Letter | Published:

The Relationship between Chinese and Arabic Alchemy

Naturevolume 120page158 (1927) | Download Citation

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Abstract

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”.

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

    • J. R. PARTINGTON

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https://doi.org/10.1038/120158b0

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