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Tongue diagnosis chart, Chinese woodut, late Ming


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Credit: Tongue diagnosis chart, Chinese woodut, late Ming. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


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Description

Chinese woodblock illustration from an edition of the late Ming period. It shows 'inner-circle tongue' (li juan she) and 'ren fissure tongue' (ren lie she), two conditions of the tongue recognised in Chinese tongue diagnosis. In inner-circle tongue, the tongue is pale red with a flushed central area and a black coating forming a border around the edges. This is regarded as a symptom of excessive heat and stagnated malignity in the Heart Envelope, and of an internal accumulation of heat (rexie). It is treated by combating the condition with decoctions to support Qi. In ren fissure tongue, the tongue is red with cracks in the shape of the Chinese character ren (similar to a Greek lamda). It is regarded as a symptom of intensely burning heart fire (xinhuo fanzhuo), or the flaring up (yanshang) of heat toxins (redu). It is treated by using cold to insulate and dispel the heat.

Lettering

PICTURE TITLE: Illustration of inner-circle tongue (li juan she) and ren fissure tongue OTHER LETTERING: Inner-circle tongue (li juan she); light red (danhong); flushed (hongyun); pure black (chun hei); the person's tongue is cracked (ren lie she); pure red (chun hong)

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