Chinese drugs personified: Lithograph, 1935

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Yaohui tukao (Illustrated Congregation of Drugs), published in 1935 (24th year of the Republic of China), presents the materia medica in dramatic form. It consists of ten scenes, in which various drugs appear as protagonists. This illustration accompanies Scene 5, 'Chinese Clematis/ 'The Wondrous Immortal' Subdues his Enemies', in which characters personifying Chinese clematis [root] (weilingxian, Clematis chinensis, lit. awesome, wondrous immortal), amethyst, diverse wormwood (liujinu, Artemisia anomala) and betel present the sapors, potencies, and therapeutic uses of various drugs through the medium of spoken dialogue and song. Obscured homalomena rhizome (qiannianjian, rhizoma homalomenae) dispels wind and strengthens the bones. Medicinal indianmulberry root (bajitian, radix morindae officinalis) replenishes the kidney and fosters Yang. Chinese clematis [root] dispels wind and unblocks the channels. Deerhorn glue (lujiao jiao, colla cornus cervi) tonifies the kidney and replenishes essence/semen (jing). Medicinal cyathula root (chuanniuxi) soothes the tendons and activates the collateral channels. Amethyst settles the heart and calms fright. Diverse wormwood activates the blood and heals wounds… Altogether, this scene introduces about 70 drugs.


TITLE: CAPTIONS: Chinese clematis/ 'The wondrous immortal' subdues his enemies; gansui ([root of] Euphorbia Kansui); lilac Daphne (yuanhua, Daphne genkwa); spurge (daji, Euphorbia pekinensis); seaweed (haizao); betel (binglang); dendrobium (shihu) jinshi hu; Cape jasmine (zhizi); Chinese clematis [root] (weilingxian, Clematis chinensis); amethyst (zishiying); diverse wormwood (liujinu, Artemisia anomala)


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