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Huqingyutang Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum

huqingyutang, traditional chinese medicine museum
The Hall Gate of Huqingyutang

Huqingyutang(胡庆余堂), also called National Traditional Medicine Hall of Huqingyutang is a time-honored historic site in Hangzhou. Hall of Huqingyu is the literal translation of Huqingyutang. Hu Xueyan(1823-1885) ,a famous figure of late Qing Dyansty and the representative of Huizhou Merchants, established Huqingyutang in 1874 when Qing Dynasty was under the reign of Emperor Tongzhi. Hu Xueyan was historically known as the Red-Hat Businessman(红顶商人, merchants wearing the red-color official hat in Qing Dynasty, or merchants doing business in the name of official, who is just like today’s leaders of state-owned companies in China). Hu Xueyan made a great contribution to Zuo Zongtang’s beating down the riot of northwest China, and the Qing government awarded him a lot both materially and spiritually. Hu Qingyu could exclusively rode the horse in Forbidden City of Beijing and awarded the Emperors’ Yellow Jacket(黄马褂). Hu Xueyan for the sake of helping the people finally established Huqingyutang on the lakeside of West Lake and at the north foot of Wushan Hill. Huqingyutang is famous for researching and developing the patent medicine based on the medicine classics of imperial library of Song Dynasty and the fixed secret medicine of different dynasties. Today, it is still famous nationwide. Huqingyutang in Hangzhou is the only counterpart of Tongrentang(同仁堂, Traditional Medicine Hall of Equivalent Benevolence) in Beijing. It is also the highlights of cultural and historic attractions surrounding Hangzhou West Lake Scenic Area.

Hu Xueyan
The Portrait of Hu Xueyan

Huqingyutang Medicine Hall famous as the Medicine King of Jiangnan(江南药王, Medicine King of East China or Yangtze River Delta) is a magnificent ancient building complex on the Hefang Ancient Street, and today, it plays a role of Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum. Why is it named Huqingyutang. The origin is from Chinese classics called Book of Changes, a special quotation of this book is The benevolence-collecting family certainly has the extra felicity, and the evil family surely has the extra misfortune(积善之家,必有余庆; 积不善之家,必有余殃). According to this saying, Hu Xueyang named this medicine hall to be Yuqingtang, but later some people told him that Qin Hui used to use this name, so he changed it as Qingyutang. The whole medicine hall is a classical garden featured of the Jiangnan architectural style. Currently, it is the best-preserved National Traditional Medicine Hall and domestically completed ancient building complex featuring Huizhou-style business architectural complex of Qing Dynasty. The whole architectural complex at the food of Hushan Hill looks like a sacred crane. In China, there is a saying like this: The northern China has Tongrentang, and the southern China has Qingyutang. Though China has many traditional medicine halls, the most famous ones consist of two and half ones, and two are Huqingyutang and Tongrentang, and the half is Chenliji(陈李济) of Guangdong province. Compared to Huqingyutang, Tongrentang and Cheliji are both seriously broken, and today’s buildings were both newly rebuilt. Huqingyutang is the only preserved one keeping the traditional appearance.

huqingyutang, traditional chinese medicine museum
The Huge Chinese Characters Written on the Wall of Huqingyutang, Chinese only Traditional Medicine Museum

Huqingyutang National Traditional Medicine Hall also known as China’s only national-class professional and themed Traditional Medicine Museum acts as the multi-oriented roles. The visitors travel here can specially learn about the essence of Chinese traditional medicine and see the ancient architectural complex of Huqingyutang. It at present is cultural and historic site under the national level protection. The whole exhibition area is over 4,000 square meters and comprised of the displaying hall, the traditional medicine workshop show, health care examination, business hall and herb-themed serving room. It is a good place to see the development history of traditional Chinese medicine and the anecdotes of ancient medicine masters like Hua Tuo, Bian Que and Li Shizhen. In workshop displaying hall, visitors can see many experienced medicine workers performing the techniques of medicine operation. The herb-themed serving hall is the organic part of Traditional Medicine Museum. It features the combination of Chinese traditional cuisine and traditional medicine to take care of the health when enjoying Chinese dishes.

The Plaque of The Real and
Unchanged Price

After Hu Xueyan passed away, Huqingyutang was transferred for several times and operated by different people, but the name still remains”Hu” in memory of Hu Xueyan. Sing South Song Dynasty to Ming and Qing Dynasties, Qinghefang ancient street is featured with a long corridor of medicine shops, and the famous ones like Huqingyutang(胡庆余堂) of Qing Dynasty, Baohetang(保和堂, Harmony-Maintenance Hall ) of South Song Dynasty, Zhu Yangxin Plaster Shop(朱养心膏药店) of Ming Dynasty, Yezhongdetang(叶种德堂, Virtue-Planting Hall of Ye Family) and Fanghuichuntang(方回春堂, Hall of Fanghuichun) of late Qing Dynasty. Among these famous medicine shops, Huqingyutang thoroughly inherits the pharmacy technique and industry regulations according to the officially-composed documents to administrate the medicine industry. Huqingyutang has the favorable tradition. The legacy of Huqingyutang is the quintessence of Chinese traditional business culture and also one of the reasons to keep Huqingyutang vigorous. One of these legacies is the philosophical principle of Chinese people’s interrelations: Prohibiting Deceit(戒欺)

The Benevolent Method. Today, the gate of Huqingyutang still remains four Chinese characters”是乃仁术”(This is the method to reach benevolence) shown by Hu Xueyan, the founder of this time-honored medicine shop. This saying is from The Analects of Mencius, a classic of Confucianism, and it reflects the benevolence of ancient people to treat the patients and the values of cordiality and honesty.

The Outside of Huqingyutang

The Real and Unchanged Price. Huqingyutang strictly follows the ancient regulations and standards: The raw material must be real and high-quality and the making procedure must be elaborate and delicate(采办务真,修制务精). The whole medicine must be superior, and the real medicine and price are highly emphasized in competition. Today, in the main hall of the museum, visitors can directly see the spotlighted plaque written with”真不二价”.

Prohibiting Deceit. Huqingyutang attaches importance to prohibit the cheat. The famous plaque of Jie Qi (Prohibiting Deceit, 戒欺) was written by Hu Xueyan. He cautioned the staff against cheating the customers and said:”The deceit is forbidden in hundreds of industries, and the medicine industry is directly connected with human life, and deceit is absolutely prohibited”. This is the core of Chinese traditional medicine culture.


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Writer: David from Seeraa International
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