Medicine chest, China, 1801-1985

Made:
1801-1985 in China
maker:
Unknown

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Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Wooden medicine chest, empty, with 5 drawers inlaid with mother-of-pearl Chinese characters, Chinese. The characters indicate that the chest held herbs including sesame, Mudanjiang/moutan and cinnamon.

Medicines used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) were stored in this beautiful wooden medicine chest. It is decorated with Chinese characters inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The chest originates from China and was bought at auction in 1986. It has five drawers, each with two rows of characters.

TCM originated in China well over 2,000 years ago. It has since been formalised and spread almost worldwide. Central to TCM is a belief in the energy force known as qi (chi). This flows smoothly and strongly through a healthy body, but Illness is likely to occur should qi become weakened or blocked. TCM therapies include acupuncture, moxibustion (burning a herb on or near the skin) and combinations of herbal medicines. Many such herbal medicines are likely to have been stored in this chest.

Details

Category:
Oriental Medicine
Object Number:
1986-1125
Materials:
abalone (mother of pearl), wood
type:
medicine chest
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • furnishing - artefact
  • case furniture
  • chest
credit:
Christie's South Kensington Limited
status:
Permanent collection

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