Moxabustion being performed, Japan, 1863-1864.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving showing a practitioner of moxabustion, the burning of leaves of moxa, the Chinese wormwood tree. Acupuncture and moxabustion use a system of about 800 points arranged along 14 lines or meridians which run from head to foot. The parts of the body are linked to various disorders, which can be cured by the application of moxa. From 'Zhivopisnaia Iaponiia', (St Petersburg, 1870), a Rusian translation of 'Le Japon illustree' ('Japan illustrated'), (Paris, 1870) by Swis diplomat Aime Humbert (1819-1900) who spent two years in Japan from 1863 to 1864. Humbert was able to travel to areas inaccesible to the ordinary person. The text discuses Japanese customs before the influence of foreign powers; the engravings are based on sketches and photographs done while en route.