2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Foreign Elements in Turfan Chinese Medical Manuscripts

Ming Chen

Research Center of Eastern Literature, Peking University

Turfan was one of the most important centers of cultural intercommunion on the ancient Silk Road. As the site of frequent contacts of many kinds of foreign cultures and religions from Han to Tang China, Turfan also became one of the most active centers of exchanges between Chinese medicine and non-Chinese medical systems. Some very invaluable medical manuscripts were unearthed from Turfan in last century. This essay focuses on the Turfan Chinese medical manuscripts, pointing out some non-Chinese medical theory and all foreign remedies used in these prescriptions. An appreciation of foreign elements in Turfan Chinese medical manuscripts helps us to understand both the concrete acceptance of foreign knowledge in Chinese medicine and it was ultimately changed in practice in mediaeval China.


Keywords: Turfan, Chinese medical manuscripts, history of medical exchanges