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Chinese/Japanese Pulse Image chart: Sickle Pulse

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Credit: Chinese/Japanese Pulse Image chart: Sickle Pulse. Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Illustration of Sickle Pulse (yandao mai) from Renyuan maiying guizhi tushuo (Pictorial Handbook of Pulse Images Based on the Person). This is a specialist text on pulse diagnosis attributed to the third-century master Shuhe, edited and revised by Shen Jifen in the Ming period (1368-1644). It discusses various pulse images and the medical conditions to which they relate, and contains 48 pulse image diagrams. This undated edition was engraved and published in Japan.

The text states: Sickle Pulse is one of the Sixteen WeirdPulses (guai mai). It is also known as Walking Corpse pulse (xing shi mai). Its pulse image is like a curved blade; it arrives swiftly and passes hastily away, occurring twice for each sequence of exhalation and inhalation. Patients with chronic lung disease will die within one day if this pulse is found. Woodcut on bark paper, especially engraved for this edition. Circular diagram, 3.5 cm in diameter.

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