For­got­ten King­dom

Timeless Travels Magazine - - BOOK REVIEWS -

Peter Goullart Eland Pub­lished: Oc­to­ber 2017 Price: £12.99

For­got­tenKing­dom is like lis­ten­ing to a reck­lessly indis­creet but bril­liant lo­cal wit, whose sto­ries about his neigh­bours keep you both laugh­ing and longing for more.

Peter Goullart spent nine years in the all but for­got­ten Nakhi king­dom of south-west China based on the moun­tain cap­i­tal of Likiang. He had a job en­tirely suited to his in­quir­ing, gos­sipy tem­per­a­ment, which was to get to know the lo­cal traders, mer­chants and crafts­men in or­der to de­cide which to back with a loan from the co-op­er­a­tive move­ment.

So we at­tend mag­nif­i­cent ban­quets, meet an­cient dowa­gers, hand­some war­riors, Man­darin of­fi­cials de­scended from an­cient dynasties as well as car­a­vans of mer­chants from Ti­bet and Burma and the mys­te­ri­ous Lo­bos high­lands.

We are able to im­merse our­selves in the com­plex so­ci­ety of old China, which be­lieved si­mul­ta­ne­ously and sin­cerely in Bud­dhism, Tao­ism and Con­fu­cian­ism, in ad­di­tion to their an­cient An­imism and Shaman­ism.

Goullart left on the last plane out, in 1949, bur­dened only by happy mem­o­ries of this par­adise which he for­tu­nately wrote down six years later.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.