Doctor's shop sign

Made:
1800-1936 in China
maker:
Unknown

Wooden doctor's signboard, inscribed, hung with human teeth, Chinese

The Chinese characters inscribed on the wooden sign translate into English as ‘Doctor for treating miscellaneous diseases’. 25 human teeth are threaded on each of the half metre-long threads. It is unknown why human teeth are used on this doctor’s sign. They likely indicate the doctor specialised in tooth pulling. The human teeth were a visual aid for people who could not read to identify the doctor’s trade.

Details

Category:
Asian Medicine
Object Number:
A642963
Materials:
card, human teeth, metal, string, wood
Measurements:
overall weight: x x , , .835kg
type:
shop sign
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sign - promotional or advertising artefact
credit:
Wellcome Trust

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