ISSN : 0023-3900
Though often taken as an objective science, medicine is more than a systematic study of the human body, evaluated through scientific methods and experiments; descriptions of various symptoms, illnesses, and cures are linked inextricably to socio-cultural factors. The widely circulated Gyuhap chongseo 閨閤叢書 (Encyclopedia of Women’s Daily Life, 1809), by Lady Yi (1759– 1824), outlines various symptoms and remedies based on experience. It also tends toward supernatural cures, often engaging in rituals and performance. Lady Yi’s work captures medical accounts of heterogeneous spaces containing both experiential and spiritual dimensions. This study illuminates how Lady Yi’s work empowered women as primary caretakers of the household, and how women’s intermediate position in the Confucian patriarchy enabled them to formulate in-between knowledge—a synthetic and comprehensive approach to various situations in the domestic sphere. To unravel what women observed, recorded, and treated in terms of health and medicine, this article investigates pervasive individual prescriptions covering a wide range of medical conditions and conceptualizes aspects of divine knowledge that incorporate performative, written, and oral cultures.