Wu Xing, Five Elements
in Chinese Classical Texts
- 2009, 172 pages
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In this important new addition to the Monkey Press Chinese Medicine from the classics series, Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée continues her exploration of the key concepts of Chinese medicine and philosophy with a study of wuxing, the five elements, phases or movements.
In the West, the concept of wuxing has been variously embraced or dismissed, often misunderstood, but never the subject of serious study in its historical context. This fascinating book traces the development of wuxing theory from its early beginnings – where we see the five elements in their literal sense, as the five materials necessary for survival on earth – to its incorporation into the sophisticated cosmological system of yinyang wuxing during the 2nd century BC E. Guiding us through well chosen chapters of the Spring and Autumn Annals and its commentary, the Huainanzi, and the medical texts of the Neijing Suwen, Rochat de la Vallée explains the development of these ancient ideas which provide such an important basis for zangfu theory within Chinese medicine.
The theory of wu xing provides a link between phenomena and things which may be appear very different but which have a similar quality and movement of qi.