Category: Misc. Diagnostic
Estimated Date: 1850
Name: Doctors Lady

Description: Very well carved ivory doctors lady reclining on a couch nude with small feet of binding, black hair, hand across chest, on a hardwood support with cloth and paper box. According to recent studies by Christine Ruggere these dolls were never used in China for medical purposes. She contends that they were simply erotic art. I have contacted numerous friends in China, none of whom have ever heard of the practice of using these figures. I also contacted Charlotte Furth 547 who states” “ Medicine dolls” have been showing up in Western collections of orientalia for decades, and were commented on by older sinologiests like Maspero and Van Gulik, who assumed they were used in diagnosis. None of us who study traditional medical texts in Chinese can find any reference to such dolls. The best guesses, in my opinion, come from art historians who think they were made and sold as curios in the treaty port era. The recumbant posture resembles that of photographs of prostitutes sold in the late Qing, harking back to western models like Manet’s “Olympia” Good doctors of Chinese medicine, then and now, use pulse diagnosis to identity internal as well as external disorders.”

Doctors Lady
Kymograph Stand
Doctors Lady
Lange Skinfold Caliper