Comparative Guts

Close this search box.

Guts depicted as vulnerable part of the body

20th century reproduction of 17th century CE painting. Held in Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia, Russia.

Tibetan medicine recognizes specific vulnerable body parts to which trauma is described to be terminal or at least treated with difficulty. All critical internal organs are defined as vulnerable, the left figure in this painting presents the anterior view of the trunk depicting mainly hollow organs, the right figure mainly solid organs from posterolateral view. The colors of the organs in the left figure are associated with the colors of the five elements; the orange-colored small intestine is associated with fire, the blue urinary bladder below with water. Special attention is also paid to vital channels supplying organs, demonstrated by the central image. The names of these channels are metaphorical, often taken from animal parts or nomadic life. For example, the two channels of the liver are called “Stag Antlers” and “Deer Antlers.” The two vulnerable blood vessels of the stomach are called “Snake Eye” and “Donkey Saddle Strap.” 

— Katharina Sabernig