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Body measurements, back view, Chinese woodcut, 1443

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Credit: Body measurements, back view, Chinese woodcut, 1443. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark

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Woodcut from Tong ren shu xue zhen jiu tu jing (Illustrated Manual of Acupoints on the Bronze Man) by Wang Weiyi, published in 1443 CE (8th year of the Zhengtong reign period of the Ming Dynasty), illustrating the system of proportionate body measurements. This illustration consists of a simple outline drawing of a human body, viewed from the back. Captions on the image indicate the distances between various landmarks on the surface of the body, as an aid in establishing the location of acupoints and the paths of the channels at the back of the body. The units of measurement are the chi and cun, the length of the cun being based on the proportions of the individual's body, i.e. 1 cun = the distance from the base of the middle finger to the end of the crease of the middle joint. 10 cun = 1 chi. See 'Lettering' for further details. NB. NB. There are close similarities between this image and L0037493.

Lettering

Image title: Fu ren chicun (measurements [chi and cun] on the prone body) Other lettering: From the back of the ear to wangu (the mastoid process) is 9 cun. From the cranium (i.e. the centre of the anterior hairline) to the nape is 1 chi. From the corner [of the skull] to zhugu (the Column Bone -- spinous process of the 7th cervical vertebra) is also 1 chi. From the nape to the backbone (i.e. the 1st prominent spinal process) is 2½ cun. From the elbow to the wrist is 1 chi 2½ cun. From the wrist to the proximal joint (nuckle?) of the middle finger is 4 cun. From the proximal joint to the distal joint of the middle finger is 4½ cun. From the shoulder to the elbow is 1 chi 7 cun. The 11 sections of the backbone down to the coccyx measure 3 chi. The circumference of the waist is 4 chi 2 cun. From the post-patellar fossa to the instep is 1 chi 2 cun. From the knee down to the external malleolus is 1 chi 6 cun. From jinggu (the proximal part of the 5th metatarsal bone?) to the ground is 1 cun.

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