Capsule

An artist and a medical missionary collaborate

Together, Peter Parker and Lam Qua produced an enduring record of medical care in China in the 1800s.

In 1834, within a month of his graduation from the Medical Institution of Yale College and his ordination as a Presbyterian minister, Peter Parker departed for China as a medical missionary. A year after his arrival in Guangzhou he started a hospital to treat eye diseases and began a collaboration with portrait artist Lam Qua through which both men would leave their mark on medicine.Parker went to China with the hope that by healing his patients’ bodies he would open the door to their souls. British and American patrons provided financial support for his Ophthalmic Hospital, over which he hung a sign that read in Chinese, “Hospital of Universal Love,” and which provided medical services at no charge. In...

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