Welcome to the new HSLS website! See a problem with this page or have feedback about the site? Tell us about it!

Our classic website is also available for a limited time at hsls2.pitt.edu. Please remember to update any bookmarks.

Early Chinese Books

During his years in China, Burma and India Lt. Col. J. A. Mendelson, a veteran of the WWI, a member of the United States Military Mission to China, and at one time an assistant professor of Military Science and Tactics at University of Pittsburgh collected many interesting objects related to the cultures of countries where he served. Five early Chinese texts he brought from his trips were donated to Falk Library.

The mini collection of the early Chinese books includes three rare books by Chen Shigong (1617), Dou Hanqing (1717), Li Shizhen (1784) and two 19th century texts by Gao Wenjin (1856) and Chen Huichou (1878) covering subjects of surgery, blood circulation, blood vessels, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. One outstanding title is Bencao Gangmu (本草綱目), also known as Compendium of materia medica written in the Ming Dynasty. This 18th century reprint from the original 1590 edition is regarded as the most complete and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine. It lists all the plants, animals, minerals, and other items that were believed to have medicinal properties. The oldest book in the group is Xin kan Wai ke zheng zong (外科正宗, a compendium on external diseases in traditional Chinese medicine) published in 1617. Read more in HSLS Update