Category: Text, Chinese, China
History of Medicine The National Library of Medicine (NLM) holds approximately 2,000 volumes of Chinese medical classics. Here we display a few of the earliest and most interesting texts from the NLM collection. Also included are portraits of a few significant figures in early Chinese medicine whose contributions range from acupuncture to the pioneering uses of herbal medicines to the concept of Yin and Yang. Through the exhibit, we hoped to draw attention to a fascinating part of NLM's historical resources. 23 October 2009
History of Medicine Introduction The National Library of Medicine has recently acquired a large collection of Chinese Public Health materials, about seven thousand items produced from early 20th century to the year of SARS. The collection has a wide range of media presentations: posters, health newsletters, health newspapers, paintings, pharmaceutical advertisements, calendars, children's chess games, jigsaw puzzles on health topics, playing cards on SARS, lantern slides, negatives, photographs, and health award certificates, as well as books and journals. These materials present rich visual representations of public health concerns which were closely tied to the political, social, economic, and even military engagements of China during different time periods.
History of Medicine Chinese medicinal compounds were recorded as early as the Han dynasty, 2,000 years ago. Beginning in the 1880s, Western companies – notably Bayer, Hoechst (now Aventis), and Eli Lilly – challenged traditional medicine with the resources of modern capitalism. In turn, Chinese companies entered the new commercial markets: the Tianjin Pharmaceutical Factory, founded in 1921, used western methods to produce and market traditional Chinese medicines. The sheets shown here advertise a mix of European and Asian products, using ideal feminine and masculine images as well as the Tian An Men (Gate of Heavenly Peace). Ads for progesterone and methyltestosterone show the appeal of potent over-the-counter hormone therapies. 21 April 2010
About the Collection The C. V. Starr East Asian Library's run of Ling long women's magazine is one of the most complete outside China, acquired, we believe, in the late 1930s or early 1940s as part of a concerted effort to enlarge Columbia University's Chinese-language holdings. The collection expanded dramatically in the years between 1938 and 1941 when the holdings more than doubled, thanks to a special grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Chinese Paper Gods Collection Essays The images in this collection were assembled by Anne S. Goodrich (1895–2005) in 1931, when as a Christian missionary in Peking she became interested in local folk religious practices. She studied the paper gods in this collection for much of her life. After publishing her research conclusions in 1991, she donated these prints to the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, Columbia University. The images are divided initially by usage: Those which were purchased to be burned immediately and serve as emissaries to heaven; and those which were purchased to be displayed for a year while offering protection to the family in a variety of ways, before being burned. The images are further divided by display locations and by the deities they represent.