The earliest Chinese text exclusively on alchemy was by WEI PO YANG (ca. 140 A.D.). It contains yin and yang, tao ("the first and last cause of existence"), and descriptions of some chemical operations, e.g., crystallization. The Taoist KO HUNG (400 A.D.) was the most celebrated alchemist of China. He was concerned with the chin tan (the elixir of life). He described the formation of mercury from tan sha (cinnabar) on heating and its reconversion. KO HUNG, by placing tan over a hot fire, produced "gold"---"the production of gold is a sign of the completion of the elixir." His ideas have a close resemblance to the Yogi system of India. Early Chinese alchemy was less concerned with the transmutation of metals than with the "medicine of immortality."
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