Page 2

China, in a series of views, displaying the scenery, architecture, and social habits, of that ancient empire<br />
 (Temple of Buddha)<br />

China, in a series of views, displaying the scenery, architecture, and social habits, of that ancient empire
(Temple of Buddha)

Allom’s very popular illustrated travel books are a late reflection of the earlier tradition of travel writing but also demonstrate its increasing obsolescence. By the 1840s the western colonial presence in Asia meant that there was no longer any need to rely on a handful of primary sources for knowledge of most Asian countries, with the partial exception of Japan until the Meiji period (1868 – 1912) and Tibet before the Younghusband invasion of 1903-4. Highlighting this book’s transitional nature, it is uncertain whether Allom visited China himself or (like Picart), drew on the texts and images of those who had.

China, in a series of views, displaying the scenery, architecture, and social habits, of that ancient empire<br />
 (Great Temple interior)<br />

China, in a series of views, displaying the scenery, architecture, and social habits, of that ancient empire
(Great Temple interior)

Allom’s very popular illustrated travel books are a late reflection of the earlier tradition of travel writing but also demonstrate its increasing obsolescence. By the 1840s the western colonial presence in Asia meant that there was no longer any need to rely on a handful of primary sources for knowledge of most Asian countries, with the partial exception of Japan until the Meiji period (1868 – 1912) and Tibet before the Younghusband invasion of 1903-4. Highlighting this book’s transitional nature, it is uncertain whether Allom visited China himself or (like Picart), drew on the texts and images of those who had.

China, in a series of views, displaying the scenery, architecture, and social habits, of that ancient empire<br />
 (entrance to the Temple)<br />

China, in a series of views, displaying the scenery, architecture, and social habits, of that ancient empire
(entrance to the Temple)

Allom’s very popular illustrated travel books are a late reflection of the earlier tradition of travel writing but also demonstrate its increasing obsolescence. By the 1840s the western colonial presence in Asia meant that there was no longer any need to rely on a handful of primary sources for knowledge of most Asian countries, with the partial exception of Japan until the Meiji period (1868 – 1912) and Tibet before the Younghusband invasion of 1903-4. Highlighting this book’s transitional nature, it is uncertain whether Allom visited China himself or (like Picart), drew on the texts and images of those who had.

Annales Minorum seu Trium Ordinum a S. Francisco Institutorum<br />

Annales Minorum seu Trium Ordinum a S. Francisco Institutorum

  Working in Rome, the Irish Franciscan historian Luke Wadding included the story of Odoric of Pordenone in this history of the Order. Odoric travelled to Sri Lanka, China and perhaps Tibet in the early 14th century with “Brother James of Ireland”. Wadding’s version can be shown to be part of a 5-century-long circulation of Odoric’s account in the wider Irish world – not only the island of Ireland but the medieval and early modern continental diaspora. Irish knowledge of Buddhist Asia is nothing new.

Ancient Accounts of India and China (title page)<br />

Ancient Accounts of India and China (title page)

  In the European Enlightenment, sympathetic accounts of Chinese culture by Jesuit missionaries and others were often used to highlight the possibility of a secular and non-European civilization. Renaudot’s translation of Arabic texts - based on the experiences of Sulaiman al-Tajir (who travelled to China c. 851 CE) and Ibn Wahb al-Basri (876 CE) - was intended to undermine these pro-Chinese accounts. James Tennent, the Northern Irish-born secretary of colonial Ceylon, used Renaudot in his best-selling 1859 Ceylon.

An Irish English Primer (fables)<br />

An Irish English Primer (fables)

  Aesop’s fables are part of a pan-Eurasian folklore tradition shared with the Jataka tales of the Buddha’s previous lives: tales such as “The fox and the crow” appear in Aesop with one moral and in the Jatakas with a very different interpretation. This bilingual chapbook was “intended for the use of schools” – in 1815 this meant mainly hedge schools. Ireland’s intersection with Buddhist Asia was not necessarily restricted to elites (and not necessarily always recognised as such).

A Tibetan-English Dictionary (decorative title page)<br />

A Tibetan-English Dictionary (decorative title page)

  Sarat Chandra Das (1849 – 1917) was headmaster of the (Tibetan) Bhutia Boarding School in Darjeeling and travelled to Tibet several times from 1879 onwards, firstly as scholar and subsequently as spy for the British. Known (pejoratively) as “the Babu”, Chandra Das was one of the models for the “Great Game” sections of Kipling’s Kim, particularly the figure of Hurree Babu, a would-be ethnographer who makes great use of disguise in his espionage work.

Tibetan-English dictionary (title page)<br />

Tibetan-English dictionary (title page)

  Sarat Chandra Das (1849 – 1917) was headmaster of the (Tibetan) Bhutia Boarding School in Darjeeling and travelled to Tibet several times from 1879 onwards, firstly as scholar and subsequently as spy for the British. Known (pejoratively) as “the Babu”, Chandra Das was one of the models for the “Great Game” sections of Kipling’s Kim, particularly the figure of Hurree Babu, a would-be ethnographer who makes great use of disguise in his espionage work.

Tibetan-English dictionary (extract)<br />
Tibetan-English dictionary (extract 2)<br />
Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser (Friday, December 27, 1878)<br />
Travels of the Jesuits, into various parts of the world, particularly China and the East-Indies (title page)<br />