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History of Western Tibet: One of the Unknown Empires

by A.H. Francke

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A History of Western Tibet is based on foreign and western Tibetan sources of information. The western Tibetan sources of information are records on stones and on paper. Records on stones cover the period 200 B.C. to 1900 A.D. Records on paper are the chronicles of the Kings of Leh. Though these are edited ones, much remains to be done.

The readers will find A History of Western Tibet interesting which is the outcome of scholarly enterprise and research as much as of familiarity with the country and the people.

The book is profusely illustrated, and illustrations and maps vis-a-vis the text make the readers move apace with the different phases of the history of the Western Tibet.

A History of Western Tibet is based on foreign and Western Tibetan sources of information. The Western Tibetan sources of information are records on stones and on paper. Records on stones cover the period 200 B.C. to 1900 A.D. Records on paper are the chronicles of the Kings of Leh (or Ladakh). Though these are edited ones, much remains to be done.

According to Francke it's not time for the compilation of a "scientific history". That may be written when all the historical records of whose existence we known have been edited. There are historical records, which it is extremely difficult for a European to get hold of, although there can be no doubt about their existence. Among them are the chronicles of several lines of Vassal-Princes. Basing his work on the Book of the "Kings of Ladakh" Masterly translated by Dr. Karl Marx, the author ventures on a popular history of the Western Tibet, without the risk of committing gross mistakes.

Francke's own pioneering researches into the dialects, customs, folk-lore, ethnology, and archaeology of Western Tibet are widely known. The credit for finding such a prolific and versatile scholar as Mr. Francke to take up this work goes to Moravian Mission.

The readers will find A History of Western Tibet interesting which is the outcome of scholarly enterprise and research as much as of familiarity with the country and the people.

The book is profusely illustrated, and illustrations and maps vis-a-vis the text make the readers move apace with the different phases of the history of the Western Tibet.

The author has achieved a unique feat of historiography by reconstructing the historical sequence of events of one of the most inhospitable and inaccessible regions in the East. He has reconstructed the history of Western Tibet and Ladakh from primitive local records, edicts and folklore.

Among the available sources, on the one hand there were purely subjective accounts documented by court poets and writers in praise of their masters, at times utterly exaggerating their martial exploits. On the other hand, there were accounts recorded by foreigners, mostly Westerners, not much familiar with the language, customs, mythological references and sociocultural jargon.

Yet the author has struck a credible balance. He has presented here a coherent, interesting and generally reliable history of the region, amply substantiated by maps, photographs and illustrations.





Detailed Product Info:

Title: History of Western Tibet: One of the Unknown Empires
Author(s): A.H. Francke
ISBN: 8120813944
Language: English
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Customer Reviews of History of Western Tibet: One of the Unknown Empires
Review by rigzin chodon: Sunday 05 December, 2010
After reading this particular book by A.H.Francke, i felt quite enlightened about how Ladakh had a rich history which i really didn't know about.It was fascinating to read about the gold-digging ants and the Mons ,the Dards from Gilgit and theTibetans who contributed a lot to Buddhism.I am from Ladakh and reading this book makes more sense about my surroundings here.The wars and the conquest that took place in Ladakh in the cold weather with General Zorawar's conquest was fascinating though not heroic (for me).What he did at the Khaltse Bridge cutting someone's hand and then hanging it on the bridge was very ruthless!! Neverthe less the historic details produced by the author and the research done by him is what i would applaud for because this book was published in the year 1907 in London, which is a good 103 years old. His dedication towards learning about the history of Ladakh makes this book one of the pioneering books on Ladakh.I would say i learnt a lot from this book and it also encouraged me to know more about my birthplace i.e. LADAKH.S anyone who wants to know and learn about Ladakh and western Tibet can do so by reading this book.It's available at Motilal Banarasi Bookstore. :)

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