Explorations in Daoism: Medicine and Alchemy in Literature, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Explorations in Daoism

Medicine and Alchemy in Literature, 1st Edition

By Ho Peng Yoke


228 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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The Daoist canon is the definitive fifteenth century compilation of texts concerning ritual, alchemical and meditation practices within Daoist religion. Many of these texts are undated and anonymous, so dating them is essential for a clear understanding of the development of Chinese alchemy, and the place of these texts in history.

Ho Peng Yoke's Explorations in Daoism brings together an extraordinary compendium of data on alchemical knowledge in China, describing the methods used for dating important alchemical texts in the Daoist canon, and reconstructing and translating a number of alchemical texts that exist only in fragments scattered throughout the Daoist canon, pharmacopoeia and other compendia.

This book provides a clear guide for students and scholars about the methods required for dating and reconstituting texts using techniques that can be applied to other areas of traditional Chinese culture also. As such, this book will appeal to those interested in Chinese alchemy, the history of science, Daoism and Chinese history.

Table of Contents

Author's Preface Preface by T. H. Barrett 1. Introduction 2. On the dating of alchemical texts 3. Danfang jianyuan and Danfang jingyuan 4. Partial restoration, collation and translation of lost alchemical texts 5. General discussions Appendix 1: Beyond the Daoist Canon: Proto-chemistry in the pharmacopoeia Appendix 2: Extracts from al-Biruni's pharmacopoeia with added Commentaries Bibliography

About the Author

Ho Peng Yoke has published widely on Chinese alchemy, astronomy, divination and mathematics. He occupied senior academic positions in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and Hong Kong before becoming the Director of the Needham Research Institute in 1990. On his retirement at the end of 2001 he became its Emeritus Director. He is an academician of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Academia Sinica and the International Euro-Asia Academy of Science.

About the Series

Needham Research Institute Series

Joseph Needham's 'Science and Civilisation' series began publication in the 1950s. At first, it was seen as a piece of brilliant but isolated pioneering. However, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, it is clear that Needham's work has succeeded in creating a vibrant new intellectual field in the West. The books in this series cover topics relating broadly to the practice of science, technology and medicine in East Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. The emphasis is on traditional forms of knowledge and practice, but without excluding modern studies which connect the topics with their historical and cultural context.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / General
RELIGION / Eastern
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General