Doctor's lady

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Ivory doctor's lady, c. 1850

A Doctor's lady is a small figurine depicting a nude or nearly nude female, usually said to have been used by traditional Chinese male physicians to allow a female patient to indicate the location of her discomfort in a modest fashion, without showing or pointing to her own body.[1] "Doctor's ladies" may be made from various materials such as ivory, resin, semiprecious stone, or soapstone, and are typically from 10 to 25 cm long, often with a base in the form of a couch. Examples are known from the Ming and Qing periods. Smaller amulets of the same design are common, but many of these are probably netsuke or ornamental amulets, not designed for practical use.


  1. ^ Heller, Tania (2012). You and Your Doctor: A Guide to a Healing Relationship, with Physicians' Insights. McFarland & Company. p. 66.