'Hu Qing Yu House,' Chines Medicine Museum
At #95 Dajing Xiang in Hangzhou is one of the rare remain commercial establishments from the late Qing period that is in its original condition. This is the famous southern-Chinese medicine house of Hu Qing Yu. Today, this house has been restored and made into China's first Chinese pharmacopoeia museum.
It is said that the predecessor to Hu Qing Yu was a medicaments maker in the southern Song dynasty. By the time of the Tongzhi 13th year of the Qingdynasty (1874), an Anhui businessman named Hu Xueyan built the national brandname of Hu Qing Yu on this foundation, and in the process started China's most famous pharmacy.
Stepping over the simple doorjamb and through an austere door, one passes through a corridor on which hang many illustrations of fables and tales that relate to the medicaments of the house. On the opposite wall are hung more than thirty brand names of famous medicines. Once one reaches the great hall of the actual enterprise, a gold?lacquered wooden high counter is always one's first impression. Behind it is a cabinet 'of a hundred eyes,' holding many small drawers which hold as many potent remedies.
The rear room of the enterprise was used by what were called counter-watchers, the accountants who tallied up the actual transactions. This was the main place for sellingthe goods. Today it has become the Hu Qing Yu Chinese Medicine Museum exhibition hall. All kinds of ancient implements and artifacts used in the conduct of the herbal medicine business are on display here. Further back in the building is where the medicine was made. Herds of deer were once kept behind the house, that were used in the making of the medicine known as Meihua Lu. Before a deer was killed, a sign would be hung out to advertise this fact and to attract people to come watch, in order to prove that Hu Qing Yu used only authentic materials in its 'Deer Pills.'
Qing Yu's ancient architecture not only has historical and artistic value,
but it is also interesting in terms of the history of the business. It
is said that Hu Xueyan did some calculations and figured out that building
this establishment would cost him 200,000 taels
City, Dajing Xiang, #95