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Ming herbal (painting): Zelkova tree
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Ming herbal (painting): Zelkova tree
Work Type
Book illustrations
Painting of the zelkova tree (jushu, Zelkova schneideriana)in the meticulous (gongbi) style, in colour on silk, from Bencao tupu (Illustrated Herbal). The painted illustrations in Bencao tupu were jointly executed by Zhou Hu and Zhou Xi in 1644 (the final year of the Ming period). The explanatory texts were provided by Zhou Rongqi. The book was not completed: each volume was to have contained 14-15 paintings, but only 29 are extant. Zhou Rongqi writes: The zelkova tree is exceptionally large and tall. It can grow up to 5 or 6 zhang (c. 20 metres) in height, and it takes two or three people to encircle the trunk with their arms. It generally grows beside mountain streams. The leaves somewhat resemble those of the willow and somewhat resemble those of the pagoda tree (huai). The bark is used in medicine, and is bitter in sapor, cold in thermostatic character, and non-poisonous. It has the effects of clearing heat, promoting diuresis, and relieving dysentery. It is used to treat internal excess of summer heat, seasonal headache, and heat poisons, to relieve diarrhoea and oedema, etc.
Zelkova tree (jushu, Zelkova schneideriana)
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Image and original data from Wellcome Collection
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