The Mewu Fantzu: A Tibetan Tribe of Kansu

The Mewu Fantzu: A Tibetan Tribe of Kansu

The Mewu Fantzu: A Tibetan Tribe of Kansu

The Mewu Fantzu: A Tibetan Tribe of Kansu

Excerpt

The present account is based on notes I took on a journey through Kansu in the summer and fall of 1936. The purpose of my trip was to become better acquainted with a Tibetan nomad tribe. Unfortunately, there arose during the trip difficulties I could not foresee. While I was in the Tibetan grassland, Mao Tse-tung's army invaded southern Kansu on its famous long march to the north, and I was forced to break off my work prematurely since I was in danger of being cut off from Lanchow, the capital of Kansu. This march to the north was one portent of the troubled times which began with the Sino-Japanese War and continued with World War II and the Communist revolution in China. In the tumult of this period, I lost both my ethnological collection and the voluminous photographic material I had accumulated. Thus, an essential part of the work I had planned-- the illustrations--is lacking. Furthermore, without the objects I had collected, it was impossible to describe the material culture of the tribe I visited as exactly as I should have liked. I therefore refer the reader primarily to the illustrations and excellent brief descriptions made by W. W. Rockhill of his collection in the United States National Museum in Washington. For illustrations of the landscape the reader is referred to Tafel's book on his Tibetan journey, and for ethnic types and folk costumes to Hermanns' work.

In the meantime, our knowledge of the nomads of northeastern Tibet (or Kansu) has increased tremendously. I refer chiefly to the broad general work of Father Hermanns and to R. B. Ekvall's excellent portrayal . . .

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