This innovative book uses the lens of cultural history to examine the development of medicine in Qing dynasty China. Focusing on the specialty of 'medicine for women' (fuke), Yi-Li Wu explores the material and ideological issues associated with childbearing in the late imperial period. She draws on a rich array of medical writings that circulated in seventeenth- to nineteenth-century China to analyze the points of convergence and contention that shaped people's views of women's reproductive diseases. These points of contention touched on fundamental issues: How different were women's bodies from men's? What drugs were best for promoting conception and preventing miscarriage? Was childbirth inherently dangerous? And who was best qualified to judge? Wu shows that late imperial medicine approached these questions with a new, positive perspective.
List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Late Imperial Fuke and the Literate Medical Tradition 2. Amateur as Arbiter: Popular Fuke Manuals in the Qing 3. Function and Structure in the Female Body 4. An Uncertain Harvest: Pregnancy and Miscarriage 5. "Born Like a Lamb": The Discourse of Cosmologically Resonant Childbirth 6. To Generate and Transform: Strategies for Postpartum Health Epilogue: Body, Gender, and Medical Legitimacy Notes Glossary Bibliography Index