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Know Your RemediesPharmacy and Culture in Early Modern China$
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He Bian

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691179049

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691179049.001.0001

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The Marketplace and the Shop

The Marketplace and the Shop

(p.126) 5 The Marketplace and the Shop
Know Your Remedies

He Bian

Princeton University Press

This chapter describes the commodification of the wholesale and retail trades of pharmaceuticals since late Ming times and assesses the contribution of mercantile actors to the overall discourse of pharmacy. In particular, the chapter examines the cultural significance of the medicinal marketplace through two interconnected case studies. First is the rise of a sub-county-level market town named Zhangshu, located in the Jiangxi Province, where wholesale traders of materia medica gathered and traded, and supplies from all over the country were pulled together for redistribution. Second, the chapter revisits the well-documented history of the pharmacy Tongrentang (Hall of Common Humanity), which opened for business in Beijing circa 1702. The argument here is that metropolitan pharmacies like Tongrentang could only exist and function after an integrated wholesale market came into existence in the late Ming.

Keywords:   commodification, pharmaceutical trades, mercantile actors, medicinal marketplace, Zhangshu, Tongrentang, metropolitan pharmacies, wholesale markets

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