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Ming herbal (painting): Quail

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

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Painting of a quail (chun, anchun) 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 quail (anchun) resembles a small chicken. It has a plump, fleshy body, a small head and a bald tail. Its plumage is speckled. The cock has longer legs than the hen. It hides itself among grass or shrubs. Its flesh is sweet in sapor, neutral in thermostatic character, and non-poisonous. It has the medicinal effects of clearing heat, relieving dysentery, clearing accumulations and removing damp. The ancients used it to treat 'red' and 'white' dysentery (i.e. containing blood or not), paediatric malnutrition with accumulation (ganji), wind-damp blockage disease (bi).


Quail (chun)


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