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Xuan Hu Ji Shi (Hanging a Bottle-gourd to Offer Medical Help)
Xuan Hu Ji Shi is a phrase praising those who practice medicine or pharmaceutical science in order to relieve the pain and sufferings of others.
 
 
Behind this phrase is a mythical story.  In the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), there was an official named Fei Changfang who was in charge of the management of a market.  One day he was sitting upstairs and saw an old man selling herbal medicines in the middle of the crowded market.  A bottle-gourd was hung up above him.  
 
 
The strange thing surprised him was that when the gathering market was finished, he saw the old man jumped into the bottle-gourd and disappeared.  Fei Changfang was so surprised and concluded that the old man must be an extraordinary man. 
 
 
He went to visit the old man later.
 
 
 
The old man led him into the bottle-gourd, too.  There was a grand palace with a fancy meal on a table.  They both enjoyed the big meal before they came out.  The old man said to him: “I am immortal.  I made mistakes in the heaven and as a punishment was sent down to the earth.  Now it is time for me to go back.  Would you like to follow me and learn medicine?” 
 
Fei Changfang decided to do so and went to study medicine with him in mountains.  Later he began to practice medicine to treat patients.
This is just a mythical story. Since then those who practice medicine or selling herbal medicines usually had a bottle-gourd hanging above their clinics or pharmacy.  As a symbol, when a new pharmacy or clinic opened, people often gave a bottle-gourd as a congratulation gift.
 
 


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