The Evolution of Chinese Medicine: Song Dynasty, 960–1200, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Evolution of Chinese Medicine

Song Dynasty, 960–1200, 1st Edition

By Asaf Goldschmidt


272 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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The history of Chinese medicine hinges on three major turning points: the formation of canonical theory in the Han dynasty; the transformation of medicine via the integration of earlier medical theories and practices in the Song dynasty; and the impact of Western medicine from the nineteenth century onwards. This book offers a comprehensive overview of the crucial second stage in the evolution of Chinese medicine by examining the changes in Chinese medicine during the pivotal era of the Song dynasty.

Scholars often characterize the Song era as a time of change in every aspect of political, social, intellectual or economic life. More specifically it focuses on three narratives of change:

  • the emperor's interest in medicine elevated the status of medicine in the eyes of the elite, leading to an increased involvement of intellectuals and the literary elite in medicine
  • government officials systematically revised, printed, and promulgated earlier heterogeneous medical manuscripts belonging to various traditions
  • the government established unique imperially sponsored medical institutions to handle public health and other aspects of medicine.

As the first book to study the transformation medicine underwent during the Song period this volume will appeal to Sinologists and scholars of the history of medicine alike.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Emperors and Medicine: The Revival of Classical Medicine 2. Institutionalizing Medicine: Scholar-officials’ Impact on Medicine 3. Epidemics and Medicine: The Revival of Cold Damage Disorders 4. Drug Therapy during the Northern Song Dynasty. Introduction to Part 2: Creating a Comprehensive Systematic Medicine 5. Integrating Cold Damage Disorders with Classical Medicine 6. Integrating Drug Therapy with the Doctrinal Aspect of Classical Medicine. Epilogue

About the Author

Asaf Goldschmidt is Senior Lecturer in the Department of East Asian Studies at Tel Aviv University, Israel.

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.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / China
MEDICAL / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies