Ivory diagnostic figure

1801-1900 in China

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Ivory diagnostic figure, reclining. Chinese. Front view. White background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Ivory diagnostic figure, reclining on main part of upholstered wooden couch, Chinese

Not much is known about ivory figures showing women reclining on wooden couches with padded silk cushions. Historians believed that the figures were used by women when consulting their doctors to point out where their body hurt or was ill, perhaps to prevent embarrassment and any touching that would have been inappropriate. However, this has now been dismissed as a myth.


Asian Medicine
Object Number:
A39572 Pt2
couch, wood, cloth and figure, ivory
overall weight: x x , , .021kg
diagnostic figure

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