The whole memorial hall covers an area of fifty thousand square kilometers, consisting of five parts, namely the Corridor of Stele of Compendium of Materia Medica, Commemorate Exhibition, the Remedy Hall, the Herbal Medicine Garden and the Cemetery.
In July 8th, 1987, Deng Xiaoping gave the name to this memorial hall, which vividly and comprehensively introduces the life and work of the great doctor and pharmaceutist of ancient China through the culture relic, herbal specimen, graph, picture and sculpture. The books housed in are mostly the ancient book, including many editions of LiShizheng’s famous work Compendium of Materia Medica since the Ming Dynasty. In addition, many calligraphy and painting of ancient and modern celebrity make the memorial hall more characterized with history.
Li Shizhen and Compendium of Materia Medica
Li Shizhen was born in the Zhengdei 13rd year of Ming Dynasty (1518) in Qizhou (Qichun town, Qizhou county). When he was a young boy, his father taught him Confucianism and medical knowledge and he became xiucai (skilful writer) at the age of fourteen. But he failed in other imperial examination afterwards, then decided to gave up official rank and engaged in medical skill heart and soul. At the age of thirty four, he was invited by Chu palace because of his highly brilliant medical skill and popularity. A few years later, he was recommended to the Emperor and was appointed as the physician-in-charge of the imperial family. But soon he retired and returned to Qizhou, where he cured illness and edited Compendium of Materia Medica. In the Wangli 21st year of Ming Dynasty (1593), Li Shizhen died at the age of seventy five.
In Compendium of Materia Medica all previous medical science were synthesized and brought to their highest development. Compendium of Materia Medica is “the Chinese Encyclopaedia” and is spreaded to the whole world. Furthermore, Li Shizhen is considered to be a world celebrity.
Compendium of Materia Medica has extensive knowledge, profound scholarship and brilliant achievement. From the medical view, it synthesized and brought Chinese traditional medicine to their highest development, established a new system for material medica, corrected the errors of material medica, added new material medica based on the previous and elucidated the theory of medicine’s nature. From the natural science’s view, it did very detailed textual research and simple and vivid records of every single plant’s form, character, habit, process of growth, geographic distribution, planting situation and practicality. It is not exaggerating to say that it is the best as a botany textbook or a guide book for identifying plants.