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MARKHAM, Clements R. (ed.)

Narratives of the Mission of George Bogle to Tibet, and of the Journey of Thomas Manning to Lhasa.

Edited, with Notes, an Introduction, and Lives of Mr. Bogle and Mr. Manning ...

Published: London: Trübner & Co., 1876

Stock code: 97443

Price: £1,500

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First edition of these early accounts of British travel in Tibet, and uncommon. “Bogle, an officer of the East India Company, was dispatched to Deb Rajah of Bhutan and Teshoo Lama of Tibet in 1744, as a trade mission by Warren Hastings. He reached Tashico Dzong and Paro Dzong off Bhutan, and then crossed Tang La from the Chumbi Valley and reached Gyangtse and Shiagtse. In 1775 he returned to Bengal through the way of going. This was the first mission, and the second in 1783 by Samuel Turner. The introduction contains a description of the Himalayan range, and an historical account of Exploration in Tibet” (Yakushi) ODNB remarks that “it is difficult to think of anyone who fits the colonial stereotype less than Bogle”. He adopted Tibetan dress and mastered colloquial Tibetan, “enjoying many opportunities to indulge in ‘merriment’ as he feasted with his Tibetan hosts, hunted with the lama’s nephews, played chess with Kalmyk merchants”. Thomas Manning “visited Lhasa and saw the Dalai Lama in 1811” (Yakushi), while he was serving as the doctor to the English factory at Canton. He was “the first and for many years the only British traveller to reach the holy city. Ignoring the fact that he had been refused permission, he rode up to the the Dalai Lama’s palace, heavily but ineffectually disguised. Surprisingly he was permitted to stay for five months … Manning was far from overawed by Lhasa. ‘If the palace exceeded my expectations, the town as far fell short of them’, he wrote, ‘There is nothing striking, nothing pleasing in its appearance. The habitations are begrimed with smut and dirt. The avenues are full of dogs … growling and gnawing bits of hide which lie about in profusion and emit a charnel-house smell'” (ODNB).

Octavo. Original purple sand-grained cloth, title gilt to the spine, geometric panelling in blind to the boards, pale cream endpapers. Steel-engraved portrait frontispiece, 5 wood-engraved plates and 2 illustrations to the text, folding collotype facsimile, 4 folding maps, 2 of them coloured in outline and with routes marked in red, errata slip bound in before the introduction. Recased in the carefully restored cloth, light toning of the text, a very good and highly presentable copy.

Bibliography: Howgego I, B118, & II, M11; Yakushi M88

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