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Critical Methods in Tibetan Medical Histories
The Journal of Asian Studies
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2007
Pages: 363 - 387
Source ID: shanti-sources-98941
Abstract: [This paper addresses the development of scholastic medical traditions in Tibet through an examination of lists of physicians. I consider the debates that such lists and their accompanying narratives engender for Tibetan historians and reflect on the contributions they make to the identity of the medical tradition. By examining the structure and content of classificatory methods in medical histories, I argue that temporally organized lists document the place of medicine across time, geographically organized lists document the reach of medical knowledge across space, and thematically organized lists document the intertwining of medical knowledge and skill with other aspects of intellectual and civil life. In making these lists, medical historians paint a portrait of the Tibetan medical tradition that evokes connections to Buddhism and the strength and cosmopolitanism of the imperial period. Medical histories thus emphasize a picture of Tibet in the broader context of Asia--a Tibet whose empire lives on culturally or intellectually, if not militarily.]