Wang Ch'ing-jenA Modern Chinese Anatomist 647 , a native of U-t'ien-hsienabout

200 li (70 miles) to the east of Peking, published a book called I-lin-kai-tso A Modern Chinese Anatomist 649 in the 29th year of the reign Tao Kwang(1850). The work is in one small octavo volume, divided into two chapters, the first being anatomical, in which are pointed out, according to the writer's ideas, the mistakes and misapprehensions of the ancients, with his own views of the structure and functions of the body, and the second is taken up with a system of practical medicine founded upon his observations and consisting, for the most part, of the remedies which he or others found useful in various diseases. With the latter chapter we have now nothing to do, but the first is so interesting from a physiological point of view as presenting us with the ancient medical knowledge possessed by the Chinese with the writer's criticisms and his investigations into human anatomy exemplifying such a rare spirit of enquiry - a spirit altogether foreign to the Chinese mind. If such a man as Dr. Wang, of a truly enquiring and scientific turn of mind, had happened to come across a Western physician, medical missionary or any of our works (but unfortunately at that time none had been translated into Chinese. Dr. Hobson's anatomy was first published at Canton in 1851) he must have proved an apt pupil. He would have had his gropings after the truth directed, his false inferences corrected, and he would have produced a work which would have dethroned the Nei-ching the Ling-shuand Su-wen and all the successive medical writers who have followed so slavishly these ancient books long antecedent to our Christian era. As it is he exposes their errors and inconsistencies by quoting one against another, a style of writing of which he seems to be a perfect master, as far as his own partially enlightened knowledge can lead him. The spirit in which he follows out his investigations is to be highly commended; he is often right and justly severe upon his country's medical writers, but in many cases too the ancients are nearer the truth than he is. His fundamental error lies in mistaking the arteries for air vessels, an error certainly pardonable when we consider that up to the time of our own immortal Harvey some 300 years ago we ourselves did not know that the arteries contained blood and our name for these blood vessels still retains our earlier misconception, viz., arteria air vessels. But for this serious error he might have hit upon the true circulation of the blood. He never seems to have seen a divided artery and the spurting of the blood and an ordinary execution might have convinced him of his error regarding the air vessels. He never seems to have noticed the different characters of the red and venous blood. On account of this blemish his new system of the body and its functions is as difficult to understand as that of Hwang Tiand Chi To2000 years before our era. His work, although known in this part of China by the literati, has not produced any effect upon their medical stereotyped ideas nor led so far as I know to further enquiry and investigation, but the work is useful as indicating his careful and numerous examinations, his unremitting research and general honesty and modesty and therefore is a pattern for future Chinese workers in this and other departments. With so many opportunities around the Chinese in the slaughtering of oxen, sheep, pigs, etc., on the streets, with the viscera, especially the heart and lungs everywhere exposed at the butchers* shops, with the country dotted over with graves, many of which are exposed by the ravages of the weather, dogs, pigs or wolves, or the exigencies of cultivation, the customs of the Mongols of leaving the bodies of their dead unburied to be devoured by wild beasts and birds, one might have imagined there was here a splendid field for anatomical research. With such opportunities in our country in all probability the passing of an Anatomy Bill over 60 years ago would never have been rendered necessary, because the dearth of bodies for dissection would in all probability never have been felt. We should not then have been punishable at one and the same time for not knowing our profession and for trying to learn it in the only effectual manner. Law, religion, filial piety and prejudice have put dissections out of this question in China. The principle in China is that the body received from one's parents should be kept complete and unmutilated. To allow it to be maimed or disfigured or they themselves to do so, except for the nourishment of these same parents as in the case of soup made from their flesh, is to slight and undervalue the gift of their parents and would be reckoned among the sins of filial impiety and deservedly punished, if not in this life, most certainly in the next.

After several prefaces by friends by way of introducing and commending his book, a practice everywhere common in China, and a picture of the author, the work begins by exposing the main errors of the ancients and so preparing the way for, and showing the importance of, his discoveries. To cure disease, he sets out by remarking, we must know the viscera. According to the ideas of curing disease, held by the ancients, discoursing on the viscera and origin of disease, the real fons et origo mali is completely lost sight of and notwithstanding one's ability, one cannot explain disease by reference to the viscera. Among those who have written on the viscera and have given delineations of them there is not a single point in which one agrees with the other. One author shows that the ancients among themselves differ widely and therefore that both cannot be true and his object is to point out their errors and indicate what is true and therefore reliable. Then follow examples of the want of agreement among themselves. The ancients said, e.g., that the spleen is related to earth, that earth governs the immovable and therefore the spleen does not move and if it move there is no rest; how then at the same time do they say that when it hears a sound it moves. They also say when it moves it grinds the stomach and dissolves the food, but if it do not move then the food is not digested. So you have here the mistake of the spleen moving and not moving. The lungs again are said to be empty and to resemble a wasp's nest, that they have no openings below, that in inspiration they are full find in expiration empty while at the same time it is said the lungs have 24 openings, placed in rows and divided into sections and that they coramuni-eate with the air of the viscera. This relates to the error of the 24 openings. Regarding the kidneys there are said to be two, and the moving air in the middle of them is said to be the ming-menA Modern Chinese Anatomist 656 door of life, if so why do others say the left is the kidney and the right is the Door of Life.