The work of the orientalist historian has been hampered by the laudatory glare that has developed around the figure of Sir Francis Younghusband and the 1904 British ‘Mission’ to Tibet. In western writing, a revisionist approach to studying the Mission has only recently started to gather pace. Capturing a Chinese and Tibetan perspective of events is vital for a better understanding of its causes and consequences. Greater use of non-European sources is acknowledged as being one route to this goal.
In this article we focus on the ways in which contemporary British accounts bolstered notions of cultural imperialism and how later Chinese sources, in the Tibetan language, set about critiquing these ideas. This analysis utilises primary sources which have received little attention from western scholars: a translation and commentary in a cartoon book, The War of the Wood Dragon Year (1995); translations of the pillar inscriptions found on the Heroes’ Memorial Pillar in Gyantse; and a description of representations in the Memorial Hall of the Anti-British in Gyantse Dzong.
|Keywords:||History, Britain, Tibet, China, Perspectives, Imperialism, Translation|
Doctoral Student, The Oriental Institute, Wolfson College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
Head of the Centre for Secondary Initial Teacher Education, Carnegie Faculty of Sport & Education, University of Worcester, Leeds, UK
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