Spring’s Mandate

From The Bird Flu: A Classical Perspective, Gabriel Weiss, 2007, p. 10

The context in which the concept of 癘 was used in ancient texts reveals something of the general understanding of the term at the time. For instance, in the early cosmological text the 淮南子 Huainanzi, a philosophical classic from the 2nd century BCE[1], we read in Chapter 5, “Time’s Lessons 時則訓”, the line

行春令,則蟲螟為敗,水泉咸竭,民多疾癘

translated as

When spring’s mandate is expressed, then insects and larvae cause great loss, the water springs became salty and dried up, and the people experience many acute illnesses and pestilences 疾癘.


[1] John S. Major, Heaven and Earth in Early Han Thought: Chapters Three, Four, and Five of the Huainanzi (Albany: SUNY Press, 1993).

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Zhu Lin Press 竹林出板社 The Zhu Lin Press is a traditional letterpress studio devoted to the transcription and publication of classical Chinese medical texts. The press is housed in the Bamboo Grove Salon, also known as Zhu Lin 竹林.
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