Medicine and Society in Late Imperial China

A Study of Physicians in Suzhou, 1600-1850

by Yüan-ling Chao (Author)
©2009 Monographs XII, 206 Pages
Series: Asian Thought and Culture, Volume 61


Medicine and Society in Late Imperial China explores the vibrant medical landscape in late imperial China (1600-1850), focusing on one of the most cultured and elegant cities in the lower Yangzi region, Suzhou. The central theme of the book is that the economic prosperity and intellectual vibrancy of late imperial Jiangnan fostered the emergence of a community of physicians who engaged in lively debates concerning qualifications and practice, leading to a growing sense of identity and new ways of theorizing and practicing medicine. It shows that the classical medical tradition interacted in a fluid relationship with both the state and the folk traditions. Medicine and Society in Late Imperial China is divided into two parts. Part I provides a broad framework on the discourse on the ideal physician, as well as examining the sanhuang miao (Temple of the Three Emperors) and challenges to existing medical theories by the wenbing (warm factor) school. Part II focuses on Suzhou physicians and their writings within the broad medical tradition, illustrates a local perspective of medicine’s relationship with the state through an examination of the outbreak of epidemics in Suzhou, and discusses the development of the fields of specialties in medicine.


XII, 206
ISBN (Hardcover)
History of medicine Classical Chinese medicine Suzhou Sanhuang miao sanshi Ming dynasty Qing dynasty Confucian Physicians China Medizin Geschichte 1600-1850 History of medicine, Classical Chinese medicine,
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2009. XII, 206 pp.

Biographical notes

Yüan-ling Chao (Author)

The Author: Yüan-ling Chao received her Ph.D. in history at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her research interest is in the history of medicine in China. She is currently Associate Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University.


Title: Medicine and Society in Late Imperial China