Secret Tibet

by Fosco Maraini

Hardcover, 1952




New York, Viking Press, 1952.


In this book, Fosco Maraini recounts his travels to Tibet in 1939 and 1948, before it fell to China. He brings back to life a world which will never be seen again. In the tradition of Italian travellers from the days of Marco Polo, Maraini went to Tibet to learn, to understand, to give, and to receive. His encounter with the people of Tibet, from princesses to peasants, aided as he was by a good knowledge of the language, is a true meeting of minds. The text, which attests to the disciplines of the scholar allied to the sensitivity of the poet, is enriched by the narrative value of the author's photographs, including many Buddhist temple artifacts now forever lost.

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LibraryThing member gibbon
Maraini's book of an expedition led by Prof. Giuseppe Tucci, though at the time he didn't know it, was a last glimpse of the theocratic state which was to be demolished shortly afterwards by the Chinese occupation. As such it is a wonderful evocation of a past civilization before it fell beneath the onslaught of 20th century technology and politics. The author includes an introduction to the religious background of both aristocrats and simple herdsmen, and the varied physical and spiritual influences which had formed the unique Tibetan approach to theology. The 60 black and white photographs (curiously called on the title page "double colour plates" which in this edition at least they are not) were taken with particular care, a table being appended which gives details of camera, lens, film and exposure. The Introductory Letter by Bernard Berenson says that it is one of only a very few books which take the reader along with the narrator, to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the journey. There is a two-page reading list which the author says are "likely to be found in good libraries"… (more)


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