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[Perspectives] Encounters with Indian medicine

In 1911, an Indian-born medical doctor called Paira Mall was recruited by Henry Wellcome’s Historical Medical Museum in London, UK. Overseen by its curator, C J S Thompson, Mall was sent to collect objects from the south Asian subcontinent; artifacts that would capture the art and science of healing throughout the ages, as well as medicinal plants for Wellcome’s chemical research labs in the UK. Mall was well travelled, having served as an army surgeon in the Russo–Japanese War. A linguist and an expert in Asian cultures, he was by then fluent in German, French, Italian, Sanskrit, Persian, Hindi, Punjabi, and Arabic (as well as in English).