BetaThis search tool is in development. Find out more.
Digital Images

C14 Chinese tongue diagnosis chart

Available online

view C14 Chinese tongue diagnosis chart


Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

You can use this work for any purpose, including commercial uses, without restriction under copyright law. You should also provide attribution to the original work, source and licence.

Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) terms and conditions

Credit: C14 Chinese tongue diagnosis chart. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

About this work


Illustration of 'White coating' (baitai), 'incipient plague' (jiang wen), and 'central coating' (zhong tai) tongue from a manuscript copy of Shanghan diandian jin shu (The Gold-dust Book of Cold Damage) dated '1st year of the Zhengyuan reign period of the Yuan dynasty' (1341), section entitled Yanzheng she (Examining the Tongue). All three illustrations appear on the same half-folio.

This book incorporates the teachings of Ao Jiweng (Song period, 960-1279) on the movement of Qi and those of Du Ben (Tao Hua) (Yuan period, 1206-1368) on pulse and tongue diagnosis, etc. Yanzheng she is based on an original text by Ao Jiweng, edited by Chen Shiwen and Shi Buni (Song period). It is a guide to the diagnosis of cold damage conditions according to the coating of the tongue, with 36 illustrations in colour.

According to the description, in 'White coating' tongue image, the edges of the tongue are pale red. In light of this tongue image, appropriate treatments are Minor Bupleurum Decoction (xiao chaihu tang) and Cape Jasmine Bean Decoction (zhizi dou tang). In 'Incipient plague' tongue image, the tongue is vivid red around the edges and dark red in the centre. The appropriate treatment is Head and Mind Clearing Powder (tou ding qing shen san). 'Central coating' tongue image is equivalent to 'Baked centre' tongue (zhongbei she) image in Yuan Ao Shi shanghan jinjinglu (Mr Yuan Ao's Golden Mirror of Cold Damage). The tongue appears red around the edges, with a black shape like another smaller tongue within it. Appropriate treatments are Diaphragm Cooling Powder (liang ge san) and Major Bupleurum Decoction (da chaihu tang).


Headings: R to L) White-coated tongue (baitai she). Incipient plague tongue (jiang wen she). Zhong tai she (central coating tongue)



We’re improving the information on this page. Find out more.