By Robert Barnett Ph.D.
There are numerous Lhasas. One is a grid of uniform boulevards covered with plush motels, all-night bars, and blue-glass-fronted places of work. one other is a warren of alleyways that encompass a seventh-century temple outfitted to pin down a supine demoness. an online of Stalinist, oblong blocks homes the recent nomenklatura. Crumbling mansions, as soon as domestic to noble ministers, well-known fans, nationalist spies, and covert revolutionaries, now function buying department shops and faux-antique lodges. every one embodiment of town partakes of the others' stories, whispered throughout time and alongside town streets.
In this ingenious new paintings, Robert Barnett bargains a robust and lyrical exploration of a urban lengthy idealized, ignored, or misunderstood by way of outsiders. seeking to its streets and stone, Robert Barnett provides a looking out and unforgettable portrait of Lhasa, its background, and its illegibility. His ebook not just deals itself as a handbook for considering modern Tibet but additionally questions our methods of wondering overseas.
Barnett juxtaposes modern debts of Tibet, architectural observations, and outlines by way of international observers to explain Lhasa and its present prestige as either an old urban and a contemporary chinese language provincial capital. His narrative finds how old layering, well known reminiscence, symbolism, and mythology represent the tale of a urban. in addition to the traditional Buddhist temples and previous picnic gardens of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa describes the city sprawl, the tough oblong buildings, and the geometric blue-glass tower blocks that talk of the anxieties of successive regimes motive upon bettering at the earlier. In Barnett's excavation of the city's prior, the constructions and town streets, interwoven together with his personal reminiscences of unrest and resistance, recount the tale of Tibet's complicated transition from culture to modernity and its painful heritage of international encounters and political test.
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Additional resources for Lhasa: Streets with Memories (Asia Perspectives: History, Society, and Culture)
Compared to other capitals of such repute, Lhasa is hardly even the size of a county town. It should therefore be relatively easy to describe. 1 T H E U N I TA R Y V I E W Many of the descriptions of Lhasa offered to foreign readers hzave demanded little intellectual effort for their comprehension. The literature of exiled Tibetans, those who ﬂed to India and elsewhere after the Chinese crushed the uprising of 1959, for example, speaks of a world that was, in their description, focused on the twin certainties of religion and tradition.
Kimura had at least two Japanese agents working with him in the city, disguised as Mongolians, and, if Chinese accounts are correct, the British had their own spy network too, so efﬁcient (it is claimed) that in 1949 they provided the Tibetan government with the identity of every crypto-Communist in Lhasa.
They are enthusiastic and open-minded and good at singing and dancing,” says an ofﬁcial Chinese handbook of the Tibetan people. The remark, a staple of modern Chinese accounts of their non-Chinese nationalities, sounds condescending when uttered by an outsider and lacks the detail essential for credibility. It is not in fact much less meaningful than generalizations made by deposed aristocrats, but it belongs to a different discourse universe, in which power, not the loss of it, is idealized. It hints at not a world that is being reduced rhetorically, but one in which the experience of the Other seems to have been, for want of a better word, ﬂat.
Lhasa: Streets with Memories (Asia Perspectives: History, Society, and Culture) by Robert Barnett Ph.D.