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China's Tibetan medicinal bathing listed on Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO

By Jia Dan, Liu Fang, Hu Wen Source:China Tibet News 2018年12月03日 09:59

China's Tibetan medicinal bathing has been officially inscribed on the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on November 28, 2018.

The 13th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage was held in Port Louis, capital of Mauritius, from November 26 to December 1, 2018.

During the meeting, Prithvirajsing Roopun, Minister of Arts and Culture of Mauritius, announced the decision to list China's Lum medicinal bathing of Sowa Rigpa on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

In Tibetan, "Lum" refers to a bathing practice in natural hot springs, herbal water or steam to adjust the balance of mind and body, and to ensure health and treat illnesses. The Lum medicinal bathing of Sowa Rigpa is the traditional knowledge and practices concerning life, health and illness prevention and treatment among the Tibetan people in China. It has been developed by the Tibetan people with a life view based on "Jungwa-nga" (the five elements) that includes Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Space, and a traditional view on health and illness centered on three dynamics (Lung, Tripa and Pekan).

Speaking after the announcement, Chinese Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism Zhang Xu said that Lum medicinal bathing of Sowa Rigpa has an important bearing on the everyday life of people of the Tibetan ethnic group. "This heritage not only embodies the folk experience in disease prevention and treatment, it also represents an inheritance and development of the traditional Tibetan medicine theories in modern health practices."

China's Tibetan medicine bathing has been widely distributed in Tibet Autonomous Region as well as provinces including Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan. Only by soaking one's body into hot herbal water, even without special or expensive equipment, the medicines can directly act on skin and acupoints.

With the inscription of the Lum medicinal bathing of Sowa Rigpa, China now has 40 inscribed elements in total on relevant UNESCO list, including 32 elements inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, 7 elements inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, and one program selected to the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices.

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