Where most the Naxi sacred texts are held

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2011

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Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Saturday, November 29, 2008

There are some good points as well as bad points why sacred texts from ethnic groups should be held overseas.

In the first place, these were often taken and collected during colonial times, when explorers and anthropologists viewed their ownership as some kind of right - a little similar to modern-day tourists' demands for duty-free booze and cigarettes.

And because these things were taken away from the people they belonged to, there is now a sense that some should be returned, to help preserve and maintain that heritage and culture.

But, as in the case of China, it was probably a good thing that some items were taken away, as during the 1950-1970s, many manuscripts and artifacts were destroyed as superstitious things from the past.

So, in the case of the Naxi ethnic group, they owe much of their present-day knowledge to the fact that Austrian-American botanist and researcher Joseph Rock took many items to the US and to Europe.

Today, he is regarded as a father figure for those studying Naxi culture, in particular the shamanistic tradition of the Naxi dongba.

There's a new display from the Library of Congress


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