In this paper, I investigated the influence of Compendium of Materia Medica (本草綱目, CM) on Records for Rural Life of Chosun Gentlemen (林園經濟志, RRC), and refuted Miki Sakae’s (三木榮) opinion, CM did not have much impact on the Materia Medica in the late period of the Chosun Dynasty (朝鮮).
When Li Shizhen(李時珍) published CM, it resulted in a shift of mainstream of Materia Medica in Eastern Asia from Classified Emergency Materia Medica (證類本草) to CM and a new categorizing system of Materia Medica by CM led to the division of Materia Medica into medicine and natural history. It is obvious that doctors of the Chosun Dynasty also adopted the latest achievements of Materia Medica by CM, but so far there have been few studies to clarify this.
Seo yugu (徐有榘) was a scholar of the Realist School of Confucianism (實學) during the late period of the Chosun Dynasty, and RRC is his representative work. RRC is a massive encyclopedia of natural history that covers vast areas of science from agriculture, floriculture, writing and drawing, architecture, diet, and medicine, among others which absorbed the achievements of CM, the best Materia Medica book at that time. Miki Sakae also highly regarded the encyclopedic knowledge of RRC, but devalued the results of Materia Medica. He only described a part of RRC’s Materia Medica, nurturing volume (葆養志), on the view of life nurturing (養生) and mentioned that it had been strongly influenced by China.
According to this study, a large portion of RRC, especially regarding Materia Medica, depends on CM. Seo yugu had accepted the categorizing system and new medicinal information of CM, at the same time he modified the categorizing system of CM practically by the subject of each volume of RRC. We can find many quotations of CM except the nurturing volume,but other books, Treasured Mirror of Eastern Medicine (東醫寶鑑), Materia Medica for Relief of Famines (救荒本草) are also quoted. Furthermore, Seo yugu emphasized the differences of natural environments between Chosun and China, and specified the editing criteria, “to be useful in Chosun.”This is the most obvious evidence that Materia Medica of Chosun had not remained in the framework of Treasured Mirror of Eastern Medicine which succeeded Classified Emergency Materia Medica, but had been developed into medicine and natural history based on CM.