Late-Qing Herbal Medicine Cutter

Arts & Crafts Museum Hangzhou

Arts & Crafts Museum Hangzhou

This is a tool used by pharmacies during the late Qing period to cut traditional Chinese herbal medicines. With a short wood handle that tilts inwards at the end, it has a blade in the shape similar to a trapezoid. On one of the two side lines of the trapezoid, there is a geometric bulge with a small round hole, which is used to fasten one tip of the blade onto a trough containing herbs, that would be cut into shreds by the user pressing the handle down repetitiously with the edge against the herb. Thanks to the large and broad blade, such medicine cutters could also be used to chop thick roots or branches. On one side of the blade there is an inscription of “by Li Deshun of Mingji on Pipa Street, 1.6 yuan”.

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  • Title: Late-Qing Herbal Medicine Cutter
  • Physical dimensions: Overall length: 25cm, maximal width: 18cm
  • Dynasty: Late Qing (ca. Late 19th and early 20th century)


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