Letter | Published:

The Relationship between Chinese and Arabic Alchemy

Naturevolume 120page158 (1927) | Download Citation



SINCE my communication on the subject of Chinese alchemy (NATURE, Jan. 1, 1927) was written, I have received the very important memoir entitled “Chemistry in Iraq and Persia in the Tenth Century A.D”., by Principal Stapleton, the late Mr. Azo, and Mr. M. H. Husain, published in the Memoirs of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 8, No. 6, 1927. In this (p. 405) the treatise on Taoist alchemy, Pao p'o tsz of Ko-Hung (A.D. 330), to which I referred, is mentioned, and a summary of the alchemical contents of three of the Inner chapters (Nuy peen), translated from an edition published in 1884, is given. This information does not go further than that already published, and it would seem that the account given by Edkins is nearly complete. The authors then remark (p. 406) that: “The above account is sufficient to prove (a) that Chinese alchemy was concerned almost entirely with Mineral Chemistry: and (b) that Ko-Hung's materials were so extraordinarily similar to those used by Arabic and Greek alchemists that it is certain that Chinese, Greek, and Arabic alchemy must have had a common source of origin”. They also refer (p. 405) to “a further possible source of Arabic alchemy, namely, the Chinese School of Alchemy which was flourishing at least as early as 200 B.C”.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Author information


  1. Kingsbury Close, London, N.W.9



  1. Search for J. R. PARTINGTON in:

About this article

Publication history

Issue Date




By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.