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This presentation on Tibetan Medical Thangkas is based on photographs taken by Frances Garrett in 2001. The thangkas photographed are displayed at the Medical History Museum at the Factory of Tibetan Medicines on Nyagrel Road in Lhasa. The dating of this set of thangkas is not known, although they do not appear to be old. (The Lhasa Mentsikhang does own an old set of thangkas, but it was in storage during the summer of 2001.)
The Medical History Museum set of medical thangkas is different from the one shown in Dorje and Meyer's "Tibetan Medical Paintings" (London: Serindia, 1992) and the set in Cai's "Tibetan Medical Thangka of the Four Medical Tantras" (Lhasa: People’s Publishing House of Tibet, 1987). This set was clearly done by a less experienced painter than the other two available sets, evident by the poor use of space and generally poorer illustrations on the part of the artist. Since it is clear that all artists made efforts to stick strictly to a traditional painting of the thangkas, a further study of the differences between the available sets and reasons for these differences may be interesting.
This presentation has been prepared by Leah Stokes, University of Toronto, as part of an undergraduate research project under the supervision of Frances Garrett.