Medicine and Memory in Tibet: Amchi Physicians in an Age of Reform

Research output: Book/ReportAuthored book


Only fifty years ago, Tibetan medicine, now seen in China as a vibrant aspect of
Tibetan culture, was considered a feudal vestige to be eliminated through
government-led social transformation. Medicine and Memory in Tibet examines
medical revivalism on the geographic and sociopolitical margins both of China and of
Tibet’s medical establishment in Lhasa, exploring the work of medical practitioners,
or amchi, and of Medical Houses in the west-central region of Tsang.

Due to difficult research access and the power of state institutions in the writing of
history, the perspectives of more marginal amchi have been absent from most
accounts of Tibetan medicine. Theresia Hofer breaks new ground both theoretically
and ethnographically, in ways that would be impossible in today’s more restrictive
political climate that severely limits access for researchers. She illuminates how
medical practitioners safeguarded their professional heritage through great adversity
and personal hardship.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSeattle
PublisherSeattle, University of Washington
Number of pages271
ISBN (Print)9780295742984, 9780295742991
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2018

Publication series

NameStudies of Ethnic Groups in China
PublisherUniversity of Washington Press


  • Asian Studies / Tibet; Health; Anthropology; Tibetan medicine


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