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Chang Chieh-pin


Chang Chieh-pin 張介賓 (T. 會卿 H. 景岳, 通一子), 1563-1640, physician, was a native of Shan-yin (Shaohsing), Chekiang. At the age of thirteen or fourteen (sui) he went to Peking where his father, a member of one of the most influential families of the Ming dynasty, was honorary advisor to a high military official. There he came into contact with many distinguished scholars, and soon developed a passion for learning in general and medicine in particular. He first studied with chin Mêng-shih 金夢石, a physician in the capital, from whom he received a thorough training. While still a young man he went to the northeastern border of China and even to Korea as advisor to the Chinese army. Upon his return to Peking several years later he resumed his studies in medicine and began to practice in the capital. Contrary to the prevailing custom, he paid more attention to the cause than to the symptoms of disease and as a result, he cured many diseases which had formerly been regarded as incurable. His reputation spread and there was a great demand for his services, not only in the capital but outside. In 1620, after the death of Emperor Shên-tsung, he returned to his native province where he spent the rest of his life, mostly in writing.

Chang's first book on medicine, entitled 類經 Lei-ching, in 32 chüan, with supplements in 15 [27] chüan, was published in 1624 and gained wide use among physicians of China. It purports to explain and interpret the 內經 Nei-ching, a medical work traditionally attributed to the legendary emperor, Huang-ti 黃帝. In reality, it is largely a crystallization of Chang's opinions based on long experience as a practitioner and many years of painstaking study. Huang Tsung-hsi [q.v.], writing in 1671, asserts that it was the most popular and valuable work on medicine in his day. Chang's other work on medicine, entitled 景岳全書 Ching-yüeh ch'üan-shu, was written during his declining years, probably between 1620 and 1640 after he had returned to Chekiang. It was meant to be encyclopaedic in scope, as it lists every known disease and cure and has two chapters on medicine with three hundred entries. The book was finally published in 1700 in 64 chüan, with a brief account of Chang's life and work written by his grandson.

Huang Tsung-hsi states that Chang Chieh-pin was versed in astrology and music.

[ M 2/398/22a; Huang Tsung-hsi, Nan-lei wên-an 9/5a;越中雜識 Yüeh-chung tsa-chih 方技 Wylie, A., Notes, p. 101; Laufer, Berthold, Tobacco and Its Use in Asia (1924) Field Museum Leaflet No. 18; Ssŭ-k'u (see under Chi Yün) 104/9a; Ku-chin t'u-shu chi-ch'êng (see under Ch'ên Mêng-lei), chüan, 537 醫術名流列傅十四明八]