•  Fito Museum - The museum of Traditional Medicine in District 10 Saigon (HCMC)
  • Fito Museum - The museum of Traditional Medicine in District 10 Saigon (HCMC)

  • on Jan 12, 2019       By: LucyH
  • As the first traditional medicine museum in Vietnam, Fito Museum has an appearance of a normal villa. The unique feature is that the house has a quiet black ebony fence and two bamboo shrubs planted on both sides of the gate to enhance the museum's antiquity and serenity. Although it has exhibited more than 3,000 artifacts according to different collections as a library of Vietnamese traditional medicine, Fito Museum is not widely known. One of the reason possibly is it locates at the end of the Hoang Du Khuong road which is relatively narrow and difficult to find.

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    Time-honoured but cozy

    Stepping in the doorstep, visitors will not be disappointed when they can immerge themself in a cozy, ancient and warm space that’s full of the smell of herbs. Most rooms are decorated with yellowish painted wood (ancient yellow lacquer painting). The altar of two originators of the Vietnamese medical industry: Tue Tinh and Hai Thuong Lan Ong were placed solemnly in the middle of the house. On both sides of the altar hung two horizontal panels, a pair of tigers made of wood as an ancestor altar of the well-to-do old houses. Many house frames dating from the late 19th century are collected by owners from the Northern Delta.

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    The stairs are made of black wood. The columns, staircase handrails are finely carved. Even elevators are also tiled with wood and delicate patterns. Each floor of the museum has a green space with trees and some easy-to-grow herbs like  mint, porridge etc. Thus, in the quietness and the cold shade of the old house, just by pushing the heavy wooden door, visitors can receive the light of the gentle sun and wind in that small green garden.

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    Honor Vietnamese traditional medicine

    Fito Museum is displaying more than three thousand artifacts and presenting them in different collections. The most significant is the collection of Dao Cau (the specialized herbology cutting knife) and Thuyen Tan (The tool kit consists of a mortar shaped like a small boat and a canopy shaped like a rolling plate, used to crush herbology). These two tools have been used since ancient times until today. Therefore, the collection has all kinds of tools: stone, copper, earthenware, wood, cast iron etc. The oldest artifact in the collection is the stone slab with traces of canopy, found on the bottom of the Red River , has dated since the sixth century.

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    The warm cup of medicine has a number of cups that are collected from ancient pharmacies, and the name of the medicine is also written in the cup. In addition, there are many medical-related collections: medicine weighing, pestle mortar, super medicine, medicine jar ... with many artifacts: wood in prescription, Hoa Mai pottery, prescription. ..
    A special feature of the museum is the reconstruction of two North and South pharmacies. Each pharmacy has a medicine stand, on hand to hold the arm to catch the pulse, weigh it to weigh the medicine. The medicine cabinet has 81 compartments according to the lucky number conception of the old pharmacies. In particular, the medicine ladders hanging on the counter are packed with herbs to create a pleasant scent.

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    Medicine warehouses are places to systematize medicinal plants, animals, minerals etc. There is also a collection of Han-Nom books on traditional Vietnamese medicine with about 100,000 pages, including the precious and precious books of the famous Hai Thuong Lan Ong.
    Not only does the work of displaying and protecting the original artifacts, Fito Museum also carries the meaning of honoring traditional Vietnamese medicine. In addition to the altar worshiping the two medical groups, room No. 4 is also the place to display 15 simulated paintings with the biography of 15 famous medical names such as Chu Van An, Nguyen Truc and Nguyen Dai Nang. The most labor-intensive work of the museum is a picture of a Vietnamese tree that was carved with wood. This work was done in two years with 50 carpentry artists.

    Visit and experience
    Visitors to Fito Museum will be taken to the 5th floor by elevator, then walk down the lower floor by stairs for visiting. Please pay attention to high-heeled sandals because the stairs are wooden, you can create unwanted sounds with your high heels.
    In addition to the insulated objects in glass cabinets, visitors can touch the artifacts comfortably. Even the tour guide will put a pinch of cinnamon into the canopy so that visitors can crush the cinnamon themselves and enjoy the strong fragrance when the cinnamon bark is thinly dispersed. Go to the drugstore in the museum, visitors also get free medicine, free medical diagnosis.

    The last tour is seated on the exquisite carved wooden chairs in the cinema room to see a documentary about the history of Vietnamese traditional medicine. In the end, the Fito Museum will see off guests with a warm cup of red Ganoderma tea.

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    Fito Museum is located at 41 Hoang Du Khuong, Ward 12, District 10, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), is the first private museum founded by Mr. Le Khac Tam (director of a pharmaceutical company). The museum has a ground floor and five other floors, including 18 rooms for visitors. Entrance ticket price: VND 32,000 for adults and VND 16,000 for students and children. Particularly every Saturday, the museum is open for free for Vietnamese tourists

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