Amuletic Board, China, 1801-1900

1801-1900 in China

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Science Museum Group Collection
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Wooden plaque, called a joss-board, carved in low relief, hung on the door to prevent the entry of devils, China, 1800s

This board is known as a joss-board and is hung on doors to prevent the entry of devils and evils spirits. One of the more ancient aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was the belief that spirits, ancestors and demons interfere with the body and cause illness.

The symbol carved at the top of the wooden board is known as a Pa-Kau. The central red and black symbol represents the forces of yin and yang. In TCM, health is represented as a balance of these forces. The outer arrangement of the circles of lines represents different aspects of yin and yang as well as different parts of the body.


Asian Medicine
Object Number:
complete, metal (unknown), paint and wood (unidentified)
On loan from the Wellcome Trust

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