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Shiraku hen; [sub-title]: Taishuen zuihitsu [Essay on...

About the item

12 woodcuts in the text. 29 folding leaves (lacking final leaf with colophon). 8vo, orig. wrappers, orig. block-printed title label on upper cover, new stitching. [Kyoto?]: Preface dated 1770. Second edition (1st ed.: 1763) of a very scarce and important book regarding Shiraku. Yoshi Kogyu (1724-1800), a high-ranking official interpreter attached to the Nagasaki Commissioner's office, became interested in Western medicine through his work at Dejima. He read many Dutch works on the subject and asked the Dutch doctors about the methods described in the works. Kogyu mastered many procedures, including bloodletting, and became a famous teacher, training more than 600 medical students. In the second half of the 18th century, Japanese doctors incorporated the Western technique of bloodletting with acupuncture - learned from the Chinese - to form a unique treatment called Shiraku. Ogino was a pioneer of Western bloodletting. "Gengai Ogino (1737-1806), one of the students of the interpreter Kogyu, published a book called Shiraku-hen in 1771 [sic]. It tells of Western bloodletting, cupping and leeching and the use of a ceramic bowl to collect blood in the manner of the barber-surgeons. Such bowls had been produced in the famous Arita porcelain for export to the West since late in the 17th century.[it] depicts the venous circulation occluded by a tourniquet on an arm that is supported by a stick reminiscent of the itinerant barber-surgeon's walking stick. The popliteal space and the scalp were also sites for bleeding. "Shiraku-hen also illustrated not only Japanese needles, but also the classic Western 'thumb' lancet with its tortoise-shell covers and the German spring lancet with interior spring mechanism as it appeared in Lorenz Heister's book on surgery (Nuremberg, 1719). Gengai calls the spring lancet the 'machine-needle'. The spring lancet was a device that could slice into a vein without exerting manual pressure and was preferred by the Dutch. For those ignorant of anatomy it could phlebotomize a prominent vein without injuring other vessels. "Many doctors performed bloodletting in their treatments using their own new bloodletting techniques that were an eclectic style combining Western and Chinese influences. In the latter part of the 18th century, the Japanese thus developed and recognized their own bloodletting technique as a useful form of treatment, and Shiraku became popular among the masses."-Masaru Shimizu, "Historical views of bloodletting and transfusion from the beginning to the present status in Japan" (online resource, accessed 21 June 2019). Ogino's other essay, the Toho hen [On Emetic Therapy], was published in 1764. Fine copy, lacking the colophon leaf at end. Old private ownership seal removed from blank portion of first leaf. ? Mestler, A Galaxy of Old Japanese Medical Books, II, p. 472.
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5,500 USD

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