Dissertatio de arthritide, mantissa schematica, de acupunctura; et orationes tres, I. De chymiæ ac botaniæ antiquitate & dignitate. II. De physionomia. III. De monstris.
Londini, impensis R. Chiswell, et prostat Hagæ-Comitum apud Arnoldum Leers, 1683.
“The Western World’s First Detailed Treatise on Acupuncture” (as practiced in Japan) is the title of a paper by Carrubba and Bowers in which ten Rhijne’s book is thoroughly discussed. Their statement that the book is extremely rare may be verified by an old note inside the front cover, “Rar 32 s. bco”, indicating that it was a desirable item already in the eighteenth century. Although Chinese writings on acupuncture are known back to the first millennium B.C. Willem ten Rhijne’s treatise marks the first appearence in the Western World on this subject with illustrations. A few passages are found in the works by Portuguese Jesuit missionaries discussing secret Chinese medicine but they are without accompanying plates. The very first who spoke about acupuncture seems to be Jacob de Bondt, or Bontius (1592-1631) in his De medicina Indorum 1642, one of the first works on tropical medicine. At a time when Japan was a closed country, ten Rhijne worked as a physician at the Duch trade centre in Nagasaki during two years 1647-1649. In this book he accurately describes the technique of determining the places where the needle or moxa should be applied and he illustrates his observations with highly interesting plates copied from Japanese books. In November 1674 a pupil of a Japanese doctor and an interpreter visited ten Rhijne by order of the Nagasaki magistrate and asked him more than a hundred and fifty questions and ten Rhijne’s answers were published in 1680 by Katsuragawa Hokichu of the famed Katsuragawa physician lineage.
Collation: Pp (46), 334, with 4 folding engraved plates.
Binding: Eighteenth-century half calf with sprinkled boards, red spine label, five raised bands, gilt decorations in the compartments, and red edges.
Provenance: With an engraved armorial bookplate ‘Ex Bibliotheca Gralathiana’. Daniel Gralath (1739-1809) was professor of physics at Danzig and author of a comprehensive work on the history of electricity in three volumes (1747-1756).
References: Carrubba, J. W. & Bowers, J. Z., “The Western Wold’s First Detailed Treatise on Acupuncture” in Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 29 (1974) pp 371-398, with full translation of ten Rhijne’s treatise on acupuncture into English; Lu Gwei-Djen & Joseph Needham, Celestial Lancets, 1980, pp 37, 271-277, 373; Osler 3796; Hagelin, O., Rare and Important Books in the Libarary of the Swedish Society of Medicine, 1989 pp 94-95.SLS 500. Waller 9518.