I feel the authors are potentially a bit misguided in their understanding or otherwise of ‘flow’:
In modern western medicine, the body is divided into systems that each have their own distinct function: like the nervous system or cardiovascular system.
That clearly wasn’t what the writers of the Mawangdui were doing. Their descriptions are more focused on how different structures interlink to create a flow through the body. They pay no attention to the specific function of the structures. We think this is because these scientists were making their observations of the human body for the first time, and purely described what they saw.
i.e. perhaps the flow is more important than the specific function of the structure, and they knew this!
source:This ancient Chinese anatomical atlas changes what we know about acupuncture and medical history
This ancient Chinese anatomical atlas changes what we know about acupuncture and medical history
September 2, 2020 1.53pm BST
- Vivien Shaw Vivien Shaw is a Friend of The Conversation.Lecturer in Anatomy, Bangor University
- Isabelle Catherine Winder Isabelle Catherine Winder is a Friend of The Conversation.Lecturer in Zoology, Bangor University
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
The accepted history of anatomy says that it was the ancient Greeks who mapped the human body for the first time. Galen, the “Father of Anatomy”, worked on animals, and wrote anatomy textbooks that lasted for the next 1,500 years. Modern anatomy started in the Renaissance with Andreas Vesalius, who challenged what had been handed down from Galen. He worked from human beings, and wrote the seminal “On the Fabric of the Human Body”.
Scientists from ancient China are never mentioned in this history of anatomy. But our new paper shows that the oldest surviving anatomical atlas actually comes from Han Dynasty China, and was written over 2,000 years ago. Our discovery changes both the history of medicine and our understanding of the basis for acupuncture – a key branch of Chinese medicine.