CLEYER, Andreas (1634-1697 or 1698), editor. Specimen medicinae sinicae, sive opuscula medica ad mentem sinensium. Translated from the Chinese into Latin by Michael Piotr Boym. Frankfurt: Johann Peter Zubrodt, 1682.
4o (190 x 155 mm). Collation: s2; A-F4; a-n4 o2; (A)-(G)4; (a)-(b)4. 115 leaves (of 116, without (G)4 blank). Title printed in red and black with publisher's engraved device, 30 numbered engraved plates, 72 small text woodcuts representing Chinese symbols of the pulse, 36 small woodcuts representing diseases of the tongue, 1 full-page woodcut of the hands, 2 large cuts of diagrams representing the circulation of the blood, 5 leaves (n2-n4, o1-2) of folding typographic tables. (Repaired tears to title and dedication leaf with loss to 3 letters of the latter, title imprint cropped, cropping to plates occasionally affecting captions or image, small repair to plate 22 catching rule border, scattered light spotting, some browning in parts 2-4.) Late 18th-century boards, edges stained green (joints and extremities rubbed).
Provenance: Ch. Barel (inscription); Dr. E. Friedrich Rhelme [?] (inkstamp); Dr. Flandrin (bookplate dated 1902); Ralph Hermon Major (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST ILLUSTRATED WORK ON CHINESE MEDICINE TO BE PUBLISHED IN EUROPE. These Latin translations of a late medieval version of the Mo cheh (Instructions relating to the pulse) and other short texts were the work of the Polish Jesuit Michael Boym (1612-1659). They were published, with no mention of Boym, by Andreas Cleyer, a physician with the Dutch East India Company who served in Java in the 1660s and later in Japan. The only earlier printed Western work on Chinese medicine was a short unillustrated collection of Jesuit translations of similar Chinese works entitled Secrets de la medicine chinoise (Grenoble 1671). The texts translated here, of which several are by Vam Xo Ho (or Wang Shu-ho), deal primarily with theories relating to the pulse, and the closely related subject of acupuncture is discussed extensively. One chapter gives remedies for various types of disorders of the pulse, while the chapter on materia medica lists and describes 289 plants, with phonetic transcriptions of their Chinese names, and their Latin names where the plants have been identified. The final section contains 36 descriptions of various pathological symptoms as manifested in the appearance of the tongue, illustrated by woodcuts of the tongue with captions describing localized discoloration, etc.
The curious engravings, copied from a Chinese source, probably Chang Chieh-Pin's Lei ching (1624) include several anatomical engravings of organs as well as "the first acupuncture charts published in the West; unfortunately, these were dubbed 'anatomical' by Western writers, causing much confusion and misguided criticism" (Norman). A portion of Boym's translation of the section on the pulse was abridged and paraphrased in English in the second volume of John Floyer's Physician's pulse-watch (1707-10). Floyer, presumably influenced by Chinese theory, was the first European physician to advocate regular observations of the pulse.
Choulant-Frank, pp. 362-369; Garrison-Morton 6492; NLM/Krivatsy 1734-35; Waller 9107; Wellcome II, p. 359; Norman 489.