22 October 2009

Tibetan doctor with 12th century medical text

In the post below this one I've embedded photos from the Wellcome Image Awards. I selected those for beauty and scientific value, but the top photo here is to my mind even more awe-inspiring. Here's the caption:
Amchi Tala, a Tibetan doctor, holding precious medical books in a remote region of Western Tibet: the 'Gyu Shi' ('Four Tantras'), the fundamental Tibetan medical classic written in the 12th century, and a manuscript on compounding medicines, written by previous generations of Amchi Tala's medical family.
Below the portrait is a photo also from Wellcome, who note that later commentaries to the 12th-century text contain illustrations such as this one that depict the body of medical knowledge – materia medica – of plants and animals used in the production of Tibetan medicine.

Click to enlarge the lower photo, and imagine holding in your hands an 800-year-old medical text or an herbal filled with such illustrations. The thought just staggers me.

1 comment:

  1. I want one. Actually, I'd rather have a facsimile, and allow the original to be in a museum that is qualified to care for such a treasure.



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