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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe recent discovery of Chinese medical manuscripts in a tomb dated to the second century BC in Ma-wang-tui, Ch'ang-sha, has revealed extremely interesting new information on the subject of ancient Chinese childbirth practices. The scrolls contain detailed advice concerning a proper and auspicious treatment of the placenta, an astronomical chart for choosing the perfect location for the burial of the placenta, and a description of the custom of exposing the newborn infant on the earth directly after birth. This paper offers a translation of these paragraphs and an interpretation based on a Japanese medical text that reflects Chinese medieval practices, basic knowledge of Chinese cosmology, society and religion and also general cross-cultural patterns for the treatment of the placenta that have been established through an anthropological research into placenta-related practices, beliefs and mythology from many different traditional cultures.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
East Asian Studies