Gateway to Asia: Sinkiang: Frontier of the Chinese Far West

Gateway to Asia: Sinkiang: Frontier of the Chinese Far West

Gateway to Asia: Sinkiang: Frontier of the Chinese Far West

Gateway to Asia: Sinkiang: Frontier of the Chinese Far West

Excerpt

There can be few large regions in the world that combine, in the way that Sinkiang does, isolation and a rich literature of travel and of natural and social sciences. Though Sinkiang has never been open to the casual tourist, it has been the setting of some of the major geographical, geological, botanical, archeological and historical investigation and writing of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The names of those who have contributed to the literature include, from the middle ages, William of Rubruck, Carpini, and Marco Polo; the British from Atkinson to Shaw, and Forsyth, and later Ney Elias, Younghusband, Stein and Skrine; the Russians, with perhaps the greatest list of all, including Prjevalskii, the Grum-Grjimailo brothers, Kozlov, Obruchev, and a host of others; the French with Grenard and Pelliot; the Germans with Grünwedel, von le Coq and many writers on linguistics; the Austrian Merzbacher; the Dutch historian De Groot; the Italian De Filippi; Sven Hedin and many younger Swedes and Danes like Bergman and Haslund; and Americans like Schuyler and Huntington. Indeed, it is easier to write a long list than a short one, because the material relating to Sinkiang has led to so much comment, research and speculation in so many countries.

It is noticeable, however, that in the literature of Sinkiang the most important contributions of the Chinese are to be found in the chronicles of the past. Were it not for the Chinese genius for compiling history, our knowledge of the peoples and tribes and politics of Sinkiang for more than two thousand years would be much more shadowy. In the nineteenth century, however, Chinese concern with Sinkiang became more and more perfunctory, and the Chinese literature less important and poorer in quality. Even when dealing with the distribution, characteristics, and political grouping of the peoples of Sinkiang, Chinese writers began to show a weak tendency to forego direct observation and rely instead on quotation.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.