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Ming herbal (painting): Crow

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Credit: Ming herbal (painting): Crow. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Painting of a crow in the meticulous (gongbi) style, in colour on silk, from Bencao tupu (Illustrated Herbal). The painted illustrations in Bencao tupu were jointly executed by Zhou Hu and Zhou Xi in 1644 (the final year of the Ming period). The explanatory texts were provided by Zhou Rongqi. The book was not completed: each volume was to have contained 14-15 paintings, but only 29 are extant. Zhou Rongqi writes: The crow (wuya) is also known as laoya, yaju, chuwu, and dazui wu (lit. large-beaked crow). It has an alert character, and a harsh call. It is large-beaked and rapacious. Its flesh is non-poisonous, and has the medicinal effects of dispelling wind and calming epilepsy (xian), treating consumption (lao) and arresting bleeding. The ancients used it to treat paediatric wind epilepsy, insufficiency-overexertion (xulao), coughing up blood, bone steaming (guzheng), tidal fever (chaore), etc.

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Crow (wuya)

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