Monday, July 26, 2010

Joseph Rock memorial gate, near Muli/Yading (picture by Dave Turner)

Just been sent this pic by mountain biker extraordinaire Dave Turner, who is currently riding somewhere between Muli and Yading. This shows a plinth to commemorate Joseph Rock and seems to say something like "Rock's 900 li (kilometre) key to enter Shangri-La" You can follow Dave's travels at

Sunday, July 25, 2010

'In the Footsteps ...' now read the book!

Yading Day 3, originally uploaded by jiulong.

There won't be much posting going on here for a while as I'm spending most of my spare time finishing off a book I have written of my travels around Kham (Hello? Any publishers out there?). The book will cover most of the places visited by Joseph Rock in the 1920s and 1930s, and my own visits from 1990 to 2010. Each chapter will cover a particular article written by Rock, such as "The Glories of the Minya Konka" and my more recent visit to the area (in this case, Gongga Shan). I already have other chapters on Muli, the Salween/Nujiang, Deqin and Mt Kawakarpo/Meli Xueshan, Yading and Jiulong (Maiddi Gongga). The are also chapters on Rock's time in places such as Dali, Lijiang and Kunming. I hope to have the book published soon, if not I can always make it available here as a pdf, complete with lots of lovely "Then and Now" photographs.
In the meantime, I suggest you catch up on my latest travels in Yading here.

Daocheng photo portrait studio

Daocheng photo portrait studio, originally uploaded by jiulong.

Stuff in a Tibetan shop, Daocheng

Photos of Yunnan and Sichuan in the 1930s by Zhuang Xueben

If you thought Joseph Rock was a good photographer of Kham in the 1930s, wait until you see these photographs. I have just come across this source of some superb pictures of western Sichuan and Yunnan from the 1930s and 1940s. They are by a Shanghai photographer, Zhang Xueben (1909-1984). He has instantly become one of my favourite China photographers, his images rank alongside those of Hedda Morrison in quality and in the way they capture the natural feel of the place and people.
You can see more at the website of the Sichuan Alpine Ecology Study Center:

There is some more background info on Zhang here.

(By the way, this photo is entitled: "Woman of Naxi People, Yang Ming County, Yunnan Province, 1934")

Photo by Edward Wilson of Kangding's Jingang Si (Dorje Dra) temple, 1908

Thanks to the Sichuan Alpine Ecology Study Center: