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Early C20 Chinese Lithograph: 'Fan' diseases

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Credit: Early C20 Chinese Lithograph: 'Fan' diseases. Wellcome Collection. In copyright

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Huitu zhenjiu yixue (Illustrated Acupuncture Made Easy), by Li Shouxian, was composed in 1798 (3rd year of the Jiaqing reign period of the Qing dynasty). It comprises two volumes (juan), plus a supplementary volume containing illustrations of the 'Seventy-two fan'. The 'Seventy-two fan' are not mentioned in any other early Chinese medical sources. Judging from the accounts given in this text, fan must be a generic term for a category of acute illness of unexplained origin. The word fan is qualified by names of animals and insects to characterise the external manifestations of these illnesses. This illustration shows the manifestations of Bean-Throat (douhou) fan, Rabbit fan, Gurgling-Guts (gunchang) fan and Mute fan. According to the captions, the signs of these conditions are as follows: In Bean-Throat fan, the throat is painfully inflamed, making it impossible to eat or drink. To treat this: Place a spider's web, with the spider in it, inside a date, calcine…(?)… and grind to powder. Administer this as a draught, using a reed to introduce it into the patient's throat. In Rabbit fan, instead of walking at a steady gait, the patient rushes hither and thither, and runs out into the open. To treat this: Make the patient take a small quantity of gunpowder, or apply moist earth or mud to the head. During treatment, the patient should be allowed to walk about, and not made to rest in bed. In Gurgling-Guts (gunchang) fan, the belly is painful, and the patient clutches at the epigastric region. To treat this, it is best to get the patient to raise his/her hands above his/her head. The doctor strikes the patient on the joints of the limbs, which may cause blue and mauve bruises to appear, and continues striking as far as the middle of the chest(?). Once no more bruises appear, the patient will recover. If the patient does not improve, the striking may be repeated. If this condition is accompanied by wind symptoms, one should calcine seven pieces of silk floss and seven bees, grind this to a powder and administer it to the patient washed down with yellow rice wine. In Mute fan, the patient lies on the ground and is unable to speak. This can be treated by striking the top of the head (dingmen, Crown Portal) with a shoe-sole dipped in water. If the patient is female, the hair can be parted in two, and the parting struck with a hand dipped in cold water.

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TITLE: Bean-Throat fan (douhou) fan; Rabbit fan; Gurgling-Guts (gunchang) fan; Mute fan. CAPTIONS: See 'Description of Image Content'

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