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Wat Po-templet med Chetawan massageskola nominerad till UNESCOs världsarv

The Memory of the World (MOW) National Committee of Thailand, in cooperation with Wat Pho, announced at a MOW network expansion meeting on 26 February 2007 that it is considering the submission of 200-year-old inscriptions and statues, found at the famous temple, to the UNESCO Memory of the World International Register.

Commissioned by King Rama I, Wat Pho (formally known as Wat Pra Chetupon Wimolmangalaram) is the oldest Buddhist temple in Bangkok and also known as Thailand’s first university.  The documents to be submitted to the MOW register represent an important record of Thai traditional knowledge on subjects ranging from poetry to health and herbal medicine. 

Written on sheets of gold, silver, and marble, the inscriptions include lessons in geography, traditional massage, and Buddhist teachings.  There are also statues (24 remain of the original 80) which illustrate different yoga-like postures (“hermit poses”) which are said to help reduce muscle and joint stiffness and pain.  These centuries-old hermit poses and traditional massage instructions, when applied appropriately, remain as effective treatments for people today.

A place for the inscriptions and statues at Wat Pho on the MOW register would contribute to their preservation and protection.  Recently, there was an effort to register ‘hermit poses’ as a trademark outside Thailand.  Although the patent was later revoked, the controversy reminded many of the need to protect the intellectual property rights of Thai traditional knowledge.  The MOW submission effort, which is supported by the Thai Culture and Education Ministers, would protect the traditional knowledge found at Wat Pho from similar patent conflicts as well as ensure its preservation and dissemination in other forms.

Wat Pho, which also houses a traditional medical and massage school, attracts three million visitors a year.  In addition to being an important location for students, Wat Pho is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand.

A collection of Rama V-era anti-slavery laws and announcements, also submitted by the National Committee, are currently under consideration to be included in the MOW Register.

From UNESCO Bangkok


Media Coverage

- Thailand aims to protect heritage: The Nation: February 27, 2007

- UNESCO recognition sought for historic Wat Pho inscriptions: MCOT dot NET: February 27, 2007


Chetawan Thai Medical Massage
WatPo TTM Center Malmö

Tel. 040-644 41 99
Slottsstadens Thai Massagesalong,
Lorensborgsgatan 5 nb (mot gatan),
217 61 Malmö, Sweden
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