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Amuletic Board, China, 1801-1900

This board is known as a joss-board and is hung on doors to prevent the entry of devils and evils spirits. One of the more ancient aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was the belief that spirits, ancestors and demons interfere with the body and cause illness. The symbol carved at the top of the wooden board is known as a Pa-Kau. The central red and black symbol represents the forces of yin and yang. In TCM, health is represented as a balance of these forces. The outer arrangement of the circles of lines represents different aspects of yin and yang as well as different parts of the body.

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    Glossary: amulet

    Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.

    Glossary: Traditional Chinese Medicine

    Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a medical tradition originating in China, but now used worldwide. Treatments include herbal medicine, massage and acupuncture, which are combined to create a therapy tailored to the patient.