How an 18th Century Anatomical Dictionary from Tibet Offered Evidence of the Legendary Yeti

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It’s well-known that amongst Native People, lengthy legendary traditions exist which doc the existence of the creature recognized at this time as Man of the woods. Though many various names have been attributed to the creature, largely all through components of the Pacific Northwest, similarities stay current all through the assorted cultural traditions pertaining to the creature.

The indigenous peoples of the American Northwest aren’t the one illustration of cultural beliefs pertaining to massive, mysterious hominids which have existed for hundreds of years. In truth, an uncommon discovery made in 1959 gives a glimpse at related traditions which have lengthy existed elsewhere on the planet, in relation to the alleged existence of enormous, manlike beasts; extra particularly, the well-known Yeti of Tibet and Nepal.

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Footprints presupposed to have been made by the Yeti, photographed in 1953.

The invention in query was made in 1959 by Emanuel Vlcek, a Czech paleoanthropologist, and professor on the Anatomical Institute of the First Medical School of Charles College in Prague, Czech Republic. Vlcek had been a part of an anthropological expedition despatched by what was then nonetheless the Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences to Mongolia to check the memorial of Prince Kulteghine, and in a extra common sense, to “set up situations for anthropological analysis in Mongolia.”

Whereas visiting Tibet and Mongolia, Vlcek made a novel discovery: the inclusion of an unknown, manlike animal in a uncommon, eighteenth-century handbook on anatomy and prognosis of varied illnesses. In a paper which subsequently appeared within the journal Man (which carried on after 1994 because the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute), Vlcek wrote of his discovery as follows:

Whereas investigating Tibetan books within the library of a former lamaistic college of Gandan, I discovered a e book, by Lovsan-Yondon and Tsend-Otcher, entitled in free translation “Anatomical Dictionary for Recognizing Varied Illnesses.” This illustration reveals a biped primate standing erect on a rock, with one arm stretched upwards. The pinnacle with the face and the entire physique, aside from the arms and toes correct, are lined with lengthy hair. The illustration is life like solely stylized in keeping with the conception of lamaistic artwork.

Throughout a subsequent go to to Mongolia, Vlcek discovered a later version of the e book within the central library of the Scientific Committee in Mongolia, depicting a barely up to date, however in any other case practically equivalent rendering of the Tibetan bichun, noting that:

The illustration of the wild man from the thematic viewpoint is totally equivalent with the 100 years older copy of the Peking version, although it’s effected in much less stylized and way more credible method. Once more, the upright place of the determine on the rock is equivalent, even the upraised arm and the marginally bended knees. The pinnacle is roofed with hair and the face with a full beard and the remainder of the physique, excepting the arms and toes correct, with quick fur that doesn’t conceal the proportions of the physique, such because the configuration of the big thoracic muscle tissues.

The “bitchun” or “man-animal,” as depicted within the Tibetan Anatomical Dictionary, found in 1959 by Emanuel Vlcek.

Excerpts from the Anatomical Dictionary have been reprinted with Vlcek’s accompanying article in Man, of which New Scientist summarized, “present animals of varied sorts together with monkeys, small carnivores, birds, reptiles, fish and quite a lot of invertebrates, all drawn with a minimal of stylization and none of them legendary within the method of the European beastiaries. One of many animals, a big, furry primate, known as a bitchun or Kumchin gorugosu , which is Mongolian for the man-animal. The bitchun, in keeping with Dr. Emanuel Vlcek, of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, appears to be none apart from the well-known Yeti of the Himalayas, the creature popularly often called the Abominable Snowman.”

It was the interpretation of Vlcek on the time that the animal referred to in these texts because the “bichun,” “peeyi” or “zerleg-khoon,” accompanying a picture of a person like, however hair-covered animal, “doc[s] in a exceptional means the existence of a creature recognized to the natives of Tibet for a minimum of two centuries.”

The presence of documented cultural traditions of the Yeti in Tibetan and Mongolian texts bears similarity to its western counterpart, as represented by the Man of the woods in North American folklore shared amongst indigenous teams. If the existence of such creatures have been purely legendary, what would the prevalence of “wild males” in traditions spanning many various areas worldwide symbolize, by way of tradition and anthropology?

Even when the door have been to be closed on the case for a organic Yeti or Man of the woods, the cultural consistencies between experiences of the creatures would nonetheless stay fascinating.

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