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Ming herbal (painting): Mongolian oak


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


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Painting of Mongolian oak (huruo, Quercus dentata) 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: Mongolian oak is also called hushu, and daye lishu (large-leaved oak). It is a large, tall tree, similar to the [common] oak. The trunk can be as much as 1 metre thick. The bark is thick and coarse. It bears blossom in the third or fourth [lunar] month, and fruit in the eighth month. Both the fruits and the bark can be used in medicine. The fruit of the Mongolian oak is also called hushiren. It is bitter in sapor, astringent, neutral in thermostatic character, and non-poisonous. It has the medicinal properties of astringing the intestine and relieving dysentery; activating the blood and relieving stranguria. It is used to treat chronic diarrhoea, stranguria with heat in the blood, etc. The bark of the Mongolian oak is bitter in sapor, astringent, neutral in thermostatic character, and non-poisonous. It has the medicinal properties of killing parasites and promoting the healing of wounds and lesions; relieving dysentery and arresting bleeding. It is used to treat fistulas and worms, 'red' and 'white' dysentery [containing blood or not]; intestinal wind (changfeng) and bloody discharge from the bowel (xiaxue), etc.

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Mongolian oak (huruo, Quercus dentata)

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