News and Events

Thursday December 8th, 19.00 - 20.30

Chinese Bodies

Body Beliefs

Wellcome Collection Events

Saturday December 3rd

British Chinese Food Culture
Inaugural Ceremony
St Martin-in-the-Fields

Remembering My Father

Dr Vivienne Lo


Vivienne Lo is the director of CCHH. She has been teaching the History of Asian Medicine and Classical Chinese medicine at BSc and MA level in UCL since 2002. Her own research concerns the social and cultural origins of acupuncture and therapeutic exercise. She translates and analyses manuscript material from Early and Medieval China and the transmission of scientific knowledge along the so-called Silk Roads through to the modern Chinese medical diaspora.

Dr Vivienne Lo


Early to Mediaeval Chinese Medicine
In recent decades there has been a revolution in the field of research into both early and mediaeval Chinese medicine partly driven by texts and artefacts recovered from tombs and other libraries. I am currently finishing a translation and introduction to texts excavated in Hubei (tomb sealed ca. 186 BC), that describe an early phase in the development of acupuncture, and therapeutic exercise. Manuscripts recovered from a Buddhist library on the Silk Road and archived mainly at the British Library and BNF Paris provide another vantage point from which to consider issues of continuity and change in both these subjects. Current projects also include the creation of an on-line database of early Chinese medical imagery, and a history of food and medicine in China.


1991 BA, SOAS, University of London
1998 PhD, SOAS, University of London
1998 Research, Fellow, Centre for the Study of Bamboo and Silk Books, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
2000 PATHE Programme, Institute of Education
2001 Research Fellow, SOAS, University of London
2002 Lecturer, The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine
2007 Senior Lecturer, The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine


Fellow, Institute of Health and Human Development, University of East London

Founder Editor, Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity

Key Publications

‘He Yin Yang: Xi Han yangsheng wenxian dui yixue sixiang fazhan de yinxiang’ 合阴阳:西汉养生文献对医学思想发展的影响 (Western Han ‘Nurturing Life’ Literature and the Development of Medical Thought), in Sarah Allan and Wang Tao 汪涛 (eds), Yin Yang wuxing yu Zhongguo gudai siwei moshi (Yin Yang, the Five Agents and Conceptual Models in Ancient China), (Nanjing: Jiangsu guji chubanshe, 1998), 401-23.

‘The Channels: A preliminary examination of a Lacquered Figurine from the Western Han Period’, Early China, 21 (1996), 81-123 (written with He Zhiguo 何志国).

‘Healing and Medicine’, in E. Shaughnessy (ed.), China: Land of the Heavenly Dragon, (London: Duncan Baird Publishing, 2000), 148-62.

‘Tracking the Pain: Jue and the Formation of a Theory of Circulating Qi through the Channels’, Sudhoffs Archiv, 83.2 (2000), 191-211. Also published in Chinese, in Li Xueqin 李学勤 and Xie Guihua 谢桂华 (eds), Jianbo yanjiu 简帛研究 (Research into Bamboo and Silk Manuscripts), vol. 4 (China Academy of Social Sciences [CASS] / Guilin: Guangxi shifan daxue chubanshe, 2001), 275-88.

‘Crossing the "Inner Pass": An"Inner/Outer" Distinction in Early Chinese Medicine?’, East Asian Science,Technology and Medicine, 17 (2000), 15-65.

‘The Influence of Western Han Nurturing Life Literature on the Development of Acumoxa Therapy', in Elisabeth Hsu (ed.), Innovation in Chinese Medicine, Festschrift in Commemoration of Lu Gwei-djen (Cambridge, CUP, 2001), 19-51.

‘Spirit of Stone: Technical Considerations in the Treatment of the Jade Body’, Bulletin of SOAS, 65.1 (2002), 99-128.

‘Lithic Therapy in Early China’, in P. Baker and G. Carr (eds), Practitioners, Practices and Patients New Approaches to Medical Archaeology and Anthropology (Oxford: Oxbow, 2002), 195-220.

'Survey of Research into the History and Rationale of Acupuncture and Moxa since 1980' - A New Introduction to a new edition of Lu and Needham, Celestial Lancets (London: Curzon, 2002), xxv-li.

Mediaeval Chinese Medicine (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005), edited with
Christopher Cullen.

''Self-Cultivation and the Popular Medical Traditions', in Lo and Cullen (eds), Mediaeval Chinese Medicine.

'Quick and Easy Chinese Medicine', in Lo and Cullen (eds), Mediaeval Chinese Medicine.

'The Yellow Emperor's Toad Manual', in a special edition of Asia Major, 14.2 (2001), edited by Nathan Sivin: Essays Contributed in Honour of Michael Loewe [published in Spring, 2004].

Launch of new journal of IASTAM: Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity, Brill. First edition, Spring 2005.

1,400 pre-modern Chinese medical images bought, catalogued and translated by the Project Chinese Medicine: A Visual History for Wellcome's online medical iconographic collection. Search for 'Zhongguo' at

'Narratives of Deviance in "Traditional" Chinese Medicine', in J. S. Alter (ed.), Asian Medicine and Globalization, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), 45-77 (written with Sylvia Schroer).

'Cooking up fine remedies: On the culinary aesthetic in a 16th century Chinese materia medica', Medical History, 49.4 (2005), 395-422 (with Penelope Barrett).

'Pleasure, prohibition and pain: food and medicine in China', in Roel Sterckx (ed.), Of Tripod and Palate (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 163-86.

Academic Conference on the Changsha Bamboo Documents Dating to Wu of the Three Kingdom To Celebrate One Hundred Years of New Discoveries and Research into Bamboo Strips and Silk Manuscripts, 15th-19th August 2001 (5,200 words).

'Imagining practice: sense and sensuality in early Chinese medical illustration', in F. Bray, G. Métailié and V. Dorofeeva-Lichtmann (eds), The Warp and the Weft: Graphics and Text in the Production of Technical Knowledge in China (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 387-425.

‘Chinese Medicine’, in H. & W. Bynum (eds), Dictionary of Medical Biography (London/Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007), vol. 1., 33-50.

Area Editor for 23 biographies of Chinese physicians in H. & W. Bynum (eds), Dictionary of Medical Biography.

‘Chinese Medicine’, in Jonathan Fenby (ed.), The Seventy Wonders of China (London: Thames and Hudson, 2007), 60-61.

Imagining Chinese Medicine 形象中医 (Beijing: Renmin weisheng chubanshe, 2007), edited with Wang Shumin 王淑民. 275 pp.

Edited Journals

Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity, Volume One, Issues One and Two 2005, 400pp.

Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity, Volume Two, Issues One and Two 2006, 358 pp.

Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity, Volume Three, Issues One and Two, 2007, 380 pp.

‘On the nature and purpose of Early Chinese medical writing: a study of the structure of Zhangjiashan 張家山Yinshu 引書’, in Li Jianmin 李建民 (ed.), The medical view of Chinese history (Taibei: Lianjing Press/Academia Sinica, 2008), 29-43. 

‘Heavenly bodies in early China: astro-physiology in context’, in A. Akasoy, C. Burnett and R. Yoeli-Tlalim (eds), Astro-medicine: astrology and medicine, East and West (Florence: Micrologus Library, 2008), 143-87.

‘But is it History of Medicine? 20 years in the Healing Arts of China', Social History of Medicine, 22.2 (August 2009), 283-303.

‘Longue vie au corps purifié!’, in Vigarello, G. (ed.) 100,000 ans de beauté/ 100,000 years of beauty, vol. 2 (Paris: Gallimard, 2009).

‘Manuscripts, Received Texts and the Healing Arts’, with Li Jianmin 李建民, in M. Nylan and M.  Loewe (eds), China's Early Empires, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 367-90.

‘Acuponcture et Moxibustion’, in C. Despeux (ed.), Notices on the Dunhuang and Kotanese Medical Manuscripts (Paris: Institut des Hautes Etudes Chinoises, Collège de France, 2010), 239-84.

Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity, Volume Four, Issues One and Two, 2008, 400 pp. (published 2010).

 'In praise of fragments: training with Paul Thompson', in 出土文献与传世典籍的诠释--纪念谭朴森先生逝世两周年国际学术研讨会论文集 (Excavated texts and transmitted literature: a Festschrift for Paul Thompson) [Chinese] (Shanghai: Fudan University Centre for Excavated Texts and Ancient Literature, 2010).

'Chinese Medicine', with Michael Stanley-Baker, in M. Jackson (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 150-169.

 'The Cuban Chinese Medical Revolution', with Adrian Renton, in Volker Scheid and Hugh Macpherson (eds), Integrating East Asian Medicine into Contemporary Healthcare (London: Elsevier, 2011).

Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity, Volume Five, Issues One and Two, 2009, Brill, 400pp.

 ‘Training the Senses through Animating the Body in Ancient China’, in Sue Brownell (ed.), From Athens to Beijing: West Meets East in the Olympic Games, Volume I: Sport, the Body, and Humanism in Ancient Greece and China (New York: Greekworks, 2011), 67-85.

'Exploding Daoist and Buddhist Myths about Medicine', in Gao Qihua 高启华 et al. (eds), Rujia wenhua yu shidai jingshen 儒家文化与时代精神 (Hangzhou: Zhejiang guji chubanshe, 2011), 51-63.

Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity, Volume Six, Issue One and Two 2010/11, Brill, 400pp.

Perfect Bodies: Sports Medicine and Immortality (London: British Museum Research Publications,  2012).

'Other Pleasures?', with Penelope Barrett, in R. Reyes (ed.), Sex in Asia, 400-1900 (London: Routledge, 2012), 25-46.

'Han', in TJ Hinrichs and Linda Barnes (eds), Chinese Medicine and Healing: an Illustrated History (Cambridge Mass: HUP, 2012).


Potent Substances, Reaktion books 2012.

Blood or Qi Circulation? On the nature of authority in Rashīd al-Dīn’s Tānksūqnāma تانکسوق نامهء ایلخان در فنون علوم ختایی  [The Treasure Book of Ilqān on Chinese Science and Techniques], with Wang Yidan 王一丹, in Anna Akasoy, Charles Burnett and Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim (eds), Rashid al-Din as an Agent and Mediator of Cultural Exchanges in Ilkhanid Iran (London: Warburg Institute,  2012). 

In Preparation

Healing Arts in Early China, the Zhangjiashan Medical Manuscripts.

Chinese Medicine: a visual history, Brill.

'Early Chinese Medicine', in Cambridge History of Science, vol. 1, ed. Liba Taub and Alexander Jones.  


Page last modified on 17 oct 13 02:58 by Penelope Barrett