Chinese Materia Dietetica, Ming: Leaking-house water

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Illustration of 'leaking-house water' from Shiwu bencao (Materia dietetica), a dietetic herbal in four volumes dating from the Ming period (1368-1644). The identity of the author and artists is unknown. It contains entries on over 300 medicinal substances and is illustrated by almost 500 paintings in colour. Leaking-house (wulou shui) water is rainwater leaking through the roof of a building. The illustration shows a man collecting water from leaks in his ceiling in various bowls and basins. The text states: Leaking-house water is highly poisonous. If one should inadvertently drink it, one will certainly contract noxious diseases; however dog bites bathed in it heal rapidly.

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Leaking-house water (wulou shui)

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Chinese Materia Dietetica, Ming: Leaking-house water. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

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Credit: Wellcome Collection

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