13.COM 10.B.8

The Committee

  1. Takes note that China has nominated Lum medicinal bathing of Sowa Rigpa, knowledge and practices concerning life, health and illness prevention and treatment among the Tibetan people in China (No. 01386) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Lum medicinal bathing of Sowa Rigpa is a practice developed by the Tibetan people as part of a life view based on the five elements and a view about health and illness centered on three dynamics (Lung, Tripa and Pekan). In Tibetan, ‘Lum’ indicates the traditional knowledge and practices of bathing in natural hot springs, herbal water or steam to adjust the balance of the body and mind, ensure health and treat illness. Influenced by the Bon religion and Tibetan Buddhism, Lum embodies folk experiences in illness prevention and treatment, and reflects the transmission of traditional knowledge represented by the Gyud zhi treatise (the Four Tantras) in present-day health practice. Bearers and practitioners include farmers, herdsmen and urban residents in Tibetan areas, with the Manpa (physician), Lum Jorkhan (pharmacist) and Manyok (assistant) bearing special responsibilities for its transmission. The element plays a key role in improving health conditions, fostering a social code of behaviour and promoting respect for nature. It has been transmitted over the generations through daily life, religious rituals, folkloric activities and medicinal practices, and has also been incorporated into the curricula of modern medical colleges as a complement to formal education.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:   The element is a complex medicinal practice originating in a traditional environment that has evolved to become a respected part of institutionalized medicine in Tibet and several other provinces in China. It is widely practised by local communities as well as in medical institutions and monastic medical colleges. Its viability is guaranteed through various traditional and institutionalized means of transmission, including master-apprentice instruction and incorporation into the curricula of medical schools. The element is an important part of the daily life of the Tibetan people that fosters respect for social cohesion and encourages the sustainable management of natural resources.

R.2:   The practice promotes sustainable development, knowledge about nature and the protection of natural resources. Its inscription would highlight these qualities, which are shared by different cultures across the world. The traditional and institutional practice of the element create synergies, which could promote respect between different communities of practitioners and inspire dialogue among other communities about practices associated with health, prevention and the treatment of illnesses.

R.3:   The safeguarding measures proposed clearly respond to the identified needs. The creation and use of educational materials for schoolchildren and future professionals will help raise awareness about the element and transmit related knowledge to young people. The planned ‘Regulations on the Safeguarding of Tibetan Medicine’ and the ‘Preservation List of Traditional Practice Spaces and Places of Memories of Lum Medicinal Bathing of Sowa Rigpa’ respond to the need to protect natural resources and the ecological environment. Documentation, research and promotional activities supplement the measures to ensure the viability of the element.

R.4:   The communities, individual bearers, experts and research institutions participated in the preparation of the nomination file under the leadership of a Coordination Team. The team convened workshops and working meetings, collecting various contributions, opinions and suggestions and incorporating them into the final text of the file. The file includes a wide range of expressions of consent from different groups of bearers, including representatives of clans, village communities, medical institutions and monasteries.

R.5:   The submitting State provided documentation demonstrating that the element was included in the National List of Representative Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage, managed by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, on two occasions – firstly as the Lum Medicinal Bathing of Sowa Rigpa in 2008 and secondly as the Lhokha Lum Medicinal Bathing of Sowa Rigpa in 2014. Both inscriptions were initiated by Tibetan hospitals, representative groups of practitioners, with the participation of traditional bearers.

  1. Inscribes Lum medicinal bathing of Sowa Rigpa, knowledge and practices concerning life, health and illness prevention and treatment among the Tibetan people in China on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Commends the State Party for submitting a file that underlines the importance of traditional knowledge concerning nature and the universe and offers a positive example of the sustainable relationship between human beings and their environment.

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