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Medical Paintings of Tibet (Sman thang)

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Sman thang is the abridged form in the Tibetan language for Tibetan medical painting, in which Sman stands for medicine, while thang refers to thangkha, a hanging scroll commonly mounted on a piece of silk with vignettes of various backgrounds.

There is no definite conclusion as to exactly when the Sman thang appeared in history. However, in so far as the painting art of thangkha is concerned, there are some studies written by scholars outside China. The prestigious Italian Tibetologist, G. Tucci, provided very detailed descriptions on these works of art (1949).

Generally, it is claimed that the thangkhaoriginated from religious demand, beginning with the painting of Buddhist icons. The paintings, in addition to the main Buddhist icons, provided contrasts with other items such as clouds in the sky, trees, birds, or beasts; later, landscape painting also appeared. Such primitive religious paintings were owned by lamaseries, and were hung in the Buddhist hall for worship by monks and...

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_8890
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References

  • Anonymous. Bka’ thang sde lnga (The Five Books of Edicts). Beijing: Nationalities Press, 1985.

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  • Byams pa ’phrin las and J. F. Cai. Tibetan Medical Thangka of the Four Medical Tantras. Tibetan–English ed. Lhasa: People's Publishing House of Tibet, 1988.

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  • Jackson, David and Janice Jackson. Tibetan Thangka Painting, Methods and Materials. London: Serinia Publications, 1994.

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  • Meyer, F., Y. Parfianovitch, and Gyurmed Dorje. Tibetan Medical Paintings. London: Serindia Publications, 1992.

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  • Tucci, G. Tibetan Painted Scrolls. Rome: La Libreria della Stata, 1949.

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© 2008 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York

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Yan, Z. (2008). Medical Paintings of Tibet (Sman thang). In: Selin, H. (eds) Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_8890

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