Brown University Library Acquires Exceptionally Rare Book On Chinese Medicine

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] – The Brown University Library has acquired an exceptionally rare book, the first Western book on Chinese medicine, Les Secrets de la Medecine des Chinois (Grenoble, 1671). The volume is composed of anonymous translations of early Chinese texts attributed to Jesuit authors, including the first accounts in the West of the Chinese theory of pulses, and the theory and practice of acupuncture.  The person who compiled the text is unknown, but locates himself in Canton in 1668, having been forced from Peking (current day Beijing) along with other Christians.

Brown University is now one of only seven institutions worldwide, and the first institution in the Northeastern US, to hold a copy of this text.  Les Secrets de la Medecine des Chinois will be stored along with Brown’s other treasures in the John Hay Library. Information about the book, as well as other objects of interest to those teaching, learning, and researching about China, will be made available this spring in a brochure celebrating the Library’s collection on the occasion of the Year of China.

The Year of China explores the rich culture, economy, and politics of Greater China, investigating its past, examining its present, and contemplating its future. Throughout the 2011-2012 academic year, Brown will host public lectures, cultural events, academic conferences, and exhibits in an integrated exploration of China. For more information about the program and upcoming events, please visit:

The Brown University Library is home to more than 6.8 million print items, plus a multitude of electronic resources and expanding digital archives serving the teaching, research, and learning needs of Brown students and faculty, as well as scholars from around the country and the world.

Contact: Jennifer Braga |  401-863-6913