Forgotten Traditions of Ancient Chinese Medicine: A Chinese View from the Eighteenth Century
Hsu Ta-ch'un, Translated by Paul Unschuld

It is easy and enjoyable reading and will serve as a frequent referral source and provide excellent teaching material to the field.

—Cristina S. de la Torre, M.D., American Academy of Medical Acupuncture Review

Apart from its valuable contents, the book is also esthetically pleasing because of its attractive and clear typeface and the juxtaposition of Hsu's Chinese text and Unschuld's translation on facing pages.

—Prof. Emeritus Ilza Veith, Bulletin of the History of Medicine



Dr. Unschuld's translation of the I hsu Yuan Liu Lun of 1757 written by Hsu Ta-chun is a text for scholars, for students of Chinese language and culture, and for clinicians who seek to advance their clinical skill by understanding Chinese medical thought. But most importantly, it is a text for anyone who has ever been inspired by the ideal of a scholar-physician. It is our first chance, and perhaps our last, to let a superior practitioner speak for himself.

The author, Hsu Ta-chun, was a scholar and medical doctor who wrote in the eighteenth century immediately prior to the introduction of Western science and medicine to China. He influenced the history of medicine because the medicine he championed was pristine in method and logic. In any period, or any culture, Hsu would have been a remarkable thinker.

A literate, broadly skilled scholar, he practiced medicine as an expression of personal and social responsibility. He could both recognize others for their accomplishments and express a calculated and literate anger for those who had corrupted the art of medicine.

He was a conservative who understood the practical necessities of patient care, a literati capable of both compassion and indignation. In the extensive prologue by Dr. Unschuld, we learn that while Chinese medicine did differ from Western medicine, offering a holistic view of disease and the human who suffers, Hsu Ta-chun and his eighteenth- century European contemporaries would not have regarded one another as strangers. Using examples from Hsu Ta-chun's 100 essays, Dr. Unschuld shows us how an expert Asian clinician considered and solved the mysteries of clinical practice.

This is a rare text that is of value for historians, philologists, and philosophers, while of direct import to clinicians. By speaking his opinions clearly and reporting on an art with which he was deeply intimate, Hsu Ta-chun has bequeathed a richly detailed vision of Chinese medicine at its height.

Publisher's Commentary

Dr. Unschuld's translation of the I hsu Yuan Liu Lun of 1757 written by Hsu Ta-chun is a text for scholars, for students of Chinese language and culture, and for clinicians who seek to advance their clinical skill by understanding Chinese medical thought. But most importantly, it is a text for anyone who has ever been inspired by the ideal of a scholar-physician. It is our first chance, and perhaps our last, to let a superior practitioner speak for himself. The author, Hsu Ta-chun, was a scholar and medical doctor who wrote in the eighteenth century immediately prior to the introduction of Western science and medicine to China. He influenced the history of medicine because the medicine he championed was pristine in method and logic. In any period, or any culture, Hsu would have been a remarkable thinker. A literate, broadly skilled scholar, he practiced medicine as an expression of personal and social responsibility. He could both recognize others for their accomplishments and express a calculated and literate anger for those he believed had corrupted the art of medicine. He was a conservative who understood the practical necessities of patient care, a literati capable of both compassion and indignation.

email this page | printer friendly version
Publication Date: 1990
Paperback; 403 pages; 7 X 10; $59.95
Appendices; Index
ISBN 0-912111-56-9
Order from our distributor
Redwing Book Company
202 Bendix Drive
Taos NM 87571
tel. (575) 758-7758
fax (575) 758-7768
toll free (800) 873-3946