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Shanghanlunin Korea, 1610–1945

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image of Asian Medicine

This article examines how Korean physicians of traditional medicine have utilized Zhang Ji’s 張 機 (150–219 CE) Shanghanlun傷寒論 ( Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders, just Treatisehereafter) from the 17th century to the early twentieth century. As one of the two most influential pillars of Chinese medicine, the Treatise, with its clinical implications, has inspired many scholars and practitioners in their pursuit of medical innovation. What, then, have been the Korean motivations in referring to the Treatiseover the past few centuries? What does the Korean utilization and modification of the Chinese classic tell us about the desires, limits, and possibilities of pursuing medical innovations in Korea? By examining the ways in which major pre-modern Korean texts employed the Treatise, this article primarily aims to reveal patterns of (re)arranging the Treatisethat formed an indigenous style of medicine. Under the growing sense of nationalist concern and colonial contestation in the early twentieth century, the Korean compilation of the Treatisebegan to depart from the earlier interpretations. A range of nationalist rhetoric and editorial designs reflect the Korean urgency in seeking resources to compete with Western medicine. The postcolonial consumption of the Treatisealso reflects Korean strategies in navigating medical references from outside to meet their social and clinical agendas. The changing pattern of textual and professional utilization of the Treatiseexemplifies how a significant Chinese text continues to be a living tradition in Korea by expanding the targeted audience and satisfying local demands.

Affiliations: 1: Dartmouth College


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