A Japanese Herbal in the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine Information

A Japanese manuscript giving a selection of plants from Rembertus Dodonaeus' (1516-1585) Cruydtboeck was given to an unknown person by Yoshio Gonnosuke (1785-1831), one of the most talented Nagasaki Interpreters, and found its way into the collections of the Wellcome Library in London. This manuscript is here fully reproduced, the plants identified and described from near contemporary sources, and the Chinese and Japanese names analysed. It plays a role in the continuous effort of Japanese scholars to translate Dodonaeus' bulky work into Japanese, an effort which was continued until almost 1800, in spite of the fact that the reference edition dated from 1644. These translations of which several parts are extant in Japan was never printed, however. Ph. Fr. von Siebold introduced more modern botanical literature into Japan, and works like Iwasaki's Honzo zufu made Dodonaeus obsolete. The manuscript may actually have belonged to Siebold whose lectures Yoshio translated for an audience of physicians at Nagasaki.

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