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Qigong in Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 A.D. – 1840 A.D.)

  Qigong development went through another peak during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, during when it was more extensively applied and mastered by medical doctors. Also, a large number of books about health cultivation were edited and published, many qigong practices were introduced, and wushu qigong had further development.
    Many medical doctors in Ming and Qing Dynasties had incisive understandings on the theories and clinical application of qigong. The outstanding medical and botanic scientist Li Shi-zhen (李时珍) was an advocate of qigong practice. He combined his own experiences into qigong study and discussed about issues such as the connection between qigong and channels and collaterals, these discussions were written in the Consideration of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels (Qí Jīng Bā Mài Kăo, 奇经八脉考) and some in The Grand Compendium of Materia Medica (Bĕn Căo Gāng Mù, 本草纲目).
  In Introduction to Medicine (Yī Xué Rù Mén, 医学入门) written by Li Ting (李梃), qigong is divided into two categories of dynamic forms and static forms, and he emphasized that our practicing should integrate the both. The idea of clinical application based on syndrome differentiation is also introduced in this book.
    During the same period, there were a number of books specialized on qigong routines. The Keys for Prolonging Life (Xīu Líng Yào Zhĭ, 修龄要旨) written by Leng Qian (冷谦) in the beginning of Ming Dynasty collected a number of qigong routines, includes the “Life Prolonging Six Words (延年六字诀)”, “Long Life Sixteen Words (长生一十六字诀)”, the “Sixteen Pieces of Brocade (十六段锦)”, the “Eight Pieces of Brocade (八段锦)”, the “Verse of Treating Disease by Daoyin (导引却病歌诀)” and many more.
  The Heart Mirror of Preserving Life (Băo Shēng Xīn Jiàn, 保生心鉴) published in 1506 has “Daoyin Diagram of the Twenty-Four Solar Terms (二十四气导引图)” as its main content, in which the corresponding qigong practice is introduced for each solar term. In another book from the same period, the Marrow of the Red Phoenix (Chì Fèng Suĭ, 赤凤髓), there are the “Twelve Diagrams of HuaShan[1] Sleeping Practice (华山睡功十二图)”, “DaoYin Diagram of the Ancient Immortals (古仙导引图)” and such alike, it is a book full of pictures and texts.
  Wushu and qigong integrated a lot during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The appearance of Yi Jin Jing (The Classic of Sinews and Tendons Changing) and Tai Ji Quan marked the full integration of martial arts and inner cultivation. Before that, daoyin had mainly been used for treating disease and promoting health instead of enhancing martial ability, but Yi Jin Jing is aimed at the target “full of qi and strength, bones strong and sinews tough (气盈力健,骨劲膜坚)”, it emphasizes building body and increasing strength as well as health cultivation, and thus became a foundation routine for wushu practicing.


[1] Hua Shan (华山): The name of a famous mountain in China, also the name of a school of traditional qigong located there.

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