Database on Tibetan medical terms hosted by CrossAsia (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin)


Tibetan medical terminology is not as sufficiently surveyed as one would expect. Publications on Tibetan pharmacology, anatomy or pathology offer differing translations of medical terms found in classical or modern texts. It is the aim of this database to shed light on the plurality of these translations. The database is regularly updated as the data expands. Due to the local biodiversity of certain regions, Tibetan materia medica have a variety of biological identifications. In the case of Tibetan anatomical terms, the situation is equally ambiguous: it is not always clear which anatomical structure is actually meant by a Tibetan anatomical term and, conversely, biomedical anatomical structures are named differently in different contemporary publications in Tibetan language. The database is populated by Tibetan materia medica and their available colloquial English and German correlates (the so-called "trivial names") as well as the more precise Latin biomedical or scientific names according to the sources considered. The database was initiated and continued as part of my previous projects, which identified the medical denotations of the “unfolded tree” metaphors depicted on the medical college at Labrang Monastery (P22965-G21) and on Tibetan anatomical terms (P26129-G21), both funded by the Austrian Science Fund.


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Katharina Sabernig, November 2020