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Book/Printed Material Mai jing 脈經

[ Volume 1 ]

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[ Volume 2 ]
[ Volume 3 ]
[ Volume 4 ]

About this Item


  • Mai jing

Other Title

  • 脈經

Translated Title

  • The Pulse Classic


  • Mai jing (The pulse classic) was compiled by Wang Shuhe, an imperial physician during the Western Jin (265-316). It is the earliest existing Chinese work on pulse theory. Shown here is a facsimile of a handwritten copy in small characters of a Song edition made during Jiading era (1208-24) of Emperor Ningzong (reigned 1195-1224). It has ten juan, in four volumes. Wang Shuhe, also called Wang Xi, was born in Gaoping (in present-day Shandong). One of his two important contributions was the rearrangement and compilation of the famous late Eastern Han physician Zhang Zhongjing's Shang han lun (On cold damage) and the other was the compilation of this work. The work has three prefaces written by Gao Baoheng, Sun Qiguang, and Lin Yi, and a postscript by He Daren, dated the tenth year (1217) of the Jiading reign, in which he states that after the Song imperial court moved to the south, original copies of Mai jing became rare. There is also a handwritten inscription by Han Yingbi (1800-60), a Qing dynasty official at the Grand Secretariat and book collector. Editions available in the early 1200s were full of errors. He Daren always relied on his own family copy, a small-character edition of the Shaosheng era (1094-98), issued by the imperial Education Directorate, but it was old and its pages worn. With other scholars, including Mao Sheng, Li Bangyan, Wang Hezou, and Gao Zongqing, and after consulting many other works, he went over the text, corrected the errors, and had the work reprinted. In his own preface, Wang Shuhe claimed that he compiled his ten-juan work from many important formulas dating from the third millennium BC to 208 AD. The work provides a broad spectrum of discussions on pulse diagnosis, tracing the sources of hundreds of diseases, with examples, detailed symptoms, and various pulse shapes. Juan 1 consists of 15 essays, beginning with verses on secrets of the pulse shapes beneath the fingers, and ending with a paragraph on taking the pulse to diagnose whether the patient will recover. Juan 2 includes 24 types of pulse conditions, each described in detail, such as the "three passes of the hand," and the syndrome and therapy for "diseases of the eight extraordinary meridians." Juan 3 discusses the liver and gall, then the heart and small intestine, spleen and stomach, the lung and large intestine, and the kidney and bladder. Juan 4 differentiates the "three regions and nine subdivisions" of taking the pulse, discusses normal and complicated pulses, diagnosis of five viscera and six bowel diseases, incongruence of pulse in four seasons, prognosis of death and time of death, and discussion of possibilities of life and death from 100 diseases. Juan 5 cites the medical principles of Zhang Zhongjing (150-219) on pulse, Bianque on the yin and yang of pulse-taking, and the Bianque and Hua Tuo diagnostic methods of looking, listening, asking, and pulse-taking. Juan 6 discusses diagnosis of liver-related diseases with the "liver channel of foot-jueyin" acupuncture channel and bladder diseases with the "tenth foot-taiyin acupuncture channel. Juan 7 is related to sweat therapy and fever. Juan 8 deals with coma, carbuncles, and ulcerated sores. Juan 9 is a discussion on determination of the sex of fetus during pregnancy and miscellaneous infant ailments. Lastly, juan 10 discusses pulses called the "three-yang right foot" and the "three-yin right hand." The presentation here includes two prefaces and juan 1-3.


  • Gao, Baoheng , author of introduction, etc
  • Han, Yingbi, died 1860, contributor
  • He, Daren, author of afterword, colophon, etc
  • Lin, Yi, author of introduction, etc
  • Lin, Yi, compiler
  • Sun, Qiguang, author of introduction, etc
  • Wang, Shuhe, 210-258, author

Created / Published

  • [Place of publication not identified] : [Publisher not identified], 1217.


  • -  China
  • -  280 to 316
  • -  Chinese literature
  • -  Diseases
  • -  Medicine, Ancient
  • -  Medicine, Chinese
  • -  Pulse
  • -  Traditional medicine


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 10 juan in 4 volumes.
  • -  Original resource at: National Central Library.
  • -  Content in Chinese.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.
  • -  Title revised per Asian Division.--cc28 2023-01-06


  • 1 online resource.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021667496

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Gao, Baoheng , Author Of Introduction, Etc, Yingbi Han, Daren He, Yi Lin, Qiguang Sun, and Shuhe Wang. Mai Jing. composeds by Lin, Yiiler [Place of publication not identified: Publisher not identified, 1217] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Gao, B., Han, Y., He, D., Lin, Y., Sun, Q. & Wang, S. (1217) Mai Jing. Lin, Y., comp [Place of publication not identified: Publisher not identified] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Gao, Baoheng , Author Of Introduction, Etc, et al. Mai Jing. comp by Lin, Yiiler [Place of publication not identified: Publisher not identified, 1217] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.