File:The nine ancient acupuncture needles, 17th Chinese (detail) Wellcome L0034712.jpg

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The nine ancient acupuncture needles, 17th Chinese (detail)

Detail of 17th century Chinese woodblock illustration showing the 'Nine Needles' (jiu zhen) (see also L0034713 and L0034714). The Nine Needles was the collective term for the needling instruments used in antiquity, i.e.chan zhen(arrow-headed needle),yuan zhen(round needle),chi zhen(spoon needle),feng zhen(lance needle),pi zhen(stiletto needle),yuanli zhen(round sharp needle),hao zhen(filiform needle),chang zhen(long needle) andda zhen(big needle). Precise descriptions of the Nine Needles (but no visual representation) can be found inHuangdi neijing(Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor), a classical medical text compiled in first or second century CE (in theJiu zhen shi'er yuanandJiu zhen lunsections ofLingshu,the Divine Pivot).

This detail shows, from right to left, the arrow-headed needle, the round needle and the spoon needle.

The arrow-headed needle was 1.6cun[Chinese inches] long. It had a large head and sharp tip, and was used for dispersing blood and treating illnesses involving heat in the head and body.

The round needle was also 1.6cunlong. It had a cylindrical body and rounded end, and was used to massage the acupoints and to treat muscle and joint pain.

The spoon needle was 3.5cunlong. It had a thick body, which was rounded but slightly pointed at the end, like a grain of millet. It was used to exert pressure on the tracts, to direct the flow of Qi and blood.

Wellcome Images
Keywords: Abscess; Medicine, Chinese Traditional; Petty surgery; Acupuncture Therapy; Ming period (1368-1644); Medical instrument; Needles; Acupuncture; Bloodletting; Boil

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  • Library reference: External Reference Chou 41/1624 Ma 21, External Reference Wang Shumin 21 and External Reference Vivienne Lo
  • Photo number: L0034712


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