is also known as Consumed Corpse (hao shi). Its pulse image is like a fingerboard [of a stringed instrument(?)]; it is ample at its arrival and vigorous at its departure, and does not stop after arriving; or rather in the course of the pulse rhythm, it resumes weakly and then reintensifies, for each sequence of exhalation and inhalation. A patient having this pulse will die within about two hours (lit. one watch of the day, shichen).

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