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New York museum to unveil groundbreaking show on traditional Chinese medicine

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-03-28 10:00

A pharmacist for Chinese medicine is supervised by a doctor in Fuyang, East China's Anhui province, on March 15, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

NEW YORK -- The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is to unveil two groundbreaking exhibitions next month in New York City on Chinese medicine and practices in America through historical medical artifacts and contemporary art.

Chinese Medicine in America: Converging Ideas, People and Practices and On the Shelves of Kam Wah Chung & Co. will both be on view at the museum in Manhattan's Chinatown from April 26 through Sept 9, 2018.

"These exhibitions break new ground by promoting a multi-faceted discussion of how ancient Chinese medicine principles and practices evolve when circumstances and space demand its change," said Nancy Yao Maasbach, MOCA's president, in a press release.

"By seeing how we treat illness and maintain our health, we hope visitors can learn about the ancient philosophical concepts that are the backbone of Chinese culture," said Herb Tam, MOCA's Curator and Director of Exhibitions.

"For a period of time in America, Chinese medicine seemed relegated to the past -- particularly in contrast to the high-tech advances made in biomedicine during the 20th century. But it is fortunate that much has been preserved and brought forward, as Chinese medicine is relevant today in our evolving understanding of the human body, medical sensibilities, and the nature of health and healing," said Donna Mah, a faculty member of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in New York.

The exhibition Chinese Medicine in America: Converging Ideas, People and Practices tells a cross-cultural story of Chinese medicine and practices in America through historical medical artifacts, contemporary art, and profiles on notable figures in Chinese medicine history to create an engaging space for exploring how medicine, philosophy and history are linked.

On the Shelves of Kam Wah Chung & Co.: General Store and Apothecary in John Day, Oregon, is an immersive historical exhibition that celebrates the medical practice of Ing "Doc" Hay who became a prominent figure in eastern Oregon after the California Gold Rush.

Ing Hay, who immigrated to the United States in 1887, brought his knowledge of herbology and pulsology to a remote part of Oregon during a time when Western medicine was still in its infancy.

Through the presentation of the historical Kam Wah-chung general store, the exhibition includes Chinese patent medicines developed by the doctor, archival materials such as historical photos, patient records and correspondences with non-Chinese settlers.

It also provides an illustration of day-to-day life in the region, and a lesser-known history of Chinese immigration in the Pacific Northwest.

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