Knitted artwork of guts based on Tibetan medical painting at Atsagat Monastery, Republic of Buryatia, Russia.
In Buryatia, an ethnically Mongolian region belonging to Russia, Tibetan medical knowledge encountered biomedical knowledge in the early twentieth century. The Buryat medical scholar Dondub Endonov authored a set of medical paintings that sought to unite tradition and modernity. Most paintings were based on the set of the Tibetan medical paintings stored today in the Buryat capital Ulan-Ude, but incorporated modern anatomical representations of structures. The knitted objects and the arrangement are inspired by one of the Endonov paintings that have no antecedent in the thangka series, but illustrate Tibetan medical knowledge in a unique way. For example, in the Four Tantras, it is stated that liver and stomach are interconnected with nine channels, here shown in red. Another singular feature is a connecting channel between the kidney and the small intestine, symbolizing the physiological significance of the interaction between the two organs (knitwork by present coauthor). — Katharina Sabernig