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Chinese/Japanese Pulse Image chart: Clay Ball Pulse

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

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Illustration of Clay Ball Pulse (tuwan 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: Clay Ball Pulse (tuwan mai) is one of the Sixteen Weird Pulses (guai mai). It is also known as Exhausted Corpse (jue shi) pulse. The pulse image is like small balls of clay beneath the fingers - full and solid, without a head or tail. It occurs nine or ten times for each sequence of exhalation and inhalation. When this pulse is felt at the guan (Pass) pulse sector of the wrist, it indicates that kidney Qi is exhausted, and death will ensue within a day.

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