I will present new research examining looting during the 1904 Younghusband Mission to Tibet. I will outline the social and cultural milieu that prevailed at the time and note the role models for, and influences on, those who took part in the mission. I will outline the position of L. Austine Waddell, the ‘archeologist’ to the Mission, and the controversial methods he used to acquire both personal and official collections. The aftermath of the Mission will be studied, focusing on contemporary newspaper reports from London and Delhi concerning the looting. I will then show how selected items looted from Tibet are now presented in British museums and collections, before studying the mentality behind the collectors and their desire to construct archives of achievement and ‘Temples of Empire’ that rationalize a perspective of ‘the other’ and thereby, themselves.
Tag Archives: India
So, if you ever needed reminding why Tibetology, and the detailed analysis of Anglo-Tibetan relations, is important and relevant, here it is: The world’s two largest nations, accounting for about 1/3 of the global population, both armed to the high teeth with nuclear weapons and global ambitions, having an undignified and unfortunate scrap about Tibetan border areas, and the much disputed McMahon Line.
As the article points out, “China, India’s largest trading partner, claims sovereignty over parts of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh and calls it southern Tibet. It refuses to recognize the “imperialist” 1913 Shimla Convention under which Tibet ceded Tawang to India and regards its border with India – the McMahon line – as disputed.”
The McMahon Line is a line agreed to by Great Britain and Tibet as part of Shimla Accord, a treaty signed in 1914. Although its legal status is disputed by China, it is the effective boundary between China and India. The line is named after Sir Henry McMahon, foreign secretary of British India and the chief negotiator of the convention. It extends for 550 miles from Bhutan in the west to 160 miles east of the great bend of the Brahmaputra River in the east, largely along the crest of the Himalayas. The Shimla Convention was a disputed treaty concerning the status of Tibet negotiated by representatives of China, Tibet and Britain in 1914. The Simla Accord provided that “Outer Tibet” would “remain in the hands of the Tibetan Government at Lhasa.” This region, approximately the same as today’s Tibet Autonomous Region, would be under Chinese suzerainty, but China would not interfere in its administration. Not that it really matters, the Chinese delegation walked away, and never recognised or ratified the treaty.
This spat is important as, while the article is written from an Indian perspective, national pride and tender toes are still evident in the region following a series of disastrous wars in the 1960’s between India and China over the border regions. I do like the reporting that the Chinese ambassador told the journalist to “Shut up!” … however I doubt those were his exact words!
Unbiased opinion and analysis of the developing situation in India right now is difficult to come by.
This article from the Times of India is the best that I have read, and captures the sense of affront to Democracy that is sweeping the world’s largest democracy.
“NEW DELHI: No one really, certainly not the government, had anticipated the extent of countrywide support for Anna Hazare and his crusade against corruption. Within hours of the news of his arrest breaking on the networks, spontaneous protests broke out from Baroda to Bhubaneswar, Kanpur to Kochi, leaving the government gasping at the national demonstration of democratic dissent.”
“Far away from the fast-moving developments in Delhi, people from all walks of life took to the streets spontaneously, in rain and shine, not just in the metros but even in smaller towns. Everywhere, the protesters denounced the government (no one was willing to accept that the police action was possible without the nod of government bigwigs) and chanted slogans demanding a stronger Lokpal Bill.”