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Governance Through Medical Texts And The Role Of Print

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Chapter Summary

Print played a key role, not only in expressing and actualizing ambitions of extending the reach of the state, but in transforming the nature of governance. The sharpest break was in an unprecedented state deployment of medical texts to combat what were deemed noxious southern customs. Print was but one stage in this state encouraged and initiated process of propagation. In first two centuries, the Northern Song central government collated and produced sixteen authoritative editions of medical classics, and compiled and printed eighteen new medical texts. Local government publications encompassed more varied subjects, with medical publications numbering twenty-four out of a known total of 324. Song state medicine took as the object of treatment not individual bodies, but epidemic diseases.

Keywords: medical texts; Northern Song central government; printing in China

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