An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Chushi yishu 褚氏遺書

Jun 16, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Chushi yishu 褚氏遺書 "Fragmentary book of Master Chu" is a collection of textual fragments of a book written by the Southern Qi period 南齊 (479-502) scholar Chu Cheng 褚澄 (?-483), courtesy name Chu Yandao 褚彥道. He came from Yangdi 陽翟 (modern Yuxian 禹縣, Henan) from a family of palace servants. He was married to the Princess of Lujiang 廬江公主, a daughter of Emperor Wen 宋文帝 (r. 424-453) of the Liu-Song dynasty 劉宋 (420-479), and accordingly occupied the post of Commandant-escort (fuma duwei 駙馬都尉). When the Qi dynasty took over the central government he was appointed governor (taishou 太守) of the commandery of Wujun 吳郡.
Chu Cheng was a practicioner of Chinese medicine and made it to an expert in pulse diagnosis. As a such he was often consulted by his contemporaries. He had written ten chapters on medicine, entitled Yilun shipian 醫論十篇, of which only some fragments are preserved that were rediscovered during the Tang period 唐 (618-907) as inscriptions on his stone coffin. They were first published as a book during the Song period 宋 (960-1279). The compilers of the imperial reprint series Siku quanshu rate them as even superior to the texts Lingshu 靈樞 and Suwen 素問 that constitute the early medical canon Huangdi neijing 黃帝內經. Chu Cheng found out, for instance, that "single" women or widows (guafu 寡婦) and nuns were to be treated differently from married women. It might be that some passages of the edited book were forged during the Song period. The Chushi yishu is headed by a preface written by the Tang period master Xiao Yuan 蕭淵, as well with an accompanying commentative text. The fragments are mainly speaking about the analysis of bodily secretes and liquids, like sperm, blood and saliva. It seems that especially the gynecological findings had an influence on later physicians. He also said that the reasons for spitting blood or urinating blood, or the feeling of coldness were different for each single patient.
The Chushi yishu is included in the reprint series Siku quanshu and Liulizhai yishu 六醴齋醫書.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1655. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.