Artifact of the Month

S.L. Fong, Chinese Herbalist

These silk embroidered wall hangings, donated to the Museum in 1990 by Lillian Bava, were from Chinese Herbalist Suey Lung Fong.  S.L. Fong was an experienced herbalist with a shop located at 325 S. San Joaquin Street in Stockton.  His Chinese herb shop was the last one in Stockton when he retired in 1973.  Both of the wall hangings offer, “Best Wishes for Health, Guard it with Herbs.”

S.L. Fong was a prominent member of Stockton’s Chinese community.  He was active in the Confucius Church and the Chinese Language School.  In 1987, he received the Chinese Cultural Society of Stockton’s Outstanding Citizens award.  Mr. Fong passed away on April 24, 1992 and is buried in the Chinese Cemetery in French Camp.  The park behind Peyton Elementary School is named for Mr. Fong has a playground, barbeque and picnic areas, basketball courts, and athletic fields.  The Fong Family valued higher education.  San Joaquin Delta College offers the S.L. Fong and Florence Lum Fong Memorial Scholarship to full-time Pre-Medicine students of Chinese descent, transferring to UC Berkeley.

Birds are prominent figures in Chinese culture.  Frequently seen in Chinese art is the rooster surrounded by chrysanthemums.  The rooster represents fidelity, punctuality, and good fortune on a brand new start.  The Chinese characters on this embroidered panel literally translate to chicken, chrysanthemum, delay (postpone or defer), and year.  Surrounded by peonies, the peacock symbolizes happiness, luck, nobility, beauty, and power.  The literal translations for the Chinese characters on this panel are folding screen, open, abundant, and expensive or valuable.

Chinese New Year begins on Friday, February 12.  The holiday marks the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar.  The celebration occurs on the second new moon after the winter solstice (December 21) and usually falls between January 21 and February 20.  This year we celebrate the Year of the Ox, the second of twelve signs in the Chinese zodiac.  Those born in 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, or 2021 are said to have the following personality traits: diligent, dependable, strong, and determined.  To learn more about Chinese New Year visit:

Description of Collections

The San Joaquin County Historical Museum maintains a collection of objects representative of the history of San Joaquin County.  These objects include:
  • Furnishings and household goods from the family of Capt. Charles M. Weber
  • Furnishings and household goods of William and Julia Micke
  • Textiles, quilts, clothing, and Chinese theatrical costumes
  • Native Peoples baskets and objects
  • Toys and recreational equipment
  • Tractors and agricultural equipment
  • Tools, wagons, and motor vehicles

The San Joaquin County Historical Society accepts donations of artifacts, photographs, and documents on behalf of the County of San Joaquin.  Donations to the collection are accepted based on their relevance to the social, political, agricultural, industrial, technological, economic, and cultural heritage of San Joaquin County.

For more information about donating artifacts contact Julie Blood, Collections and Exhibits Manager at  


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