Chinese Canadian Artifacts Project

Item NAN_1993.040.001 - Herbalist Chest (Merchandising T&E)

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Herbalist Chest (Merchandising T&E)

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  • Object

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Reference code

CA NAN NAN_1993.040.001

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1993-11-01 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

wood, pine ?; wood, persimmon

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Custodial history

Scope and content

The chest was made in China c. 1910 and brought to Nanaimo prior to World War I by Wong Kee (a.k.a. Wong Wah Soon) for use in his herbalist shop, Dai Song Tong or Keep You Alive Drugstore located at 10 Pine Street in Nanaimo's Chinatown. Wong Kee was a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine. He operated Dai Song Tong until the early 1920s. There are eighty small drawers, ten larger drawers and a door compartment in the bottom in the chest. Each drawer has a brass handle and Chinese characters painted in gold in each of the four corners. Individual ingredients for making traditional Chinese treatments were stored in each drawer. The chest was brought to the home of one of his daughters prior to the Chinatown fire in September 1960.

Notes area

Physical condition

Very good condition. Dull patina on brass. Dents, scratches on top edge. On proper right side are 4 grey/green scratches approximately 15 cm long near the back, and 2 scratches approximately 12 cm long near front. 1 of 2 cupboard ring handles missing.

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644 KiB


June 11, 2015 8:51 AM

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