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C14 Chinese tongue diagnosis chart

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Credit: C14 Chinese tongue diagnosis chart. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

About this work


Illustration of 'Slightly yellow tongue' from a manuscript copy of Shanghan diandian jin shu (The Gold-dust Book of Cold Damage) dated '1st year of the Zhengyuan reign period of the Yuan dynasty' (1341), section entitled Yanzheng she (Examining the Tongue).

This book incorporates the teachings of Ao Jiweng (Song period, 960-1279) on the movement of Qi and those of Du Ben (Tao Hua) (Yuan period, 1206-1368) on pulse and tongue diagnosis, etc. Yanzheng she is based on an original text by Ao Jiweng, edited by Chen Shiwen and Shi Buni (Song period). It is a guide to the diagnosis of cold damage conditions according to the coating of the tongue, with 36 illustrations in colour.

The text states: In this tongue image, the body of the tongue turns slightly yellow. This is indicative of the early stages of cold damage disease, generally due to loss of perspiration and external malignity (biaoxie) entering the body. To treat this, it is necessary to employ sweating and purgation. Dual Dispersal Powder (shuang jie san) may be used together with Poison-Removing Decoction (jiedu tang).



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