Tales Of The Turquoise: A Pilgrimage In Dolpo

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9781559390958: Tales Of The Turquoise: A Pilgrimage In Dolpo

In the early spring of 1961, Dr. Corneille Jest undertook a three-week circumambulation of the valley in the company of Tibetans visiting temples, shrines, and sacred mountains. His companion Karma, an elderly nomad from Western Tibet and a gifted storyteller, punctuated the journey with traditional tales and his own reflections. Charmingly written, colorful, and engaging, the narrative transports the reader to a world of Tibetan spirit in ways not readily accessible to outsiders.

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Review:

Dolpo, a remote Himalayan region of Nepal populated by a Tibetan people, draws more yetis than tourists. In 1961, French sociologist Corneille Jest tagged along on a pilgrimage to sacred shrines around Dolpo, accompanied by a young local and a toothless old yak herder named Karma. Writing like the scientific observer that he is, Jest notes with a detached reverence the landscape and the flora, the gestures and equipment of the people he meets, and the stories he is told--so many stories. Karma, it turns out, is a walking library of Tibetan folklore, despite his illiteracy, and at every bend in the road, at every stop for butter tea, "Karma tells the story of yaks," "Karma ... describes [the goddess] Drolma in one of her incarnations," "Karma speaks of the pastoral life," "Karma ... tells the story of the tail that talks." In fact, Karma's tales of mummified lamas and hats of invisibility monopolize the pages and make Tales of the Turquoise an utterly charming collection. Translated from the French, Tales of the Turquoise could have been written yesterday or a thousand years ago. Such is the timeless magic of folktales. --Brian Bruya

From the Back Cover:

In the early spring of 1961, Dr. Jest undertook a three-week circumambulation of the valley in the company of Tibetans, visiting temples, shrines and sacred mountains. His companion Karma, an elderly nomad from Western Tibet and a gifted story-teller, punctuated the journey with traditional tales and his own reflections.

Charmingly written, colorful and engaging, the narrative transports the reader to a world of Tibetan spirit in ways not readily accessible to outsiders.

"The old wise man Karma is a treasure store of ancient stories all retained in his mind and heart. His contribution to the theme of the book is a shining example of Tibetan spirit having its root in ancient Tibetan custom and culture. The book also serves as a code of conduct when one visits Tibetan Buddhist places and people."--The Tibet Journal

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