A man (Wan Wakae) with massive pendent tumours on the left side of his face. Gouache, 18--, after Lam Qua, ca. 1838.

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From Dr. Parker's report, case no. 5119, dated 1838: "The patient expressed a wish to have the large mass removed, but was impatient if others were touched. Considering the age of the man it seemed inexpedient to remove broad portions of the head, but it was easy to excind the unsightly jewel that hung dangling upon his breast, impeding his labour. It was more like cutting green ox hide than human flesh ... On the tenth day the ligatures came away and soon after the patient disappeared." Dr Parker recorded that the tumour was "lighter than a sarcomatous tumour of the same magnitude, possibly in consequence of its cannular structure." (Peter Parker's report, case no. 5119, dated 1838)



Physical description

1 painting : gouache ; sheet 52 x 35.6 cm



Bears number on verso: No. 22

References note

Stephen D. Rachman, The mysteries of Lam Qua: medical portraiture in China 1836-1855, website, http://www.historicalvoices.org/lamqua/index.php (accessed 30 July 2004)
Sander L. Gilman, 'Lam Qua and the development of a westernized medical iconography in China', Medical history, 1986, 30: 57-69
Larissa N. Heinrich, The afterlife of images: translating the pathological body between China and the West, Durham: Duke University Press, 2008


Wellcome Collection 643380i

Reproduction note

After: one of at least 115 paintings executed in Canton (Guangzhou) by Lam Qua, ca. 1830-1850, for the American missionary Peter Parker (1804-1888), and which are now (2004) in Yale Medical Library, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art (Cornell University), and the Gordon Museum, Guy's Hospital, London: see cited works by Gilman, Rachman and Heinrich. A painting in the Gordon Museum, Guy's Hospital, London, shows the same subject (Rachman, op. cit.): the tumours are described as Neurofibromatosis

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