Chinesische Medicine

Diagnostic doll


An important element in the examination of the patient in China is the feeling of the pulse. The doctor first felt on the right wrist, then on the left wrist.

The patient only had to stretch her arm through the closed bed curtains so that the doctor could detect the pulse symptoms - the examination of the body became more sensitive, especially in patients.
The Western-influenced doctor, the examination of the female patient is a matter of course, the Intimsphaere inclusive - on the shame, he is usually magnificent. Unlike the situation in China, where it used to be a good thing that a woman never showed herself to a man, the doctor was no exception. Ladies used small statuettes to show the doctor the place of the discomfort - upper-class ladies had their own figurines that they could send to a doctor through a messenger. For simpler patients, the doctor brought his own doll.

"The carvings were used in China from the 1600s until as late as the 1940s" (Dr. William M. Strait, 1970).

The figurines always show women, always in the same pose, with their left arm raised and their hair pinned up, always naked, except for the feet, which are either not shown or clothed. Most figurines are made of porcelain and ivory. The figures were taken over in the early 18th century in European medicine, now no longer to the use of the patient, but to support the teaching operation: around 1700, Stephan ZICK (1639-1715) made in Nuremberg anatomical "pupae" made of ivory, u.a. with the portrayal of pregnant women.

Exhibit: 11 cm wooden statuette.
A beautiful collection is found at




Bause GS., Antique Chinese diagnostic dolls, in: Anesthesiology. 2010 Mar;112(3):513.

Dittrick H., Chinese medicine dolls, in: Bull Hist Med. 1952 Sep-Oct;26(5):422-9.