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Collection of medical and surgical instruments (32) in box, Chinese, metal, maker unknown, China, [1925]

Made in China, Asia, [1925].

This collection of 32 metal instruments is contained in a cardboard box with a hand written English label on the lid: ‘Surgical instruments from rural China’. The instruments are metal with significant corrosion. They include: 12 acupuncture needles (including two with a label ‘Needles used for acupuncture’); 5 scoops; 6 pinchers; 3 knives (including one with a label ‘Surgeons knife: rural China’); 2 scrapers; 2 cutters; 2 lancets; and a hook. They are thought date from the early 20th century Ch...

Summary

Object No.

96/253/5

Physical Description

Collection of medical and surgical instruments (32) in box, Chinese, metal, maker unknown, China, [1925].
Collection of 32 instruments in cardboard box labelled: 'Surgical instruments from rural China'. Inside box are; 12 acupuncture needles (including two with label 'Needles used for acupuncture'); 5 scoops; 6 pincers; 3 knives (including one with label 'Surgeons knife: from rural China'); 2 scrapers; 2 cutters; 2 lances; hook. Probably dates from the early 20th century.
(-1) box
(-2) acupuncture needle
(-3) acupuncture needle
(-4) acupuncture needle
(-5) acupuncture needle
(-6) acupuncture needle
(-7) acupuncture needle
(-8) acupuncture needle
(-9) acupuncture needle
(-10) acupuncture needle
(-11) acupuncture needle
(-12) acupuncture needle
(-13) scoop
(-14) scoop
(-15) scoop
(-16) scoop
(-17) scoop
(-18) pincers
(-19) pincers
(-20) pincers
(-21) pincers
(-22) pincers
(-23) pincers
(-24) knife
(-25) knife
(-26) knife
(-27) scraper
(-28) scraper
(-29) cutter
(-30) cutter
(-31) lance
(-32) lance
(-33) hook

Dimensions

Width

65 mm

Depth

25 mm

Production

Notes

Presumed to have been made in China.

Made

[1925]

History

Notes

This box of 32 surgical instruments and acupuncture needles, together with the contents of a Chinese medical chest, were held at the Asian Studies Department of the University of Sydney since the late 1950's, and later donated to the Powerhouse Museum in 1994. These medically related objects are part of a small collection of Chinese artefacts associated with traditional cultural practices thought to have been collected in China in the first half of the 20th century by an Australian protestant missionary J. Whitsed Dovey (1887-1956). These surgical instruments from rural China and were part of a display and study collection used to educate missionaries about local medical practices.

Nothing is known about the manufacture these instruments but they appear to have been the working tools of a traditional rural Chinese medical practitioner. They were collected during a period of modernisation in China where missionaries might have considered the future of traditional medicine uncertain. Following the collapse of Imperial China the missionaries had found increasing interest in their medical activities from a Nationalist government embracing Western science and enthusiastically promoting biomedicine whilst sidelining traditional Chinese medical practice in their plans for medical development.

Unschuld, Paul U, 'Medicine in China: A History of Ideas, California', 1985, p235-249

Owned

Asian Studies Department, University of Sydney

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Asian Studies Department, University of Sydney, 1996

Acquisition Date

16 July 1996

Cite this Object

Harvard

Collection of medical and surgical instruments (32) in box, Chinese, metal, maker unknown, China, [1925] 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 November 2018, <https://ma.as/150996>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/150996 |title=Collection of medical and surgical instruments (32) in box, Chinese, metal, maker unknown, China, [1925] |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 November 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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