Tracking Shifting Body Knowledge in Ming Qing China

Tracking Shifting Body Knowledge in Ming Qing China

Angelika Messner

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In Renjing jing fulu quanshu 人鏡經附錄全書, 8 juan, 1606 (repr. 1730), 8, 2.

This research project was largely concerned with the question of how knowledge relates to practice in Chinese History. Angelika Messner asked, with the focus on medicine, what writings and their paratexts tell us about this relationship, and how a sense of professionalization was developed despite the fact that no institutional organizations offered the means for distinction and identity. Messner explored a particular module within medical writings, namely the wide production of printed illustrations of the human body in Ming Qing, China. By analyzing minor and major differences among these descriptive illustrations, Messner looked for the significance of these differences for medical practice in relation to transmitted knowledge patterns. Furthermore, she asked if and to what extent these differences should or can be seen in connection with greater shifts in knowledge domains at that time.