cáng (藏)

means “to hide, conceal, or hoard.” When pronounced slightly differently, zàng (藏), it is a place of storage, or ‘storehouse’ (as in 庫 (kùzàng, which apparently inspired Unschuld’s translation). In Chinese medicine, the 五 (wǔzàng) refer to what Wiseman and Ye render as the ‘five viscera.’ However, rendering zàng (藏) as viscera, or the common ‘zàng-organs,’ projects a (modern) physical bias that distorts the classical meaning; Porkert translated the zàng as ‘orbs’ of influence, and indeed each has particular ‘resonances’ (yìng ()), according to their Five Phase ‘correspondences’ (also yìng ()) with a specific sense organ, tissue, emotion, etc. Zàng (藏) can also refer to a holy scripture or canon, so its use in this context implies something that is treasured, as well as being stored.

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