Digital Commonwealth

Tumors among the Chinese

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Tumors among the Chinese
Many of the patients treated at the Ophthalmic Hospital in Canton by Peter Parker in the 1830s were immortalized in large color portraits produced by the artist Lam Qua (1801-1860). This album contains rare watercolor studies for a number of the Lam Qua paintings, including views of Po Ashing before and after amputation of his arm. Peter Parker's journal from November 1836 contains his notes on this case: "Po Ashing, age 23, entered the hospital Nov. 3, 1836. Six years since, he fell from a horse and broke the humerus of the left arm. Union so far took place as to render the arm serviceable, till six months since, in a crowd at a "sing song," it was broken again. From that time, according to his statement, the arm gradually became larger till it had attained its present enormous size. Beside being painful, the weight of it drew him quite to one side. There was no doubt of its containing fluid. I punctured the arm, supposed that possibly it might contain pus. A dark greenish fluid escaped, with considerable force, but soon became darker and more bloody. The lancet was reentered nearly its whole length; the same discharge continued with a greater proportion of venous blood; 32 ounces in all were discharged. All were agreed that the only chance of life was the removal of the arm." Watercolor portraits of Po Ashing before and after the amputation of his arm because of a large tumor, painted by Lam Qua
Lam, Qua
Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Collection (local):
Boston Medical Library
Boston Medical Library Rare Books Collection (23.X.10a)
Boston Medical Library
Watercolors (paintings)
Lam, Qua
2 watercolor portraits
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Gift of Dr. J. Collins Warren to the Boston Medical Library, 1887