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What Is Medicine?Western and Eastern Approaches to Healing$
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Paul Unschuld

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257658

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257658.001.0001

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Mawangdui: Early Healing in China

Mawangdui: Early Healing in China

11 Mawangdui: Early Healing in China
What Is Medicine?

Paul U. Unschuld

University of California Press

The earth of China has revealed a treasure that was uncovered for almost exactly two thousand years. The excavation in Mawangdui proved to be a direct probe into the cultural heart of the early Han era, only a few decades following the first unification of the Chinese kingdom in the year 221, bc. Since then, further graves of this era have been found and opened. They corroborate the impression left by the finds from Mawangdui. The texts such as the ones from Mawangdui were not written the day before his lordship's book collection was laid into his grave. They probably date from the late third to early second century stating that intellectuals of the time saw the cause of illness mainly in two harmful influences. First, the harmful influence of a manifold host of spirits and demons and second, of an equally varied host of microorganisms. The knowledge of the appearance of the body's interior had similarly been maintained in writings on healing.

Keywords:   Mawangdui, writings on healing, early second century, cause of illness, host of microorganisms

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