The Menstruating Womb

A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Body and Gender in Hŏ Chun’s Precious Mirror of Eastern Medicine (1613)

In: Asian Medicine

This paper analyses body and gender in East Asian medicine through a case study of Hŏ Chun’s 許浚 Precious Mirror of Eastern Medicine (Tongŭi pogam 東醫寶鑑, first ed. 1613). While Hŏ Chun’s Chinese sources classified menstrual ailments as a disease of women, Hŏ created a new nosological model that defined menstrual ailments as maladies of the ‘womb’, an internal body part found in men and women alike. I read back and forth between the Precious Mirror and the Chinese sources that Hŏ Chun cites to analyse the textual and intellectual processes by which he constructed his androgynous, menstruating womb. My findings engage with scholarship on the history of East Asian medical exchanges as well as with scholarship on menstruation, sex, and gender in world medicine.

Abstract

This paper analyses body and gender in East Asian medicine through a case study of Hŏ Chun’s 許浚 Precious Mirror of Eastern Medicine (Tongŭi pogam 東醫寶鑑, first ed. 1613). While Hŏ Chun’s Chinese sources classified menstrual ailments as a disease of women, Hŏ created a new nosological model that defined menstrual ailments as maladies of the ‘womb’, an internal body part found in men and women alike. I read back and forth between the Precious Mirror and the Chinese sources that Hŏ Chun cites to analyse the textual and intellectual processes by which he constructed his androgynous, menstruating womb. My findings engage with scholarship on the history of East Asian medical exchanges as well as with scholarship on menstruation, sex, and gender in world medicine.

Introduction

Where do menses come from, and is menstruation a bodily phenomenon unique to females? Biomedicine says that a uniquely female organ―the uterus―prepares itself for a possible pregnancy each month by building up a nutrient rich inner lining. If no egg is fertilised, the lining is shed.1 But historical understandings of menstruation and sex have been far more fluid and diverse. In early modern Europe, humoral theories of the body defined menstruation as but one of the ways that the body could rid itself of impure or excess blood, and women’s monthly flows were readily conflated with other forms of spontaneous or episodic bleeding.2 In particular, many saw menstruation in women and haemorrhoidal bleeding in men as two manifestations of a single phenomenon.3 In a sinister variant, European anti-Semitic rhetoric claimed that Jewish men menstruated, a sign that they were an impure race and cursed by God.4 Even if menstruation was considered a distinctively female phenomenon, therefore, it might not be considered uniquely female. A plethora of historical and anthropological studies has analysed the different ways in which menstruation has been conceptualised and implicated in understandings of gender and the body.5 Recent scholarship on the relationship between gynaecology, obstetrics, and state building during Korea’s colonial era (1910–45) has shown that menstruation became the focus of intense attention from Korean reformers and Japanese colonial doctors alike. Employing models from biomedical science, they defined menstrual disorders as one of the important ‘diseases of women’ that could afflict the minds and bodies of Korean wives and mothers and thus impair the modernisation of Korea.

Here I examine medical depictions of menstruation in Korea during a much earlier era, when Chinese classical medicine, not biomedicine, was the dominant point of reference. My case study is Korea’s most celebrated medical text, Hŏ Chun’s 許浚 (1539–1615) Precious Mirror of Eastern Medicine (Tongŭi pogam 東醫寶鑑), completed in 1610 and first printed in 1613. The Precious Mirror is a particularly useful vehicle for cross-cultural explorations into menses and gender. As is well known, Hŏ Chun cited over 200 medical works in his Mirror, mostly Chinese in origin, which he synthesised with Korean medical writings, and the text is written almost entirely in Chinese characters.6 Furthermore, Hŏ employed the term ‘Eastern medicine’ (tongŭi) to convey the idea that the Precious Mirror represented a distinct current of classical medicine akin to the famous intellectual currents of northern and southern China. In other words, the intellectual authority of Hŏ Chun’s text simultaneously came from its mastery of the Chinese medical corpus and its ability to create a locally-specific form of healing adapted to Chosŏn bodies in the ‘East’.7 The Precious Mirror also circulated widely in China and Japan, forming part of broader Sinophonic discussions about health, disease, and cure.8 An obvious question, therefore, is how Hŏ Chun’s depiction of female bodies compared to that of his Chinese sources, and what this might reveal about the range of gendered bodies in East Asian medicine.

In asking this question, I wish to bring Hŏ Chun’s work into conversation with a larger body of comparative scholarship shaped by Thomas Laqueur’s influential writings on the ‘one-sex’ and ‘two sex’ models of bodily difference.9 According to Laqueur, the one-sex model dominated European medicine prior to the eighteenth century. It viewed the male body as the paradigmatic human body, with the female body as but its variant form. By contrast, the two-sex model that supposedly arose to prominence during the eighteenth century saw male and female bodies as intrinsically different. Laqueur’s core evidence for the prevalence of the one-sex model included medical descriptions that portrayed the female sex organs as an internal version of the male genitalia, as well as descriptions that likened haemorrhoidal bleeding to menstruation.10 But Helen King criticises Laqueur’s focus on genital anatomy, and she points out that in the Hippocratic tradition, ‘women’s difference extends beyond the organs of generation to every part of the flesh’.11 Medical perceptions of male-female bodily difference, furthermore, are rooted in ‘the centrality of menstruation in the economy of the female body’.12 Rather than a dominant one-sex model, King finds that ancient and early modern medicine contained a much wider range of gender models.

Scholars of Asian medical history have also tested Laqueur’s one-sex/two-sex narrative and also found it to have limited explanatory utility. Charlotte Furth found that Chinese medical conceptualisations of bodily gender were too fluid and context-specific to be understood in terms of a one- or two-sex model: while Chinese medicine saw male and female bodies as homologous versions of a truly androgynous ‘Yellow Emperor’s body’, the androgyny of this body of ‘generation’ was challenged at various points by a uniquely female body of ‘gestation’ defined in terms of childbearing.13 Drawing on Furth’s work, Kim Ho and Shin Dong-won have also asked how gender may have shaped the nosology of the Precious Mirror. One issue is what significance to assign to the existence of separate sections on the diseases of women and the diseases of children. Kim Ho has suggested that the Precious Mirror classified diseases according to three types of people―men, women, and children―whose gender characteristics are distinguished by their ability to reproduce as well as their bodily contributions to human reproduction.14 Shin has criticised Kim’s analysis by pointing out that the rubrics of gynaecological and paediatric diseases were already well-established and not novel to Hŏ Chun. Furthermore, Shin argued that the supposed tri-partite division between men, women, and children was undermined by the fact that Hŏ Chun assigned the ‘womb’ (K. po, Ch. bao 胞) and the ‘breast’ (K. yu, Ch. ru 乳) to his chapters on the body’s ‘internal landscape’ (K. naekyŏngpyŏn, 內景篇) and ‘external form’ (K. oehyŏngpyŏn, 外形篇), respectively. The fact that these ‘female bodily organs’ (yŏsŏng ŭi sinch’egigwan), were not discussed under the rubric of women’s diseases, Shin says, means that for Hŏ Chun, ‘gender difference was not the primary criterion, and the [internal or external] location of the bodily organs took precedence in classification [of disease]’.15

While I agree with Shin’s assessment of Hŏ Chun’s nosological priorities, I would argue that the way that Hŏ negotiates gender is more complex than has been previously recognised. In particular, we cannot assume that Hŏ Chun himself gendered the womb and breast as ‘female’. Indeed, in Shin’s most recent study, he notes in passing that the Precious Mirror portrays the womb as a ‘universal’ bodily organ rather than as something specific to women.16 But the ways in which Hŏ articulated gender and its relevance (or not) to specific aspects of the body still remain to be explored in depth. Beyond discussing how Hŏ categorised the womb, a consideration of gender also needs to examine the way in which menses figured into Hŏ’s conceptualisation of the body. This becomes particularly clear when we compare Hŏ Chun’s portrayal of ‘women’s diseases’ with that of his Chinese source texts. Chinese writers constructed a model of gender difference predicated on female blood, and they viewed menstrual ailments as an important category of women’s diseases. To the extent that the womb was mentioned, it was the bodily space in which conception and gestation occurred. By contrast, Hŏ Chun omitted menstrual diseases from his discussion on ‘women’s diseases’, and reconfigured menses as a phenomenon of a bodily organ, the womb. In this paper, I will read back and forth between the Precious Mirror and its Chinese sources to reveal the epistemological work that Hŏ did in order to construct this universal, yet menstruating womb. After reviewing the place of women’s diseases in the Precious Mirror, I examine how Hŏ both degendered the womb and created a category of menstrual ailments that was textually divorced from the Chinese tradition of ‘regulating menses’. I then show how Hŏ’s reconfiguration of menses was consistent with his broader desire to construct a medical system rooted in self-cultivation practices.

Body and Disease in the Precious Mirror

Hŏ Chun was a scholarly physician, born the illegitimate son of a yangban (aristocratic, office-holding élite) father and a concubine mother, who was herself the illegitimate daughter of a yangban father. While the details of Hŏ’s medical training remain to be uncovered, his trajectory would have been shaped by the fact that as an illegitimate son, he was barred from taking the civil service examinations, but as someone with yangban connections on both sides of the family, he would have had access to networks of learning and social influence. Hŏ Chun’s clients included the family of high official Yu Hŭi-chun 柳希椿, whose recommendation helped Hŏ obtain a position as an imperial physician around 1571.17 Hŏ Chun gained the confidence of King Sŏnjo 宣祖 (r. 1567–1608) after he treated one of the princes for smallpox in 1590, and further when he accompanied the court into exile during the Japanese invasion of Chosŏn in 1592–4. In 1596, the king ordered Hŏ Chun to compile a medical treatise that would serve as a standard of excellent care. Hŏ assembled a team of scholarly and court physicians and they created an early outline for the Precious Mirror. But when the Japanese again invaded in 1597, the other physicians dispersed. The king then ordered Hŏ Chun to complete the text as its sole author, which he did in 1610.18

Much has been written about the way that the Precious Mirror uses body parts and their location as the primary schema for organising its discussion of diseases and treatments.19 The main division that Hŏ drew was between the ‘internal’ or ‘external’ aspects of the body. While such labels corresponded generally to imagined location, they also drew a distinction between those components associated with vital functions, and those that constituted the physical form.20 The first section of the Precious Mirror consisted of four juan on the ‘Inner Landscape’ which detailed the vitalities and components of the body that governed human birth, growth, and senescence. In addition to the body’s core animating forces of ‘essence’ (精 K. chŏng, Ch. jing), ki (氣 Ch. qi), and ‘psyche’ (神 K. shin, Ch. shen), Hŏ discussed blood (血, K. hyŏl, Ch. xue) and fluids, the internal viscera, and various phenomena and substances produced by bodily functions (e.g. dreams, phlegm, faeces). The womb was included in this inner landscape. Next came four juan on the ‘External Form’, essentially those components that could be directly seen or palpated. Starting at the top of the body, then moving down and outwards, these chapters listed the parts of the head, neck, torso, and limbs, as well as the material constituents of skin, flesh, bones, pulses, and sinews. The ‘breast’ as well was included as part of the ‘external form’. In these sections on the internal and external body, Hŏ Chun described the illnesses associated with each aspect of the body as well as the remedies used to treat them. Subsequently, diseases that were not readily associated with a specific bodily component were assigned to a long, 11-juan section on ‘Miscellaneous Diseases’ (K. Chappyŏngp’yŏn 雜病篇).21 ‘Miscellaneous’ did not mean unimportant, however, and this third category included epidemic illnesses and other acute conditions. The tenth juan in the section on miscellaneous illnesses is titled ‘Women’ (K. Puin 婦人), thus denoting a class of illnesses specific to females but not reducible to a given body part. Finally, these sections focusing on the body and disease are followed by three juan on medicinal ‘Decoctions’ (K. T’angaek 湯液), describing the proper preparation and use of materia medica and formulas, and one juan on ‘Acu-moxa’ (K. ch’imgu 鍼灸), describing the therapeutic use of needles and burning mugwort.

The Illnesses of Women

Hŏ Chun’s section on women addressed a range of medical challenges directly pertaining to childbearing: promoting male and female fertility and conceiving healthy children; diagnosing pregnancy and discerning the sex and number of foetuses; treating maternal ailments provoked by pregnancy; preventing miscarriage; correctly discerning the time of birth; preventing and managing complications of childbirth; treating post-partum illnesses and discomforts; and providing emergency treatment to newborns. Many of these topics would be familiar to people today, including common maladies like morning sickness and dangerous complications such as a retained placenta and post-partum hemorrhage. Others bespoke a very different view of the body, instructing readers how to change a girl foetus to a male one, for example. Hŏ Chun’s therapies were also diverse, ranging from orally-ingested formulas (composed of single or multiple drugs) to external plasters, and from acu-moxa to Daoist charms. Instructions for promoting safe childbirth, for example, included the use of drugs to slim the foetus and make it slippery. Hŏ also explained the geomantic calculations a family should undertake when orienting the birthing room and burying the placenta, in order to prevent evil spirits and malign forces from harming mother and child. This wide range of concerns and strategies was consistent with those of Hŏ Chun’s Chinese source texts and would have been familiar as well to his Chinese contemporaries.

The Precious Mirror is densely punctuated by book titles that indicate which source Hŏ Chun is quoting, and Hŏ’s chapter on women cited 48 different works from which he drew concepts and medicinal formulas. Table 1 shows the 11 most frequently cited works, all of which were authored by Chinese writers, and all of which would have been standard references in China as well. The one specialised work on women’s diseases that Hŏ cited was Chen Ziming’s 陳自明 foundational treatise, the Comprehensive Good Formulas for Women (Furen daquan liangfang 婦人大全良方), completed in 1237.22 Chen Ziming, a hereditary doctor and a teacher, synthesised his own medical experiences with the work of earlier and contemporaneous writers. His conceptual framework served as a key point of reference for learned Chinese doctors’ approaches to women’s diseases, and a point of departure for subsequent innovations.23 The rest of the works in Table 1 were treatises that addressed a wide range of human illnesses, including those defined as particular to women.

Viewed as an ensemble, Hŏ Chun’s source texts notably embodied the particular concerns of doctors in China’s Ming dynasty (1368–1644), a period of vigorous trade and diplomatic relations between China and its tributary Chosŏn. By the sixteenth century, increasing numbers of Chinese scholars were taking up medicine as an alternate profession when they failed to advance in the examinations. This stimulated the production of new genres of medical texts written by or designed for literate doctors, including ‘introductory’ medical texts and comprehensive, didactic treatises that covered all aspects of medical knowledge and practice.24 As Fabien Simonis has noted, however, ‘many books claiming to be for beginners were sophisticated digests of complex medical teachings; they were not easy “primers”, but points of entry into the intricate traditions they summarized’.25 Such was the case with Li Chan’s 李梴 (sixteenth century) Introduction to Medicine (Yixue rumen 醫學入門, first published 1575), the text that Hŏ Chun cited most in his chapter on women. Li’s text became one of the most influential medical texts in East Asia, circulating in Tokugawa Japan as well as Ming-Qing China.26 Historians also consider Li Chan’s work to be a major influence on Chosŏn medicine, even describing it as playing ‘a decisive role’ in the compilation of the Precious Mirror, for it provided a systematic distillation of Chinese ideas that Hŏ Chun could then reconfigure according to his own perspectives.27

A central concern of Ming medicine was how to apply the innovative yet often conflicting doctrines proposed by famous doctors of the Jin-Yuan era (1115–1368). Particularly influential was the Yuan dynasty doctor Zhu Zhenheng 朱震亨 (1282–1358, style name Danxi 丹溪), who was famous not only for his teachings on bolstering vulnerable bodily yin, but also for championing a syncretic approach that sought to meld the finest teachings of all previous masters.28 Hŏ Chun’s chapter on women’s diseases quoted extensively from Danxi’s Essential Methods (Danxi xinfa 丹溪心法), a compilation produced by Zhu’s followers during the mid- to late fifteenth century, as well as from comprehensive treatises that self-consciously employed Zhu’s syncretic approach. These included the Systematic Outline of Medical Learning (Yixue gangmu 醫學綱目), by Lou Ying 樓英 (1332–1400), a student of Zhu Zhenheng, and the Correct Transmission of Medical Learning (Yixue zhengchuan 醫學正傳 (1515), written by the physician Yu Tuan 虞摶 (1438–1517), whose great-grand-uncle reportedly studied medicine with Zhu Zhenheng. The wide-circulating texts by Gong Xin 龔信 (sixteenth century) and his son, Gong Tingxian 龔廷賢 (ca. 1522–1619), both of whom had served in the imperial medical service, were also comprehensive syntheses that melded classical teachings with the doctrines and experiences of historical and contemporary masters to establish systematic guidelines for diagnosis and therapy.29 In short, the Chinese texts that Hŏ used to compile his writings on women’s diseases—and indeed the Precious Mirror itself—embodied the most important intellectual currents of Chinese classical medicine as it was understood in his lifetime.

table 1Texts cited in Hŏ Chun’s chapters on women’s diseasestable 1
Textual Adaptation

As other scholars have documented, Hŏ Chun actively modified, combined, and rearranged passages from Chinese writings to fit his own medical priorities. With respect to women’s diseases, an illustrative example of how thorough these changes could be is Hŏ’s revision of the famous essay ‘A Discussion of the Ten Types of Birth’ (Ch. Shichan lun 十產論) by the scholar and medical expert Yang Zijian 楊子建 (fl. 1098).30 Yang’s essay survives because it was anthologised in Chen Ziming’s gynaecological text. Its original ten topics described the course of normal childbirth as well as how to manage common complications and malpresentations. Chen Ziming also appended an eleventh topic on uterine prolapse during labour (‘platter intestine’ birth). While Yang’s essay assumed that any manipulation of the baby would be carried out by a midwife, it also assumed that male readers should be familiar with these procedures. Furth notes that Chen’s text represented a peak of Chinese scholarly male medical interest in the manual aspects of childbirth that waned markedly in subsequent eras.31 To the extent that later Chinese doctors discussed manual obstetrics, they largely repeated Yang Zijian’s essay.

Hŏ Chun provides a version of this essay, titled ‘Ten Manifestations of Childbirth’ (K. ship san hu 十產候) in his chapter on ‘women’.32 He notes that these ten topics were drawn from Good Prescriptions, and indeed his ‘Ten Manifestations’ covered almost all of the same topics as Yang Zijian’s essay. However, Hŏ altered the content and organisational logic of the Chinese original. For example, he adds descriptions that were not in Yang’s original, including an entry on giving birth in a ‘lying down’ position.33 Hŏ also completely rearranged the order of Yang Zijian’s topics (see Table 2). In Yang Zijian’s original, the first topic described normal, smooth birth, and the next two topics described the main ways that the birthing process could be subverted—by the mother pushing too early in labour (‘injurious birth’) or by labour simply being protracted (thus requiring ‘expedited birth’). Yang’s fourth and fifth topics then described how to mitigate the danger that excessively hot or cold weather posed to the qi and blood of the birthing mother. One could call these first five topics ‘peri-obstetrical’ issues, in that they discussed physiological and environmental factors that could affect the course of labour. Only in the second half of the list did Yang turn to the issue of manual obstetrics—how the birthing attendant should correct the position of a malpresented baby—and the squatting position that a woman should adopt in labour.

By contrast, Hŏ Chun’s version foregrounded manual obstetrics. Like Yang Zijian, he started by describing normal birth. However, Hŏ Chun then turned to the ‘sitting’ and ‘lying down’ positions for birth, followed by the topics on managing malpresentation. The peri-obstetrical topics that Yang Zijian had privileged were relegated to the second half of Hŏ Chun’s version. Particularly noteworthy is Hŏ Chun’s comparative lack of interest in ‘injurious birth’, Yang’s second topic, where the mother pushed too early in labour and caused the baby to get stuck in an incorrect position. By Hŏ Chun’s time, Chinese male doctors routinely warned about the dangers of pushing too early, which they saw as a major cause of difficult labour.34 Such authors included Yu Tuan, whom Hŏ Chun cited frequently in his discussion of women’s diseases.35 But Hŏ provided only a curtailed version of Yang’s original discussion of pushing too early and moved the topic to 11th place in his list of 12 topics.

table 2Comparison of Yang Zijian and Hŏ Chun’s Enumerations of the Ten Manifestations of Childbirthtable 2

Hŏ’s changes are particularly interesting because they also contrast with the choices made by other doctors. One point of comparison is an earlier Chosŏn author, the fifteenth-century royal doctor No Chung-rye 盧重禮. In A Record of the Essentials of Childbearing (Taesan yorok 胎産要錄) of 1434, No discussed the first five peri-natal topics from Yang’s essay in their original order, but omitted the descriptions of how manually to correct the baby’s position.36 Another point of comparison is the seventeenth-century Chinese author Xiao Xun 蕭壎. In his Canonical Teachings on Medicine for Women (Nüke jinglun 女科經論, 1684), Xiao only discussed two of Yang’s topics—childbirth during cold or hot weather—explaining that these were ‘within the doctor’s [sphere] of using drugs to regulate and protect’. As for the other topics discussed by Yang Zijian, Xiao said, these were ‘the affair of the mother in labour and the midwife’.37 While Hŏ Chun did not explain why he configured Yang Zijian’s essay to foreground manual obstetrics, it is reasonable to assume that this also reflected a desire to address a particular audience with a particular set of perceived needs and interests. Additional research will be required to understand fully the socio-medical factors that may have influenced Hŏ’s choices. Meanwhile, however, Hŏ’s reworking of Yang Zijian’s essay illustrates how freely he could rearrange Chinese sources to serve his own priorities.

Eschewing the Chinese Model of ‘Women’s Diseases’

Beyond reorganising specific passages to emphasise different techniques, Hŏ Chun’s gynaecological discussions also deconstructed the overall nosological logic of his Chinese originals. Chinese writers portrayed menses and menstrual ailments as distinctive issues of women, rooted in female blood. But Hŏ Chun classified menstrual ailments as diseases of the womb, essentially proposing a new way of envisioning gender in the body. To appreciate how he did this, it will be helpful to review what scholars have written about historical Chinese views of menstruation.38

Menses and Blood as the Root of Female Health

Early Chinese medical works focused mostly on issues surrounding conception, pregnancy, and birth, but they also recognised the link between menses and female health and fertility. A canonical description of female sexual maturation from the ancient Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon: Basic Questions (Huangdi neijing suwen 黃帝內經素問), based on writings from the second to first century bce, described menarche as one of the phenomena marking female sexual maturation.39 As medical thinkers increasingly investigated female reproductive functions, they expanded their attention to female forms of blood (Ch. xue 血). All bodies had ‘blood,’ conceptualised as the yin form of qi and as the body’s nutritive fluids, but in women it served as the female reproductive seed and as nourishment for the developing foetus and the newborn. As the influential seventh-century physician Chao Yuanfang 巢元方 explained, the menstrual flow was the surplus blood of the channels which ‘ascends as breast milk and descends as menses’.40 In his Treatise on the Origins and Manifestations of the Myriad Diseases (Zhubing yuanhou lun 諸病源候論, 610), Chao Yuanfang discussed almost 130 pathological conditions of pregnancy and post-partum as well as more than 142 ‘miscellaneous diseases of women’ ranging from vaginal discharges to febrile disorders. A few decades later, Sun Simiao’s 孫思邈 Essential Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Gold Pieces for Managing Urgent Situations (Beiji qianjin yaofang 備急千金要方, 651), provided the earliest explicit statement of why one needed a separate category of remedies for women: because ‘they differ in experiencing pregnancy, childbirth, and injury from [blood] collapse’. After menarche, women became especially vulnerable to pathological disturbances of yin qi, and they were fundamentally also prone to intense and uncontrolled emotions. Thus, Sun explained, women’s diseases were more numerous, more deeply rooted, and much more difficult to cure, and required their own prescriptions.41

When Chao Yuanfang and Sun Simiao wrote about menstrual ailments, they treated them as ‘miscellaneous’ ailments not specifically associated with pregnancy or childbirth and grouped them together with ‘girdle discharges’ (dai xia 帶下), a general term for pathological gynaecological flows.42 During the Song dynasty, however, ‘regulating menses’ (Ch. tiao jing 調經) became an independent category of gynaecological medicine. Doctors seeking to understand the particular medical needs of women pointed out that ‘men take qi as the main principle, while women take blood as the main principle’ (Ch. nan yi qi wei zhu, nü yi xue wei zhu 男以氣為主, 女以血為主). All bodies were animated by yin and yang, and qi and blood. However, the nosological and therapeutic significance of these phenomena differed according to sex.43 Men were yang and had affinity for qi, also yang, while women as yin had an affinity for blood, which was yin.

In Song medicine, this focus on female blood was also accompanied by intensified medical attention to menses. Not only did the state of a woman’s menses reveal the state of her overall health, but pathologies of the menstrual flow could themselves engender other diseases. These perspectives are exemplified by Chen Ziming’s Good Prescriptions, which presented eight categories of issues that the doctor had to manage to preserve women’s health. The very first category was ‘regulating menses’ and Chen explained that ‘when providing medical treatment to women, the first necessity is to regulate the menses, therefore we begin with this’.44 Chen’s second category addressed the ‘multitudinous ailments’ (Ch. zhong ji 眾疾) that would arise if menses were not regulated. The third was ‘seeking descendants’ (Ch. qiu si 求嗣), because ‘the multitudinous ailments having been eliminated, it is necessary to know about seeking descendants’. Only after managing menstruation, in other words, could one talk about pregnancy. Chen’s remaining five categories then discussed topics related to pregnancy, childbirth, and post-partum. In sum, Chen presented healthy menstruation as the foundation for female well-being and depicted menstrual disorders as an integral category of gynaecological disease.

Detaching Menstruation from ‘Women’

During the Ming, prominent Chinese doctors revised Chen Ziming’s approach to female blood in important ways. As Furth has shown, they eliminated or recategorised many of Chen’s non-gestation-related ‘multitudinous ailments’ and reduced the nosological scope of ‘female diseases’ to those most directly related to childbearing. However, as the number of blood-related diseases shrank, ‘menstruation assumed proportionally greater significance’.45 Doctors continued to view menstrual illness as a central concern of gynaecology and to follow Chen Ziming’s ‘menses first’ model. This was also the case with those of Hŏ Chun’s source texts that were produced after Chen Ziming’s work. For example, Li Chan began his ‘division of women’s medicine’ (Ch. furen men 婦人門) with a long discussion of ‘menstrual manifestations’ (Ch. jing hou 經候), namely the physiology and pathologies of menses.46 Here too, Li pointed out that, ‘Women take blood as the main principle’ (Ch. furen yi xue wei zhu 婦人以血為主). His discussion of menstrual ailments was then followed by two additional sections on other kinds of irregular flows and stagnations of blood related to menstrual irregularity. Only after these discussions of wayward female blood did Li turn to the issue of pregnancy and its complications.

Hŏ Chun’s own chapter on women’s diseases also included quotations that described menstrual regulation as the key to promoting female fertility. However, when viewed as a whole—and especially when compared to its Chinese source texts—it manifests a striking lack of attention to menstruation as a medical topic in its own right. It did not discuss the physiology of menstruation, for example, nor attempt to present a systematic nosology of menstrual disorders. Instead, its references to menstruation are subordinate parts of larger discussions of conception and pregnancy. Furthermore, there is a distinct textual and conceptual distance between these quotations and Chinese writings on ‘regulating menses’. An illustrative example is the very first entry in Hŏ’s section on women, titled ‘Seeking Descendants’:

The way of producing humankind starts with the seeking of children. Of the methods for seeking children, none is more important than the regulation of menses. Every time one sees a childless woman, it is inevitably the case that her menses are either early or tardy, excessive or scanty, painful prior to the flow or painful after the flow, purple or black, or dilute or congealed, and thereby irregular. If they are irregular, then blood and qi will perversely contend with each other, and she will not be able to conceive.47

This passage is an almost verbatim citation of the beginning of Lou Ying’s discussion of pregnancy.48 In Lou Ying’s original text, this passage is preceded by dozens of pages on the problem of menstrual irregularity and noxious flows. However, Hŏ Chun did not cite Lou’s writings on menses, preferring instead to draw this quotation about menstruation from Lou’s section on pregnancy. This bespeaks a kind of nosological segregation, such that references to menstruation in Hŏ Chun’s chapters on women are textually divorced from actual Chinese writings on menses as a special female medical problem.

This textual distance also appears in the way that Hŏ quotes Li Chan’s writings on conception. The passage from Precious Mirror below opens with a mention of menses. However, the sentences in this passage do not come from Li’s extensive writings on female menses. Instead, they are plucked from different sections of Li Chan’s own discussion of ‘seeking descendants’, a discussion which appeared under the rubric of ‘miscellaneous illnesses’ and that was separate from Li’s chapters on women:

The way of seeking descendants is that women’s menses must be regulated, and men’s psyche must be sufficient. Also: the supreme principle is to minimise desires and clear the heart. If desires are few, then one will not recklessly couple. Accumulate qi and store up essence, and await the [proper] time to move them. Because of this, one can have children. The reason is that when desires are minimised then the psyche will be complete. Not only will there be many children, but they will be long-lived.49

Although this passage begins with a mention of menses, it quickly shifts focus to another issue—excessive or unregulated sexual desire—that Ming Chinese writers saw as a problem of men. During this era, diverse Chinese writings on medicine, reproduction, and ‘nourishing life’ all shared the view that the depletion of seminal essence through unrestrained lust would endanger men’s health and impair their ability to father sons.50 Hŏ Chun’s discussion of ‘seeking descendants’ shared such concerns and devoted a great deal of attention to male inadequacies and their effect on conception. Mentions of menstruation in Hŏ’s chapter on women thus appeared as part of a larger discourse on fertility, disassociated from the gendered Chinese discourse on female blood.

Menstruation and the Androgynous Womb

The Chinese character for po 胞 (’womb’) was composed of the graph for ‘flesh” joined to the graph for ‘wrap’, and in Chinese medical literature it was regularly used to refer to the organ that held the developing foetus during gestation.51 Some scholars have translated po as ‘uterus’, the biomedical term for the female reproductive organ.52 However, I prefer the translation ‘womb’ because it allows a broader range of literal and figurative meanings. This is important because Hŏ Chun deliberately portrayed the po as something that was universal, and not specific to women. Hŏ establishes this lack of gender specificity at the very beginning of his discussion with two entries titled ‘The Form of the Womb’ and ‘The Position of the Womb’. His depictions owed much to two overlapping currents of thought and practice: Chinese medical writings that sought to understand the well-spring of life and vitality within the human body; and Daoist writings on internal alchemy (Ch. neidan 內丹) that taught male adepts how to achieve transcendence by nurturing gods or immortal embryos within their bodies. In other words, Hŏ’s construction of a de-gendered, yet menstruating, womb owed much to cultivation practices that focused on the male body’s generative powers.

The ‘Form’ of the Womb

Although Hŏ spoke of the ‘form’ (K. hyŏngsang 形象) of the womb, he made no mention of its physical shape. This is noteworthy because Hŏ had certainly read Chinese medical descriptions of the female childbearing organ. Hŏ’s section on women notably cites two famous descriptions from Zhu Zhenheng, one which said that the ‘child palace’ (Ch. zigong, K. chagong 子宮) resembled ‘a conjoined bowl with two branches’, and another which averred that the sex of the foetus corresponded to which branch of the child palace it occupied, with male foetuses lodging in the left (yang) branch and girls in the right (yin).53 Such writings, however, did not figure in Hŏ’s discussion of the womb, which he portrayed as a locus of generative power that existed in all bodies.

Hŏ Chun began his discussion of the womb’s form with a quotation from the Jin dynasty master Li Gao 李杲 (1180–1251, style name Dongyuan 東垣) that described the womb as a master centre of primordial vitalities:

As to the womb, one name for it is the red palace, another name is the cinnabar field, and another is the gate of life. In men, it stores essence and manages transformation, and in women it binds the womb so that there is pregnancy. In all cases it is the source of generation and transformation. It is not part of the five phases, and is neither water nor fire. It is another name for Heaven and Earth, and it resembles the soil of the feminine principle (K. kont’o 坤土) generating the myriad things.54

Here the womb is described as the place where the cosmic forces of generation unfurled in the human body. When Li Gao said that the womb was synonymous with ‘Heaven and Earth’ and stood outside the five phases, he also portrayed it as something that pre-existed the formation of the body itself. The structure of this passage also provides clues to the textual and intellectual process by which this formulation arose in China. Note that Li Gao essentially says, ‘the womb … binds the womb’ in women.55 Both occurrences of the word ‘womb’ are represented by the same Chinese character bao 胞 and readers may wonder whether Li Gao was being tautological. But this phrasing makes sense when we realise that Li Gao’s description synthesised different descriptions of a centre of generative vitality in the body and placed them under the umbrella term ‘womb’.

One set of descriptions concerned the ‘cinnabar field’ (Ch. dantian 丹田), located in the lower abdomen below and underneath the navel. This was a key spot where practitioners of Daoist inner alchemy would concentrate and refine their qi, creating and nurturing an immortal embryo in order to attain transcendence.56 Daoist texts also described the cinnabar field as governing sexual reproduction, with the Central Scripture of Laozi (Laozi zhongjing 老子中經) explaining that ‘in men it stores [seminal] essence, in women it stores the monthly waters, and it is in charge of the birth of children’. In medical works, however, these specific functions were routinely assigned to the so-called ‘gate of life’ (Ch. mingmen 命門), a bodily component whose location and form were much debated. One standard explanation, recorded in the Classic of Difficult Issues (Nanjing 難經, first century), said that it corresponded to the right kidney:

The two kidneys are not both kidneys. The one on the left serves as the kidney, and the one on the right is the gate of life. The gate of life is the place where the spirit-essence lodges, and where original qi is bound. Therefore men use it to store essence and women use it to bind the womb.57

These similarities in the standard descriptions of the ‘cinnabar field’ and ‘gate of life’ allowed doctors like Li Gao to conclude that they were using different names for the same thing. Li Gao made ‘womb’ the default term, and ‘cinnabar field’ and ‘gate of life’ into alternate names for the ‘womb’.58 Thus, when he said that ‘the womb … binds the womb’ he meant that there was a universal centre of reproductive potentiality that governed the childbearing organ in women.

While Li Gao does not explain why he picked ‘womb’ as the master term, it appears that he was trying to understand the relationship between foetal gestation and paediatric illness. Li Gao’s original description of the womb formed part of a larger discussion about the causes of ban zhen 癍疹, a category of dangerous paediatric diseases characterised by the eruption of ‘spots’ (Ch. ban) and ‘bumps’ (Ch. zhen) on the skin.59 During gestation, the foetus would eat and drink the ‘mother’s blood’ (Ch. mu xue 母血). At the time of birth, some of this blood—now a ‘noxious’ waste product—would still be in the baby’s mouth, and it would be inhaled back into the body when the newborn gave its first cry, lodging in the child’s own gate of life. If the child subsequently contracted a severe enough internal disharmony, this noxious blood would erupt and produce skin rashes and bumps.

Li Gao’s explanation echoed the teachings about ‘foetal poison’ (Ch. taidu 胎毒) that became particularly salient in Chinese writings on smallpox.60 These aetiological concerns also intersected with doctors’ intensifying efforts to understand the gate of life and its role in the body.61 Some medical thinkers adapted views similar to Li Gao, conflating the gate of life with the cinnabar field and the female womb. These notably included Yu Tuan, one of Hŏ Chun’s favoured authors, who argued that the gate of life corresponded to the ‘child palace’ (Ch. zigong 子宮), namely the female childbearing organ.62 The persistent appeal of this model is also reflected in the work of the physician and famous medical commentator Zhang Jiebin 張介賓 (1563–1640). In addition to a long essay arguing that the gate of life corresponded to the ‘child palace’ in women, Zhang added a visual depiction of this ‘child palace/gate of life’ (Ch. zigong mingmen 子宮命門) to his own illustration of the body’s ‘inner landscape’. While it echoed the female uterus in position and shape, Zhang intended it to be a universal organ.63

Hŏ’s account of the womb’s form thus elevated an idea that had become increasingly salient in fifteenth- and sixteenth- century Chinese medicine: that the childbearing organ in women was a variant of a universal centre of generative energy that also existed in men. In addition to citing Li Gao, Hŏ emphasised the universality of the womb with a subtly modified quotation from the Inner Canon’s discussion of ‘unusual palace organs’ (Ch. qi heng zhi fu 奇恒之腑). These were body parts that did not fit into the main schema of yin and yang organs and viscera, and they included the so-called ‘female womb’ (Ch. nüzi bao 女子胞). Chinese commentaries on the Inner Canon took ‘female womb’ to be a reference to the place where a foetus grew. But when Hŏ Chun quoted this passage, he omitted the modifier ‘female’ (nüzi 女子), and quoted the classic thusly: ‘The Inner Canon says that the womb stores up yin and resembles earth, and it calls it an “unusual palace organ”’ [emphasis added].64 Thus, Hŏ transformed the Inner Canon’s description of a specifically female organ into a description of a non-gendered organ.

The ‘Position’ of the Womb

At the beginning of his description of the womb’s position, Hŏ Chun did mention the female childbearing organ: ‘The place where the foetus resides in women is called the “child palace” It is also called “gate of the womb”’. Later in this section, he also mentioned that if the child palace were cold, the woman would fail to conceive. At the same time, however, Hŏ’s account of the womb’s position is dominated by a description that depicts the ‘womb’ as a generative centre whose dimensions, location, and colour directly reflect the patterns of the cosmos:

As for the womb, one name for it is cinnabar field, one name is the pass origin (acupoint name). It is three cun beneath the navel, square and round [in dimension] to four cun. It is in contact with the back and is the redness in the very centre of the space between the two kidneys. The left side is blue-green, the right side is white, the upper part is yellow, and the lower part is black. The three cun accord with the three brightnesses [i.e., sun, moon, and stars], the four cun accord with the four seasons, and the five colours accord with the five phases. The space between the two kidneys is called the great sea, and it stores up the person’s blood and qi. It is also called the great central extreme. This refers to its being at the centremost place in a person’s body when measured from above to below and in all four directions.65

Hŏ attributed this description to Wang Zhizhong’s 王執中 Classic of Supporting Life with Needling and Moxibustion (Zhenjiu zisheng jing 針灸資生經, earliest known printing 1220). However, as with the Inner Classic quotation above, Hŏ altered Wang’s original in a subtle yet significant way. Wang’s original was actually an account of the ‘cinnabar field’, not the womb, and it originated in the ancient Daoist classic, The Central Scripture of Laozi. Wang Zhizhong had cited the Central Scripture’s description in an essay where he argued that the acupoint called the ‘pass origin’ (Ch. guanyuan 關元) was in fact the same thing as the cinnabar field.66 But when Hŏ Chun cited Wang Zhizong’s passage, he made ‘womb’ into the master term, and pass origin and cinnabar field into its alternative names.

The Womb as ‘Blood Chamber’

Having established the womb as a universal locus of generative vitality, Hŏ now defined women’s menses as a product of this universal womb. He did so in an entry titled ‘the womb is the blood chamber’, which depicted the womb as a reservoir of blood in both men and women. The crucial conceptual link in Hŏ’s formulation was the intimate relationship between the womb and the so-called ‘thoroughfare vessel’ (K. ch’ungmaek, Ch. chongmai 衝脈) which functioned as a ‘sea’ or ‘chamber’ of blood in all people, even as it played a special role in female fertility.

Hŏ began with two canonical descriptions of the thoroughfare vessel’s place and role in the body. The first came from the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon: Numinous Pivot (Huangdi neijing lingshu 黃帝內經: 靈樞) which said that ‘the thoroughfare vessel and the controller vessel arise in the centre of the womb, ascending along the interior of the abdomen to serve as the sea of all the conduits’. Hŏ’s readers would have known that these vessels were two of the so-called ‘eight singular vessels’ (Ch. qijing bamai, K. kigyŏng p’almaek 奇經八脈) that existed in all bodies. Since they arose from the ‘womb’, this meant that men and women alike had to have a ‘womb’. Next, Hŏ quoted from the Basic Questions’ description of menarche and female sexual maturation: ‘At two times seven, the “heavenly gui” [primordial generative vitality] arrives, the controller vessel is open, the great thoroughfare vessel flourishes, and the monthly affair descends according to the time. Therefore she is able to have children’.67 Since the Basic Questions’ corresponding description of male sexual maturity did not mention thoroughfare and controller vessels, it implied that they played a special role in women. But the accompanying commentary by Wang Bing 王冰 (fl. 762) allowed these gendered aspects to be subordinated to a universal body.68 Wang explained that ‘the thoroughfare vessel is the sea of blood’, meaning that it was the place into which the blood from all the ‘channels’ (Ch. jing 經) of the body would flow. Women’s ability to bear children arose from the interaction of this sea of blood with the controller channel ‘which masters the foetal wrapper’. Furthermore, Wang pointed out that in healthy women, this channel blood would overflow every 30 days. For this reason, it was referred to as the ‘monthly matter’.

Wang’s commentary thus allowed menses to be understood as a form of universal channel blood that simply overflowed once a month. Hŏ reinforced this point with additional quotations, attributed to Lou Ying, which affirmed that the thoroughfare vessel also was the same thing as the ‘blood chamber’ (Ch. xueshi, K. hyŏlshil 血室). Chinese texts often used the term ‘blood chamber’ to refer to a generative space in women’s bodies, loosely understood to correspond to the womb. ‘Heat entering the blood chamber’ (Ch. re ru xueshi 熱入血室) for example, was a specific disease afflicting women.69 However, Hŏ described the blood chamber as a place into which channel blood flowed and gathered in all bodies—the same function as the sea of blood/thoroughfare vessel. The difference between the thoroughfare vessel in male and female bodies lay simply in whether it moved blood or stored it up:

The thoroughfare vessel is the sea of blood [where] all the channels gather together. In men, it transports and circulates it [blood], and in women, it retains and halts it. In men, because it transports and circulates, there is no accumulation and no filling. In women, because it halts and stops, it accumulates and can fill up. When it is filled, then it will overflow when the time comes.

In short, Hŏ foregrounded the idea that menses was a form of universal channel blood that simply had a different flow pattern depending on sex. This allowed Hŏ to affirm the universality of the womb, detach menses from the category of ‘women’, and create an aetiological basis for classifying women’s menstrual ailments as a disease of the womb.

Hŏ Chun then devoted the remainder of his womb section to the illnesses of this channel blood in women. Here we find the Precious Mirror’s analogue to Chinese writings on ‘regulating menses’. Hŏ described numerous disorders of female flow, including perturbations in periodicity, quantity, or colour and consistency of menstrual flow; menses that were blocked, congealed, or dried up; gushing and dripping blood; and noxious vaginal discharges. In contrast to Hŏ Chun’s section on ‘women’, which mentions menses only as it pertains to infertility, the section on the ‘womb’ treats pathological menses as a medical problem in its own right. Notably, it suggests that some menstrual ailments are potentially fatal. For example, Hŏ Chun includes a long discussion on the pulse signs associated with irregular menses, and he explains how to use pulse readings to determine if a woman with abnormal menses or other vaginal discharges will live or die.70

But although Hŏ’s enumeration of menstrual illnesses was similar to those of his Chinese contemporaries, his depiction of menses was conceptually divorced from Chinese constructions that treated female reproductive blood as a site of gender difference. Chinese doctors agreed that blood was the ruling aspect in women and they saw menstrual ailments as quintessential ‘women’s diseases’. However, Hŏ’s section on ‘women’ focused only on problems directly related to pregnancy and childbirth, and his section on menses did not refer to the rulership of blood. The cosmological models that Chinese texts used to explain the distinct features of female illness apparently held little interest for him.

The Womb and Nourishing Life

What inspired Hŏ Chun to construct an androgynous yet menstruating womb? After all, Hŏ’s chapter on ‘women’ did discuss the link between menstrual regularity and female fertility and it would have been entirely natural to place his discussion of menses there. Part of the explanation clearly lies with what I would call Hŏ’s ‘structuralist’ approach to nosology. As Shin Dongwon has discussed at length, Hŏ started by identifying all the components and structures of the body, then assigned as many illnesses as possible to one of these parts.71 Only those illnesses that defied direct association with a body part were assigned to the ‘miscellaneous’ category. Drawing on precedents that allowed the ‘womb’ to be conflated with the thoroughfare vessel and blood chamber, Hŏ defined the womb as a universal organ whose functions included serving as a reservoir of generative blood. On this basis, he was able to classify menses as a phenomenon of that organ. By contrast, the multifaceted dynamics associated with conception, pregnancy, birth, and post-partum resisted easy association with an individual body part, and these were categorised as ‘miscellaneous’ diseases affecting a specific patient population (i.e., childbearing women).

But the structuralist explanation does not fully answer the question of why Hŏ elevated the status of the womb, an organ to which the Chinese medical classics paid little attention. I would argue that we must also consider Hŏ’s desire to create a system of medicine rooted in the principles of ‘nourishing life’. This led him to include things that were important in self-cultivation practices, even if they were relatively unimportant in therapeutic medicine. To show how this logic permeated Hŏ’s text as a whole, I will discuss two additional issues that are analogous to Hŏ’s portrayal of the womb and menses: his inclusion of ‘worms’ (K. chung 蟲) in the internal body, and his categorisation of post-partum, lactation-related disorders as diseases of an external body part—the breast—rather than as diseases of women.

Worms in the Inner Landscape of Self-cultivation

As other scholars have amply documented, Hŏ Chun’s opening chapters on the inner landscape foregrounded the principles of ‘nourishing life’ (Ch. yangsheng, K. yangsaeng 養生), an umbrella term for a wide range of mental, physical, and behavioural practices intended to promote well-being, longevity, and even achieve immortality. Although these practices were not unique to Daoism, texts on cultivating life were an important component of the Daoist canon.72 The very term ‘inner landscape’ originated in Daoist texts—Hŏ Chun attributed it to the Scripture of the Yellow Court (Huang ting jing 黃庭經)—where it referred to the internal realm of the body that adepts needed to envision in order to circulate and concentrate bodily vitalities.73 Thus, while one can certainly characterise the ‘inner landscape’ chapters as a discussion of internal physiology, it was a markedly Daoist form of physiology, one that was shaped by the quest for transcendence and that aimed to optimise bodily health, not simply cure illness.74

This focus on nourishing life is also reflected in the kinds of body parts that Hŏ Chun included in his internal landscape. For example, his section on the general ‘form of the body’ (K. shin heong 身形), where he explained how to ‘nurture one’s nature’ (K. yang seong 養性), included Daoist bodily elements such as the three ‘cinnabar fields’ (Ch. dantian, K. dan jeon 丹田) and the ‘three passes’ (Ch. sanguan, K. sam guan 三關) of the back. This clear desire to map out a Daoist body is also an obvious explanation for why Hŏ included an entry on ‘worms’ right after his entries on the internal viscera and the womb. The main focus of the section on worms is how to diagnose and treat ailments caused by parasites, and particularly how to expel the different worms that could be generated spontaneously within the body, ingested via food, or transmitted from a corpse. Shin Dongwon has noted that Hŏ’s ‘inner landscape’ chapters were broadly concerned with things that are products of physiological function or that have some other intimate connection to the bodily viscera and bowels. The discussion of worms is thus analogous to the section on urine and faeces, as all three are aspects of the body related to the internal organs.75 However, one must also note that Hŏ introduced the topic of worms with ideas drawn from self-cultivation. Specifically, Hŏ opened his section on worms by discussing the so-called ‘three corpses’ (K. sam shi 三尸) and ‘nine worms’ (K. ku chung 九蟲), which Daoist texts described as malevolent spirits that inhabited the body and caused a wide range of illness and injury.76 Although belief in these worms was by no means unique to Daoism, Daoist texts provide particularly rich discussions of them. In fact, Hŏ Chun’s description of the three corpse worms cites the Daoist text Scripture of the Central Yellow (Zhonghuang jing 中黃經).77 This and other works detailed the techniques used to rid the body of these worms: fasting and abstaining from grains, meditation and visualisation, breathing techniques, and drugs. The Scripture of the Central Yellow also warned that the three corpses would try to derail the adept’s practice by disrupting his mental equanimity and tempting him to succumb to food cravings and other desires. In short, a specific aim of self-cultivation practices was to overcome the body’s worms. Assuming that Hŏ wanted to create a comprehensive body of ‘nourishing life’, it was logical to also include a discussion of worms. Hŏ Chun’s attention to worms thus resembles his attention to the womb: in both cases, he took an aspect of the body that was important in self-cultivation practices and turned it into a standard part of the internal body.

De-gendering the Lactating Breast

Hŏ Chun detached menses from the category of women’s diseases and assigned them to a universal yet menstruating womb. A similar dynamic appears in his categorisation of post-partum breast disorders, which he categorised as ailments of a universal breast. Again, this was a departure from the Chinese model, which discussed post-partum breast ailments together with other post-partum conditions, all categorised under diseases of women. These breast ailments included scanty or blocked breast milk; hot and painful swellings; breast lumps and abscesses; breast drooping; and cracked nipples. Since Chinese doctors defined breast milk and menses as two forms of a single female blood, this classification system made doctrinal as well as practical sense. To be sure, Chinese texts also discussed lumps and growths in the breast (both male and female) under the rubric of ‘external ailments’ of skin and flesh. However, post-partum breast ailments associated with lactation were primarily defined as disorders of a given patient population (childbearing women), and only secondarily as diseases of a body part (the breast).78

Hŏ Chun reversed this Chinese schema, defining post-partum breast disease as primarily an ailment of the breast, and only secondarily as a problem of childbearing women. The discussion of post-partum ailments that appears in Hŏ’s chapter on women briefly described impaired lactation and provided a handful of remedies for bringing down breast milk. However, Hŏ Chun directed his readers to ‘consult the section on the breast’ to understand how to employ these methods of bringing down breast milk.79 And it was indeed the breast section that presented a systematic discussion of post-partum breast problems and their treatment, including a fuller description of how and why breast milk became blocked, the aetiology of breast lumps and cracked nipples arising from nursing, and instructions for drying up the flow of milk if there was no baby to nurse (for example, in the case of a stillbirth).80 In fact, the first five types of illness listed in the breast section were all directly related to post-partum nursing.

As he did with the womb, Hŏ Chun presented the breast as a universal body part that behaved a certain way in women. His opening description consisted of a terse quotation from the Numinous Pivot, stating that ‘the space between the breasts [nipples] is nine-and-a-half cun in width’.81 This came from an essay titled ‘Bone Measurements’ (Ch. gu du 骨度), which enumerated the proportions of a standard body, providing doctors with a set of reference measurements that they could use to locate acupoints on bodies of varying heights and girths. By starting this way, Hŏ Chun emphasised the fact that the breasts were important anatomical landmarks found on all bodies. But the breast (unlike the womb) was readily observable, and the morphological differences between male and female breasts required explanation. Hŏ addressed this question in the next entry, titled ‘Men and women take the kidney-testes and breasts as their root and origin’.82 Here again, he drew on descriptions of the body’s centres of vitality to subordinate sex-linked differences to a universal body.

First, Hŏ affirmed that the female breasts and the male testicles served identical functions, namely to be a repository of life-force: ‘In men, the kidney-testes are the most important thing, and in women the breasts are the most important thing. They differ in being above and below, but they are identical in serving as the root of life’.83 These beliefs arose from Daoist inner alchemy practice and had been circulating since about the late twelfth century.84 While men and women could both achieve transcendence by refining bodily qi, the alchemical process differed according to sex, involving different bodily substances, pathways, and loci. In brief, men concentrated their seminal essence (the yang manifestation of bodily qi), while women concentrated their blood (the yin manifestation of bodily qi). Female blood could take the form of menses, but also transformed into breast milk, and the central goal of what became known as ‘female alchemy’ (Ch. nü dan 女丹) was to retain and refine these essences within the woman’s body. As Elena Valussi has detailed, the ‘physiology of transcendence for women’ identified the breasts as the source of female qi, and the first step was to stimulate and concentrate the qi in the breasts.85 The final signs of female transcendence would include the total cessation of menses and the shrinking of the breasts.

The fact that the primordial life force resided in women’s upper bodies but in men’s lower bodies also explained why women had protuberant breasts while men did not, and why men had ‘dangling’ genitals while women did not. Although all bodies were animated by the interplay of cosmic yin and yang, the patterns of flow would differ according to whether someone was a woman (yin) or a man (yang). Citing Li Chan’s Introduction to Medicine, Hŏ Chun explained:

Women belong to yin. When yin reaches its extreme, then it must rush upwards from below. Therefore their breasts are large, and their genital gate is shrunken. Men belong to yang. When yang reaches its extreme, then it must sink downwards from above. Therefore they have a dangling genital stalk, and their nipples are shrunken.86

In sum, Hŏ Chun defined the female breast as but one potential physical expression of the generative energy that animated all bodies. This then allowed the baby-feeding functions of the female breast to be subordinated to a universalised breast. In separating the lactating breast and menstruation from the rubric of women’s diseases, Hŏ Chun eschewed the gendered frameworks of his Chinese sources, which had defined women’s diseases as rooted in female reproductive blood. In Hŏ’s formulation, the diseases that were unique to women were those directly related to the birth of a human baby, a phenomenon that could not be de-gendered with the available female-male homologies.

Conclusion: Cross-cultural Perspectives on Menses, Gender, and Body

In the Precious Mirror, Hŏ Chun created a universal body of cultivation that was maximally capacious, one that could include the womb and worms, menses and breast milk. His references to menstruation and menstrual disorders all describe them as things happening to women, without anything that could be understood as a male form of menstruation. However, instead of categorising menstrual disorders as diseases of women, Hŏ configured them as the afflictions of a non-gendered body part, the womb. From a cross-cultural perspective, this de-sexing of the menstruating womb is the most distinctive aspect of Hŏ Chun’s construction of bodily gender, contrasting sharply with the gendered constructions of menses and of the womb found in other literate medical traditions. For example, Hippocratic medicine explained that menstruation arose from the special properties of female flesh, which was ‘wet, soft, and spongy’ and thus absorbed more moisture that needed to be eliminated.87 Joan Cadden has also shown that there was great diversity in the ways that the Hippocratic corpus and the writings of Aristotle, Soranus, and Galen understood sex difference, menstruation, and female health.88 Yet all of these authors viewed the uterus as a female organ. Even Soranus, who downplayed the importance of menstrual regularity for female health, described menstruation as the product of the female organ of generation.89 As for medieval Islamicate medicine, Ahmed Ragab argues that there were multiple ‘sexscapes’, and thus statements about male-female genital homology cannot be taken as evidence for a Laquerian one-sex model.90 But even the renowned physician Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna, c. 980–1037), who went further than others in constructing male-female homologies, defined the uterus as a female reproductive organ, and placed his discussion of menstruation in his discussion ‘On the conditions of the reproductive organs in females’.91

Literate Chinese medicine did not identify a specific anatomical substrate for menstruation, but the cosmological affinities between women, yin, and blood supported a medical tradition in which regulating menses was a key component of medicine for women. Hŏ Chun was well aware of Chinese gynaecological discourse, yet he used his broad reading of Sinitic medical literature to construct his own approach to gender difference and women’s diseases. Hŏ Chun’s Precious Mirror thus enriches on-going attempts to understand how East Asian medical inflections of gender resemble or differ from each other as well as from perspectives from other traditions. Furth has showed that in Chinese medicine, yin-yang cosmological thinking simultaneously permitted androgynous and sex-differentiated readings of the body.92 I have also argued that the significance of gender difference in Chinese therapeutics is highly context-specific and suggested that we can think of the Chinese medical body as an infinitive verb, to be ‘conjugated into male and female, young and old, robust and delicate, Southern and Northern, depending on circumstance’.93 Hŏ Chun’s womb, likewise, can be thought of an infinitive womb, with menstruation one of its inflections. The Precious Mirror also invites us to think more closely about the fluid boundaries between what Furth has described as the body of ‘generation’ and the body of ‘gestation’. The first focused on the forces of life that allowed human bodies to grow, mature, thrive, and be healthy, while the second focused on the conception and birth of children. Hŏ Chun essentially removed menses from the realm of gestation (explaining women’s childbearing functions) to that of generation (explaining the universal origins of human life and growth). The best way to cure menstrual ailments, in other words, was to focus on the factors that nourished or impaired life, rather than on those that affected just female bodies.

More broadly, Hŏ Chun’s configuration of female diseases is a useful addition to post-Laqueurian explorations of how gender may be inscribed on the body. Laqueur’s ‘one-sex model’ assumed that the male body was viewed as the standard body, and the female as a variant. However, Gianna Pomata argues that the European discourse of male menstruation actually portrayed female bodies as the model, and male bodies as the variants.94 One finds an analogous dynamic in Hŏ Chun’s portrayal of the womb, where the female childbearing organ was used as a metaphorical model to describe a centre of generative vitality in men. Simultaneously, however, models of male generativity were read back on to the female body, allowing the female womb to be de-gendered in favour of a universal womb. The case of Hŏ Chun thus underscores the need to look beyond the generative organs in constructions of gender, not least because even the supposedly female nature of the womb cannot be taken for granted.

Finally, because this paper has tried to explain the way in which Hŏ Chun adapted and modified Chinese ideas, it has asked why he did not categorise menstrual ailments as a disease of females. But one might equally well ask why certain societies gendered menses as a gynaecological issue in the first place. For example, what social and intellectual factors allowed the menses-centred model to become so dominant in China? The question is especially pertinent in light of Lee Jender’s analysis of how the Japanese doctor Tamba Yasuyori 丹波康賴 modified Sui-Tang gynaecology in his famous compendium, Essential Methods of Medicine (Ishimpō, 醫心方, 982).95 The Essential Methods cites over 200 Chinese medical works, including important seventh-century texts by Chao Yuanfang and Sun Simiao, who both identified menstrual disease as a key cause of female illness. Among other things, they worried about the problem of cold wind invading the womb, causing menstrual ailments that could trigger other maladies. But Lee finds that the Japanese text Essential Methods did not include these descriptions, and instead employed the teachings of Chao, Sun, and others to support the view that childbirth, not menstruation, was the root cause of female difference and sickliness. Tamba Yasuyori’s childbirth-focused model of female illness, in other words, seems more akin to Hŏ Chun’s approach than to Chen Ziming’s menses-first model. Viewed cross-culturally, therefore, we might note that the Chinese gynaecological preoccupation with menses was not a self-evident proposition, but rather an intellectual orientation that needed to be constructed and sustained.

To understand the broader cultural and social dynamics that nurtured these various views will require much additional research. One obvious task is to compare the gendered ideas of the Precious Mirror to depictions of gender in other Chosŏn medical works. Hŏ Chun’s work was an important achievement, but the extent to which his specific views are representative of broader trends remains to be determined. One will also need to consider the ways that Chosŏn male doctors may have embraced certain forms of knowledge in order to construct male medical authority in the realm of health care for women. Such strategies have already been documented in other contexts. As Helen King has noted, for example, in sixteenth-century Europe, ‘the Hippocratic insistence on women as entirely different from men was repeated as part of a male claim to be able to treat women’s diseases more effectively than could illiterate female healers’.96 In sixteenth-century China, the male doctor’s supposed superiority over female practitioners came from his mastery of medical cosmology, which allowed him to correctly diagnose and prevent female ailments, including difficult labour.97 In the future, it will also be valuable to consider the ways in which the Precious Mirror served to articulate a male model of epistemological authority vis-à-vis the ‘female doctors’ (K. ŭinyŏ 醫女) who played an important role in treating Chosŏn women.98 While such topics are beyond the scope of this paper, greater attention to Hŏ Chun’s perspectives on women’s diseases will help generate useful reference points for future explorations.

Acknowledgements

The research for this paper was funded by the Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities Award ‘Beyond Tradition: Ways of Knowing and Styles of Practice in East Asian Medicines, 1000 to the present’ (097918/Z/11/Z). During final revisions, I also received some assistance from the National Research Foundation of Korea (Grant Number nrf-20141342, ‘Korean Medicine from the Joseon Dynasty to Contemporary Korea: An Anthropological and Historical Investigation’.) Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the ‘First International Conference on the Donguibogam’, Sancheong, South Korea, 2013, and at the ‘East Asian Knowledge Production’ lecture series at the York University Centre for Asian Research. I wish to thank all the participants for their helpful feedback. I also thank reviewers from Asian Medicine and the Harvard Journal of Asian Studies for their valuable suggestions on earlier versions of this work. I am grateful to Marta Hanson and Taewoo Kim for their continual encouragement and support during the evolution of this article and to James Flowers for his help with Korean romanisation. Special thanks go to Hye-jin Lee for her invaluable assistance in translating Korean-language scholarship.

1 MedlinePlus 2014.
2 King 1998.
3 Pomata 2001. See also Duden 1991, pp. 115–16; Brain 1988.
4 Katz 1999; Beusterien 1999; Resnick 2000; Balizet 2005.
5 The range of scholarship and methodology in the vast literature on the cultural history and anthropology of menstruation is reflected in edited volumes such as Buckley and Gottlieb 1988, Van de Walle and Renne 2001, and Shail and Howie 2005. For menstruation in China and Taiwan, see Furth 1986 and 1999, Furth and Chen 1992, Wilms 2005, Lee J. 2008, Wu 2010, and Lin 2013; for Japan, Nakayama 2007; and for Korea, Yoo 2008, Kim 2008, and Park 2008 and 2013.
6 Important Korean language studies are Kim 2000; Shin 2001, 2015; Kim, Yoshida, Sakai, et al. 2016; Kim N. I. et al., 2016. For Chinese and English studies, see Che 2001 and Suh 2006, 2017. Hŏ’s section on drugs provides Korean drug names in hangŭl.
7 See Soyoung Suh’s analysis of Hŏ Chun’s work in the larger context of historical efforts to define a Korean medical identity. Suh 2006, 2017.
8 For the Tongui bogam and the history of East Asian medicine, see Kim, Yoshida, Sakai, et al. 2016; Kim N. I. et al., 2016. For specific information on Chinese and Japanese editions, see also Shin 2015, ch. 11 and Park 2000.
9 Laqueur 1990.
10 Laqueur 2003.
11 King 2013, p. 48.
12 Ibid.
13 Furth 1999.
14 Kim 2000, pp. 197–8.
15 Shin 2001, pp. 94–5.
16 Shin 2015, p. 242.
17 Suh 2006, p. 75, n. 57. A standard biographical reference is Shin 2001.
18 This textual history is described in Tongŭi pogam, Yi Chŏng-ku, preface dated 1611, prefatory juan (unnumbered), pp. 1a–2a.
19 Detailed analyses included Shin 2009, Shin 2015, ch. 7.
20 Shin 2015, ch. 7.
21 The Tongŭi pogam is written almost entirely in Chinese characters. When I am quoting it, I will romanise technical terms according to the Korean pronunciation, but when I quote Chinese concepts or Hŏ Chun’s Chinese source texts directly, I will romanise terms according to the Mandarin Chinese pronunciation.
22 It is unclear whether Hŏ consulted the original text, or whether he used an edition of Chen Ziming’s work that the Fujianese scholar and medical author Xiong Zongli 熊宗立 produced during the Ming Zhengtong reign (1438–49). The Xiong version is the one that Hŏ names in the list of important medical works at the beginning of the Precious Mirror. Although Xiong added commentaries and remedies to Chen’s text, he otherwise presented a faithful copy of the original. See Yu 1991, p. 691.
23 For Ming dynasty revisions of Chen Ziming’s treatise, see Yu 1991, Furth 1999, and Wu 2010.
24 Wu 2010, chs. 1 and 2; Leung 2003.
25 Simonis 2010, p. 144.
26 See extant editions in Xue 2007.
27 Cha et al. 2007, p. 6. See also Hong et al., 2016.
28 For the influence of Danxi syncretism and further details on the key texts in this tradition, including those discussed here, see Simonis 2010, ch. 5 and Simonis 2015.
29 For the history of these works, see Gong Tongxian yixue quanshu, pp. 1409–13.
30 For the evidence pertaining to Yang Zijian’s background and medical writings, see Ng 2013, pp. 112–40.
31 Furth 1999.
32 Tongŭi pogam, ‘Miscellaneous Illnesses’, j.10, pp. 19a–20b. The juan in of each of the Tongŭi pogam’s five sections are separately numbered, so I will provide section titles as well as the juan and page numbers.
33 Hŏ attributes ‘lying down birth’ to Chen Ziming, but it is not in Chen’s text. One possibility is that Hŏ derived this description from the writings of Wei Yilin, who notes that women give birth in either a squatting or lying down position. Shiyi de xiaofang, j.14, p. 701. It must be noted that there are other discrepancies in the way that Hŏ Chun cites his Chinese sources in ‘Ten Manifestations of Childbirth’. In particular, while the opening remarks say that the first ten topics came from Good Prescriptions and two additional entries from Gong Tingxian’s Cures for the Myriad Diseases, the main discussion attributes specific entries to Yu Tuan’s Correct Transmission and Li Chan’s Introduction to Medicine. An obvious explanation is that these are editorial errors arising during the long process of compiling the Precious Mirror. Bibliographic errors notwithstanding, ‘Ten Manifestations’ is clearly meant to be understood as Hŏ Chun’s rendering of the Yang Zijian essay.
34 Wu 2010, ch. 5.
35 For Yu’s discussion of pushing too early, see Xin bian yixue zheng chuan, j. 7, pp. 43b–54b. According to bibliographic catalogues, this is the earliest extant complete edition of Yu Tuan’s work. See, for example, the relevant entries in Zhongguo yiji dacidian bianji weiyuan hui 2002 and Xue 2007.
36 Taesan yorok, j. 1: pp. 46–50. For details on No and this text, see Lee M. H. 2008.
37 Nüke jinglun, j. 5, pp.7–8.
38 See especially, Furth 1999; Wilms 2007; Lee J. 2008; Wu 2010.
39 Tessenow and Unschuld 2008, p. 620.
40 Zhubing yuanhou lun, j. 37, pp. 7b–11b.
41 Historical analyses of this passage include Wilms 2005, Furth 1999, Wu 2010.
42 Wilms 2005.
43 Furth 1999, esp. ch. 2.
44 In the Furen daquan liangfang, these descriptions appear in the ‘outline’ (gangmu 綱目) at the beginning of the text as well as at the beginning of each topical section in the main body of the text.
45 Furth 1999, p. 169.
46 Yixue rumen, pp. 406–9.
47 Tongŭi pogam, ‘Miscellaneous Illnesses’, j. 10, p. 1a.
48 For the passage in Lou Ying, see Yixue gangmu, j. 35, pp. 1a–b. Although Hŏ Chun attributes this quotation to Danxi’s Essential Methods, I have not been able to find an edition of the Danxi text that includes this quotation.
49 Tongŭi pogam, ‘Miscellaneous Illnesses’, j. 10. p. 1a, compare to Yixue rumen, pp. 403–4.
50 Furth 1999, ch. 6; Grant 2003. ch. 4.
51 For more information on the Chinese medical views of the womb discussed here, see Wu 2010, ch. 3.
52 See, for example, Kim, Cha, et al. 2013, part 1, pp. 480–1.
53 Tongŭi pogam, ‘Miscellaneous Illnesses’, j. 10, p. 9b (discussion of multiple births and hermaphroditism) and j. 10, p. 37b (post-partum diseases). For Zhu’s original description, see Gezhi yulun, p. 27.
54 Tongŭi pogam, ‘Inner Landscape’, j. 3, p. 37b.
55 For Li Gao’s original, see Lanshi micang, second juan (xia), p. 69b.
56 Strictly speaking, there were three cinnabar fields, but this is a reference to the lowest one, which Fabrizio Pregadio notes was the ‘dantian proper’. Pregadio 2008b, p. 302.
57 Translation adopted from Unschuld 1986b, p. 382.
58 Li Gao also lists ‘red palace’ (chi gong 赤宮) as another term for the womb. I have not yet determined the textual origins of this term, but it is most likely related to the Daoist body god known as the ‘red child’ (chizi 赤子) whom internal alchemy practices aimed to nurture. The Laozi zhongjing notably points out that the cinnabar field was the ‘official residence’ (fu 府) of the red child. For the quotation, see topic 17 in the first juan of the Taishang Laojun zhongjing collected in the Zhengtong daozang. For a discussion of the red child and the practices of inner alchemy, see Lagerwey 2004, esp. pp. 159–61 and Pregadio 2006a, pp. 210–13. I thank Michael Stanley-Baker for providing me with these and other helpful references.
59 Lanshi micang, second juan (xia), pp. 68b–70a.
60 For foetal poison, see Furth 1999, pp. 178–82 and Chang 2000.
61 For important developments in the theorisation of the gate of life, see also Leslie de Vries’s recent study of Zhao Xianke 趙獻可 (sixteenth to seventeenth century). de Vries 2012, esp. ch. 2.
62 de Vries 2012, p. 13, note 53, p. 96.
63 Discussed in Wu 2010, ch. 3.
64 Tongŭi pogam, ‘Inner Landscape’, j. 3, p. 37b. The original Chinese passage appears in Suwen 11. See Tessenow and Unschuld 2008, p. 636. For Chinese understandings of the womb as a palace organ, see Wu 2010, ch. 3.
65 Tongŭi pogam, ‘Inner Landscape’, j. 3, p. 38a.
66 Zhenjiu zisheng jing, j. 1, pp. 62a–b. For analyses of this passage, see Pregadio 2006b, pp. 139–40; Despeux 1994, p. 75.
67 The meaning of tiangui was much debated by imperial-era commentators. Unschuld, Tessenow, and Zheng 2011 leave gui untranslated, rendering tiangui as ‘Heaven gui’. I have used the reprinted text and adapted the translation from Tessenow and Unschuld 2008, p. 620, and Unschuld, Tessenow, and Zheng 2011, pp. 36–41.
68 In Hŏ’s text, the quotation from the Basic Questions and the accompanying commentary are presented together as a quotation attributed to Chen Ziming. Tongŭi pogam, ‘Inner Landscape’, j. 3, p. 38b.
69 Wu 2010, ch. 3. The blood chamber could also be invaded by cold. See, for example, Hŏ’s own discussion of these illnesses at Tongŭi pogam, ‘Inner Landscape’, j. 3, pp. 50b–51a.
70 The discussion of menstrual ailments, vaginal discharges, and related ailments appears in Tongŭi pogam, ‘Inner Landscape’, j. 3, pp. 38b–53b.
71 Shin 2001, 2009, 2015.
72 For yangsheng and Daoism, see Kohn 1989 and Englehardt 2004. Michael Stanley-Baker argues that there were historically many overlaps and continuities among practices aimed at longevity and those focused on seeking immortality and transcendence. Stanley-Baker 2006, pp. 34–40.
73 Tongŭi pogam, ‘Inner Landscape’, j. 1, p. 1a. For the background of the Huangting jing, see Robinet 2008, p. 511.
74 For a discussion of how ‘Daoist physiology’ was expressed in the Tongŭi pogam’s images, see Shin 2009, pp. 197–200.
75 Shin 2001, pp. 186–7; Shin 2015, p. 242.
76 Pregadio 2008a, vol. 1, p. 79; Cook 2008, p. 844.
77 The full name of the text was Taiqing zhonghuang zhenjing 太清中黃真經 (Perfect Scripture of the Central Yellow of the Great Purity). Although this text may date as far back as the third or fourth century, the earliest extant version dates from 1028–9. My understanding of this text and its discussion of the three corpses relies on Eskildsen 1994, ch. 2, especially pp. 109–16.
78 Wu 2011.
79 Tongŭi pogam, ‘Miscellaneous Illnesses’, j. 10, p. 36b.
80 For Hŏ Chun’s section on the breast, see Tongŭi pogam, ‘External Form’, j. 3, pp. 19a–25b.
81 Tongŭi pogam, ‘External Form’, j. 3, p. 19a.
82 The passage uses the word shen, which usually refers to the internal organ of the kidney. However, the testicles were routinely referred to as the ‘external kidneys’ (wai shen 外腎). In this passage, it appears that the two are being conflated. However, it is clear that the author also has the physical form of the testicles in mind. To convey this dual meaning, I use the translation ‘kidney-testes’.
83 Tongŭi pogam, ‘External Form’, j. 3, p. 19a.
84 According to Elena Valussi, the earliest description of the breasts as the root of female alchemical practice appears in the writing of Xue Shi 薛試 (d. 1191). Valussi 2008, p. 72.
85 Valussi 2008.
86 Tongŭi pogam, ‘External Form’, j. 3, p. 19a.
87 King 1998, pp. 39, 51.
88 Cadden 1993, ch. 1.
89 Cadden 1993, p. 28.
90 Ragab 2015.
91 Ragab 2015, pp. 445–6.
92 Furth 1999.
93 Wu 2010, p. 232.
94 Pomata 2001.
95 Lee J. 2008, ch. 9.
96 King 2013, p. xi.
97 Furth 1999; Wu 2010.
98 Hong 2010.

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  • 1

    MedlinePlus 2014.

  • 2

    King 1998.

  • 3

    Pomata 2001. See also Duden 1991, pp. 115–16; Brain 1988.

  • 9

    Laqueur 1990.

  • 10

    Laqueur 2003.

  • 11

    King 2013, p. 48.

  • 13

    Furth 1999.

  • 14

    Kim 2000, pp. 197–8.

  • 15

    Shin 2001, pp. 94–5.

  • 16

    Shin 2015, p. 242.

  • 17

    Suh 2006, p. 75, n. 57. A standard biographical reference is Shin 2001.

  • 19

    Detailed analyses included Shin 2009, Shin 2015, ch. 7.

  • 20

    Shin 2015, ch. 7.

  • 24

    Wu 2010, chs. 1 and 2; Leung 2003.

  • 25

    Simonis 2010, p. 144.

  • 26

    See extant editions in Xue 2007.

  • 27

    Cha et al. 2007, p. 6. See also Hong et al., 2016.

  • 31

    Furth 1999.

  • 34

    Wu 2010, ch. 5.

  • 39

    Tessenow and Unschuld 2008, p. 620.

  • 42

    Wilms 2005.

  • 43

    Furth 1999, esp. ch. 2.

  • 45

    Furth 1999, p. 169.

  • 50

    Furth 1999, ch. 6; Grant 2003. ch. 4.

  • 52

    See, for example, Kim, Cha, et al. 2013, part 1, pp. 480–1.

  • 57

    Translation adopted from Unschuld 1986b, p. 382.

  • 60

    For foetal poison, see Furth 1999, pp. 178–82 and Chang 2000.

  • 62

    de Vries 2012, p. 13, note 53, p. 96.

  • 63

    Discussed in Wu 2010, ch. 3.

  • 69

    Wu 2010, ch. 3. The blood chamber could also be invaded by cold. See, for example, Hŏ’s own discussion of these illnesses at Tongŭi pogam, ‘Inner Landscape’, j. 3, pp. 50b–51a.

  • 71

    Shin 2001, 2009, 2015.

  • 75

    Shin 2001, pp. 186–7; Shin 2015, p. 242.

  • 76

    Pregadio 2008a, vol. 1, p. 79; Cook 2008, p. 844.

  • 78

    Wu 2011.

  • 85

    Valussi 2008.

  • 87

    King 1998, pp. 39, 51.

  • 88

    Cadden 1993, ch. 1.

  • 89

    Cadden 1993, p. 28.

  • 90

    Ragab 2015.

  • 91

    Ragab 2015, pp. 445–6.

  • 92

    Furth 1999.

  • 93

    Wu 2010, p. 232.

  • 94

    Pomata 2001.

  • 95

    Lee J. 2008, ch. 9.

  • 96

    King 2013, p. xi.

  • 97

    Furth 1999; Wu 2010.

  • 98

    Hong 2010.

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  • 1

    MedlinePlus 2014.

  • 2

    King 1998.

  • 3

    Pomata 2001. See also Duden 1991, pp. 115–16; Brain 1988.

  • 9

    Laqueur 1990.

  • 10

    Laqueur 2003.

  • 11

    King 2013, p. 48.

  • 13

    Furth 1999.

  • 14

    Kim 2000, pp. 197–8.

  • 15

    Shin 2001, pp. 94–5.

  • 16

    Shin 2015, p. 242.

  • 17

    Suh 2006, p. 75, n. 57. A standard biographical reference is Shin 2001.

  • 19

    Detailed analyses included Shin 2009, Shin 2015, ch. 7.

  • 20

    Shin 2015, ch. 7.

  • 24

    Wu 2010, chs. 1 and 2; Leung 2003.

  • 25

    Simonis 2010, p. 144.

  • 26

    See extant editions in Xue 2007.

  • 27

    Cha et al. 2007, p. 6. See also Hong et al., 2016.

  • 31

    Furth 1999.

  • 34

    Wu 2010, ch. 5.

  • 39

    Tessenow and Unschuld 2008, p. 620.

  • 42

    Wilms 2005.

  • 43

    Furth 1999, esp. ch. 2.

  • 45

    Furth 1999, p. 169.

  • 50

    Furth 1999, ch. 6; Grant 2003. ch. 4.

  • 52

    See, for example, Kim, Cha, et al. 2013, part 1, pp. 480–1.

  • 57

    Translation adopted from Unschuld 1986b, p. 382.

  • 60

    For foetal poison, see Furth 1999, pp. 178–82 and Chang 2000.

  • 62

    de Vries 2012, p. 13, note 53, p. 96.

  • 63

    Discussed in Wu 2010, ch. 3.

  • 69

    Wu 2010, ch. 3. The blood chamber could also be invaded by cold. See, for example, Hŏ’s own discussion of these illnesses at Tongŭi pogam, ‘Inner Landscape’, j. 3, pp. 50b–51a.

  • 71

    Shin 2001, 2009, 2015.

  • 75

    Shin 2001, pp. 186–7; Shin 2015, p. 242.

  • 76

    Pregadio 2008a, vol. 1, p. 79; Cook 2008, p. 844.

  • 78

    Wu 2011.

  • 85

    Valussi 2008.

  • 87

    King 1998, pp. 39, 51.

  • 88

    Cadden 1993, ch. 1.

  • 89

    Cadden 1993, p. 28.

  • 90

    Ragab 2015.

  • 91

    Ragab 2015, pp. 445–6.

  • 92

    Furth 1999.

  • 93

    Wu 2010, p. 232.

  • 94

    Pomata 2001.

  • 95

    Lee J. 2008, ch. 9.

  • 96

    King 2013, p. xi.

  • 97

    Furth 1999; Wu 2010.

  • 98

    Hong 2010.

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