Conveying Chinese Medicine to Seventeenth-Century Europe

  • Harold J. CookEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 275)


Several hitorian have recently drawn our attention to the importance of the search for useful medicines by Portuguese, Spanish, English, and Dutch investigators. Less well-known, however, are European publications about medical ideas and practies they encountered elsewhere. The first European Publications of and commentaries on Chinese medical texts appeared in France and Germany in the 1670s and 1680s: Les secrets de la Médecine des Chinois, (1671), the specimen Medicinæ sinicæ (1682), the Clavis Medica and Chinarum Doctrinam de Pulsibus (1686). The projects that resulted in the publications of the 1680s were in effect a sometimes fractious but collaborative effort between the Jesuits in China and the Dutch and German medical employees of the VOC in Asia, and thei local informants, over a period of at least two decades. The story of how two works on Chinese medicine came to appear in Germany, in Latin, in the 1680s, therefore reflects the aims and efforts of multiple people and groups.


Chinese Medicine Qing Dynasty Title Page Chinese Text East India Company 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.John F. Nickoll Professor, History DepartmentBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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