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On the History of the Murals in the Medical College at Labrang Monastery

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AbstractIn the inner courtyard of the medical college at Labrang Monastery the visitor finds 19 murals depicting the contents of the first two parts of the Four Tantras (Gyüshi), the well-known treatise on Tibetan medicine. The origins of these murals raise questions about a number of substantial differences in style and structure of the ‘tree metaphor’ that exist between them and the famous medical thangka illustrations based on the important commentary on the Gyüshi, the Blue Beryl. The physician and teacher Tsangmen Yéshé Zangpo was the first principal of the medical college at Labrang Monastery. But whether he also created this particular tree metaphor on the murals at Labrang is uncertain. A text written by the Lhasa-based scholar, Lozang Chödrak, explains the structure of the second part of the Gyüshi in such a similar way, that it can be concluded that his written instructions served as the template for the Labrang murals. This reveals that the design of the mural paintings, which have been repainted at least two times, can be dated back to the beginnings of the first medical college at Chakpori.1

10.1163/15734218-12341257
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AbstractIn the inner courtyard of the medical college at Labrang Monastery the visitor finds 19 murals depicting the contents of the first two parts of the Four Tantras (Gyüshi), the well-known treatise on Tibetan medicine. The origins of these murals raise questions about a number of substantial differences in style and structure of the ‘tree metaphor’ that exist between them and the famous medical thangka illustrations based on the important commentary on the Gyüshi, the Blue Beryl. The physician and teacher Tsangmen Yéshé Zangpo was the first principal of the medical college at Labrang Monastery. But whether he also created this particular tree metaphor on the murals at Labrang is uncertain. A text written by the Lhasa-based scholar, Lozang Chödrak, explains the structure of the second part of the Gyüshi in such a similar way, that it can be concluded that his written instructions served as the template for the Labrang murals. This reveals that the design of the mural paintings, which have been repainted at least two times, can be dated back to the beginnings of the first medical college at Chakpori.1

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2012-01-20
2018-09-19

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