Ivory netsuke in the form of doctor and patient

1871-1900 in Japan

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Ivory figure depicting a doctor taking a patient's pulse. Front view. Red background, fading to black.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Ivory figure, depicting a doctor feeling the pulse of a woman patient, signed Chikaaki, Japan, late 1800s

A doctor is feeling the pulse of his female patient in this small ivory netsuke. Netsuke are toggle-like ornaments used to hang objects, such as medicine boxes or tobacco pouches, from the sash of a kimono – a traditional form of Japanese dress.

In Traditional Chinese medicine and traditional Japanese medicine, the pulse is believed to be an indication of how strong or weak the energy force, known as qi, is within the body.

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Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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Ivory netsuke


Asian Medicine
Object Number:
complete, ivory and paint
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sculpture
Loan, Wellcome Trust

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