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Ming herbal (painting): Violet
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Ming herbal (painting): Violet
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Book illustrations
Monochrome painting of the violet (zihua diding) from Diannan bencao tushuo (The Illustrated Yunnan Pharmacopoeia). Diannan bencao tushuo was compiled by the Ming (1368-1644) writer Lan Mao in the 14th-15th century. The word 'Dian' in the title refers to the Yunnan region, in the Southwest of China. It provides a record of the plants and other substances commonly used for medicinal purposes in Yunnan in the Ming period. Most of the entries are illustrated with ink and wash paintings. This manuscript copy was executed in 1773 (38th year of the Qianlong reign period of the Qing dynasty, Gui Si year) by Zhu Jingyang. In the text, Lan Mao states: The violet (dinghao), also known as diding, is ubiquitous. The stems are short and bowed towards the earth. The flowers are of five colours [i.e. all colours]; the variety with purple flowers is generally used in medicine, hence the name zihua (= purple-flowered) diding. The entire plant is used for medicinal purposes. It is bitter and pungent in sapor, cold in thermostatic character, and non-poisonous. It is efficacious for sores and abscesses of all kinds, eruptions on the back, boils and scrofula (luoli), unnnamed toxic swellings (zhongdu), etc.
Dinghao, also known as diding. It is now found everywhere. The stems bow down towards the earth. It is found in five colours [i.e. all colours]; the purple ones are generally used in medicine. It is bitter and pungent in sapor, cooling and non-poisonous.
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