Huangdi Hama jing (Yellow Emperor's Toad Canon)

Recent research into medical prohibitions has begun to demonstrate in detail how fundamentally medicine, astronomy and the calendar are linked in both early and mediaeval Chinese medicine.  This paper explores how early Chinese images and texts concerned with mapping the course of human qi, and various spirits and souls, inscribe lunar and solar cycles on to the body. We might think of their movements as analogous to a sort of imperial progress, such as the putative movement of the emperor around his Ming Tang 明堂 (Illuminated Hall) or of Tai Yi太一, supreme deity and brightest star in the Han sky, around the Nine Palaces of the Heavens. Here, it seems, we have an embodiment of celestial movements, Han preoccupation with correlating the sky with human society made flesh and blood. The various plans laid in the architecture of the body to facilitate and protect this progress of the spirits and qi are an integral part of the conceptual development that underpinned early point systems of acupuncture. What we find in these plans is quite distinct from the view of the channels and acupuncture and moxibustion locations that has been transmitted to us. By focusing on the detail of these body plans we can begin to unravel and separate some of the early traditions of acupuncture and moxibustion.