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'Huqingyu House' Chinese-Medicine Museum
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'Hu Qing Yu House,' Chines Medicine Museum

house of Hu Qing Yu

The medicine house of Hu Qing Yu.

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.

A long corridor full of boards that introduce all kinds of medicine.

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.

Traditional pharmaceutical tools

Traditional pharmaceutical tools collected by the medicine house of Hu Qing Yu- a gold shovel and a silver pan

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.'

Hu 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
of silver. He reckoned that each year he would expend 2,000 taels, but still the income brought in by just having this building would far outweigh the cost of any other method of advertising. This was Hu Xueyan's rationale for building a quite expensive and handsome building. Anyone who came to his store would become a mouthpiece to advertise his wares: they would all take on the duty of promoting Hu Qing Yu. The logic seems to have worked.

The inscribed board that reads" No cheating" inscribed by the shop owner hung in the shop.
business hall of the medicine house of Hu Qing Yu.
The interior gate of the business hall of the medicine house of Hu Qing Yu.

Address: Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou City, Dajing Xiang, #95
Telephone: 0086-571-86992277
Fax: 86-571-86993828
Official Website: http://www.huqingyutang.com

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