Portrait No. 50

Lam Qua, 1801-1860
Physical Description:
61 cm. x 47 cm.
Framed, oil on board
Man in black cap with red ball finial. Tumor of left cheek and face.
Sixteenth Report of the Ophthalmic Hospital for the Year 1850 and 1851, printed at the office of the Chinese Repository. p. 23: No. 38785, February 17th, 1851. Glandular tumor, 2 ½ feet in circumference. The full history of this case as given by the patient, by request made on his entering to the Hospital, is as follows, and is interesting as it exhibits the state of Chinese surgery, and illustrates the feelings of the sufferer. The translation has been made by a friend: “Sié Kienhang, applying for medical aid, is a siúsái graduate belonging to the district of Pehliú, in the inferior department of Wuh-lin in the province of Kwángsi. His present age is thirty. Having a disease of old standing, which has not yet been removed, he begs the favor of being cured. It is now seven years since this cumbrous tumor began to form, and although it is true that I have been several times treated with a view to its cure; yet living as a dog in a retired corner, all the practitioners I have met with have been stupid hands, and the work has not been rightly done; and thus instead of the tumor being removed, the more that was to cure it, the larger it became, until at last I came to be truly without resource. (…) I proceed with respectful compliance with your orders to describe distinctly the origin of this malady, and the various changes which have taken place in its form and appearance up to the present time.
“This tumor upon my face first appeared in May 1846. Previous to its appearance there was a deficiency in the vital stamina, and the body was generally debilitated; and whenever I accidentally took cold, I was affected with a kind of confusion in the head and eyes, and after suffering from vomiting and diarrhea for one or two days, all on a sudden an excrescence appeared on the left cheek opposite the mouth, of about the size and shape of a betel-nut. It did not give pain, and if pressed by the hand could be moved up and down; at this time there were some who said it was a swelling of the cheek, others said that it was a growth in the course of formation. All the doctors made use of herbal medicines fitted for counteracting poisons, and for scattering concretions of blood, with the view of removing it: but the more these were applied, the more it grew in size. They proved utterly useless.
During the 3rd year a doctor in my native place who boasted of his abilities, endeavored to cure it. He punctured the excrescence with an iron probe, and drew from it several cupfuls of fresh blood; when the blood ceased to flow and formed as it were a thread, he inserted a medicinal arrow (seton) into the aperture in order to form pus, saying that thus it would be dissolved. At that time, it did not five much pain, and continued to form pus, but when the wire had been inserted for three or four days, the pain entered the very heart’s pores, and my sufferings were insupportable.”
(…)On the 5th March, 1851, assisted by Dr. Marjoribanks, and Dr. Stewart, surgeon of the Bengal Rifles, in the presence of Dr. Bowring and the Bishop of Victoria, and several other gentlemen, the tumor was successfully extirpated. The tumor was situated upon the left side of his face, was two and a quarter feet in circumference, extending from the eye to the shoulder, and distorting the mouth, which he was scarcely able to close. It was highly vascular, and the superficial veins numerous and large. On the 2nd of April the patient was discharged in good health and spirits, and with comparatively little disfigurement. On leaving he presented the following couplet: “One book of healing wisdom he to regions far imparts, And thousand verdant orange trees by the fountains side he plants.” (…) This patient was a literary man of good talents, and naturally an amiable disposition. He was a most attentive listener of the truth of the Gospel during his whole stay in the Hospital, and appeared intellectually, at least, convinced of the truth and excellence of Christianity.”
Donated by Peter Parker to the Yale School of Medicine and transferred to the Historical Library.
Variant Titles:
Sié Kienhang
Medicine, Chinese
Missions and Missionaries
Missions, Medical
Case No. 38785
Parker, Peter, 1804-1888
Sié Kienhang
paintings (AAT)
Content Type:
Paintings & Drawings
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Access Restrictions:
Source Title:
Peter Parker Collection
Yale Collection:
Cushing/Whitney Medical Library
Digital Collection:
Lam Qua's Portraits of Peter Parker's Patients