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Know Your RemediesPharmacy and Culture in Early Modern China$
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He Bian

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691179049

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691179049.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Know Your Remedies
Author(s):

He Bian

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691179049.003.0001

This introductory chapter explores the career of pharmaceutical objecthood in Chinese culture between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. It also provides a brief overview of how the scientific tradition of bencao came to be entangled with state power in medieval times. The bencao were imperially commissioned pharmacopeias whose history contains broad implications about the development of Chinese modern scientific and medical developments. Indeed, the task of explaining the early modern discontinuity of this state-centered tradition posed great difficulties in the historiography of Chinese science. The chapter reviews that literature, before presenting ways in which an inclusive category of knowledge opens new venues for historical interpretation. Finally, it offers a quick guide to key themes and actors in succeeding chapters.

Keywords:   Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM, bencao, Chinese science, Chinese medicine, Chinese pharmacology, pharmaceutical objecthood, Chinese culture

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