The female body in medieval China. A translation and interpretation of the "Women's Recipes" in Sun Simiao's "Beiji qianjinyaofang"
AdvisorHarper, Donald J.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation investigates the medical treatment of the female body in medieval China based on the women-related sections of a pivotal work in the history of Chinese medicine, the second through fourth scrolls of Sun Simiao's Beiji qianjin yaofang (completed ca. 652 C.E.). This text provides central evidence for the emergence of gynecology as a separate medical specialty in medieval China and reflects the highest level of elite medical knowledge regarding women at its time. It is the first text in the Chinese medical tradition to clearly define the parameters based on which the gender-specific treatment of the female body was conceptualized in the medical practice of the literati tradition. Its comprehensive nature shows that women's medical treatment in the seventh century was performed by and contested between large variety of practitioners, including literate male elites, professional midwives, other female members of the household or community, and religious specialists. The core of this study consists of an annotated translation of this text, covering the topics of fertility, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, postpartum recovery, supplementing and boosting, menstrual problems, vaginal discharge, and miscellaneous conditions. The translation is preceded by an introduction which discusses the author and his work, then summarizes and explains the contents of my text, and lastly indicates topics for future research and potential interpretation in the areas of women's health in general, reproduction, physiology, and issues of the gendered body. Lastly, this study includes two indeces for materia medica and for symptoms, syndromes, and diseases.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
East Asian Studies