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Folding tortoiseshell spectacles with case, Chinese, 1801-1900

These tortoiseshell spectacles fold into a matching, portable case. This has a cord attachment so it can be easily carried. Tortoiseshell was expensive and indicates a wealthy owner. The Chinese inscription on the case gives information about the maker: ‘Mr. K.Y. Chui, manufacturer of ....crystal goods, glass-ware, and various kinds of spectacles. His business establishment was situated in the Long Life lane; outside the Peaceful Gate of the Canton province.’ Spectacles may have been used in China as early as the 1100s.

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Glossary: ophthalmology

The branch of medicine dealing with the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways (usually the eyes or the brain).

Glossary: optometry

The professional practice of eye and vision care. Optometry includes the correction of visual defects with lenses or glasses.