[Wolfgang Michel: Engelbert Kaempfers merkwürdiger Moxa-Spiegel - wiederholte Lektüre eines deutschen Reisewerks der Barockzeit [Engelbert Kaempfer's Strange 'Moxa-Mirror' - Repeated Readings in a 17th Century Travelbook]. Dokufutsu Bungaku Kenkyû, No. 33 (1983), pp. 185-238.]

 

Wolfgang MICHEL

Engelbert Kaempfers merkwuerdiger Moxa-Spiegel - wiederholte Lektuere eines deutschen Reisewerks der Barockzeit


 

 Outline

This study focusses on the contents and background of Engelbert Kaempfer's "Moxa Mirror" (Urendum locorum Speculum), first published in the famous "Amoenitates Exoticae" (Lemgo, 1712) shortly before his death. G. Scheuchzer added an English version to his edition of Kaempfer's "History of Japan" (London, 1727), and as this opus magnum was translated into French and Dutch and finally reedited in German by Chr. W. Dohm, the "Moxa Mirror" became one of the most influential descriptions of Japanese moxibustion in the age of enlightment.

During his stay at the Dutch trading post in Nagasaki (1690-92) the German scholar and physician Kaempfer had managed to acquire an illustrated leaflet on moxibustion and received elaborate explanations about its contents. Kaempfer's predecessors in Japan,W. ten Rhijne and A. Cleyer, had published some observations on the nature and usage of moxa (jpn. mogusa), but this was the first authentic Eastern source material on these matters reaching Europe. As the illustration in the "Amoenitates Exoticae" shows, Kaempfer must have brought back this leaflet to his native town Lemgo, but its later fate is unknown.

This study discusses the nature of Kaempfer's Japanese source material as well as his interpretation of basic notions of Sino-Japanese medicine like the system of "tracts and channels" (chin. jingluo, jpn. keiraku), "moxa points" (chin. xue, jpn. ketsu, tsubo), Qi (jpn. ki) etc.) in classic graeco-latin medical terms.

Furthermore, after an identification of the Chinese characters in Kaempfer's table (Kyusho kagami, moxa mirror), it became clear, that this table does not show any of the moxa-points described in Kaempfer's translation of the corresponding text. Based on classic Japanese and Chinese books it is shown that the therapy points of the illustration were used only in acupuncture, beeing forbidden in moxa therapy. Obviously Kaempfer had mixed up different parts of his Japanese source, but this did not distract much from the reputation of his influential paper.


Contents
  • Previous research on Kaempfer's "Moxa Mirror"
  • Outline of Kaempfer's description based on the original version in the Amoenitates Exoticae (Lemgo, 1712)
  • Graeco-latin medical concepts in Kaempfer's interpretation of Sino-Japanese medicine
  • Annotated text of Kaempfer's translation
  • Iconographic changes of the Japanese illustration in later publications (History of Japan)
  • On the peculiarities of the therapy points given in the illustration and the appending text itself
TOPTOP

 

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