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Series Historical Collection: Speaking to the Future - Medical Science - Materials in the Museum Collection

Series Historical Collection: Speaking to the Future - Medical Science - Materials in the Museum Collection / Honkan Room 16   September 17, 2008 (Wed) - October 26, 2008 (Sun)

  
Ishinpo (Ancient Medical Book), Heian period, 12th century (National Treasure)

In the early Meiji period (1868-1912), Hakubutsukyoku (Museum Bureau, present Tokyo National Museum) inherited the collection of books formerly owned by Igakukan, the Tokugawa government's medical institute (est 1791 - 1867). As the museum's affiliation was changed from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, and then to the Imperial Household Ministry, the majority of the books in Tokugawa government's collection was transferred to the Cabinet Library (Ministry of Internal Affairs) and the Archives and Mausolea Department (Imperial Household Ministry). However, medical books which were valuable exhibits for the museum were retained. Furthermore, many materials closely related to medical science, including Bronze Acupuncture Model of a Human Body and Anatomical Model of a Human Body, were also kept in the museum collection and have been preserved until today.

This thematic exhibition introduces three books and a letter written by Manase Dosan, the doctor who served the Muromachi military government, to shed light on the medical science before Igakukan. Igakukan, the only medical institute established by the Tokugawa government, used ancient Chinese medical books such as The Inner Canon of Huangdi and An Essay on Severe Febrile Diseases for textbooks, reprinted them and published medical books of its own. The exhibition also features Ishinpo (the earliest medical book published in Japan and a designated National Treasure), Jutei Kaitai Shinsho (The Revised Edition of the Anatomie ofte Afbeeldinge), bronze human models and other related materials, giving us the chance to trace the history of Japanese medical science.

 Major works in this exhibition

* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Ishinpo (Ancient Medical Book), Heian period, 12th century (National Treasure)
Anatomical Model of a Human Body, Edo Period, 17th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Matsudaira Yorihide)