Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

Get access Subject: Asian Studies
Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese

Brill’s Encyclopedia of China Online is based on the originally a thousand-page reference work on China with a clear focus on the modern period from the mid-nineteenth century to the 21st century. Written by the world’s top scholars, Brill’s Encyclopedia of China is the first place to look for reliable information on the history, geography, society, economy, politics, science, and culture of China.

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Pharmaceutics

(943 words)

Author(s): Unschuld, Ulrike
Pharmaceutics is the study of the composition and production of medicinal ingredients. It focuses on the identification of plants and substances used in medicine, the detection of contaminations, the analysis of medical effects, the composition of prescription drugs, as well as the production of drugs from medicinal ingredients. Chinese pharmaceutics have included all of these aspects since pre-historic times. The traditional pool of drugs includes herbal, mineral, animal (even human), and artif…

Philosophy

(1,285 words)

Author(s): Möller, Hans-Georg
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, China borrowed the traditional European term "philosophy" (which refers to an academic discipline with sub-fields, methods, and its own history) from the Western cultural sphere via Japan (Chinese zhexue, analog to the Japanese word tetsugaku). Philosophy was established as an academic discipline when the traditional examination system was abolished, and a modern educational system developed in line with Western models. Before this background, the discipline remained subject to tensions thr…

Physics

(1,350 words)

Author(s): Amelung, Iwo
There are already descriptions and attempts at explanation of physical phenomena in Chinese texts of the 4th century BCE, e.g. the effect of levers and the optical phenomenon of refraction. There are reports of physical phenomena in many texts up to the 17th century, and most prominent among these is concern with the anomalies of the compass. However, there were no attempts to systematize the manifold observations and to use them as the basis of systematic and purposeful research. At first, West…