Your browser does not support JavaScript!



[2019/04/02] Even Gods Know How to Prescribe Medicine? the NYMU Art Cube Exhibits Precious Historical Yaoqian Materials

The opening ceremony of the “Yaoqian Exhibition”


In order to help faculty members and students understand early Taiwanese medical culture, National Yang-Ming University and “Morbid Aesthetics” have worked together to hold “A Faithful Heart Makes Wishes Come True!  Taiwanese Yaoqian Cultural Exhibition.” This started on March 20th and will be open for one month at the “NYMU Art Cube.” This exhibition features the Taiwanese Yaoqian culture found in temples and the school has specifically borrowed real yaoqians from the Daguanyin Pavilion and the Xingji Temple in Tainan. These yaoqians have been transcribed and explained by Dr. Chen from Sinying Hospital under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and Welfare and “Morbid Aesthetics” curator Huang.


When medical science was still underdeveloped, yaoqian was a popular folk therapy. It involved going to the temple for a prescription from the Temple's God. Similar to hospitals, temples categorize yaoqians into “adult medicine,” “pediatrics,” “ophthalmology” and “surgery”, even dividing these into male and female.” For example, the traditional God Mazu is a sea god and strong sandy winds from the sea can cause discomfort in the eyes. Therefore, there is a saying that you must “go to Mazu for eye consultations and the Baosheng Emperor for internal medicine.” Dr. Chen remarked that the prescriptions provided by yaoqian are simple, dosages are light, and when linked to devout faith, people usually think they are effective.



  The yaoqian exhibition is attracting students and allowing them to experience the yaoqian culture.


Director of the NYMU Center for Arts and Humanities, Prof. Huang, remarked that, in the past, when medical resources were scare, yaoqians were a very common therapy. Using the method of throwing “poe” and thus getting a prescription from the appropriate God, patients were able to fully express their feelings. In the process of asking the God and getting treatment, people received psychological support, which is very different to modern medical care where physical treatments are dominant. This exhibition hopes to remind students that the physician-patient relationship is not only pieces of paper, a hard-disk filled with data or a prescription, but also involves caring for and communication with the patient.


Recent generations have slowly become more out of touch with Taiwanese temple culture, including yaoqians. People born in the 80s and 90s do not seem to even know what yaoqians are. Director Huang hopes that through this collaborative exhibition with the temples and with Chinese pharmacies, young students in Taiwan can begin to learn about our own local culture and also preserve material linked to Taiwanese medical history.


The yaoqian exhibition will be held at the Art Cube for one month.