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Seeing is not necessarily believing

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I was intrigued by the strange postures adopted by the Ming Dynasty models to illustrate acupuncture meridians, as in the first image. My bathroom has one electric light bulb hanging from the ceiling, and while I was in the bath reaching for soap, I observed a single line of reflected light going up my wet forearm in a direction that depended on the position of my arm. Such a ‘line’ of reflected light can be seen in the model, covered in oil, shown in the second image. Provided the model poses in a similar way to a Ming Dynasty drawing, the pathway of that particular channel can be seen.

(Reproduced from MIMS Magazine Oct (1977) 67–83 with kind permission of the publishers).

Image and text provided by Alex Macdonald

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