Scarce 1st edition with dust jacket, 1955 John Murray publication, not a Book Club reprint or 1957 reprint as are most copies currently available online.
Jacket looks very good from the front and has just a few light spots on the spine. The rear of the jacket is more spotted and the jacket flap edges are browned. The verso of the whole jacket is heavily spotted. On the whole the d/j is still in Good+ condition for its age, with minimal edge wear.
The page edges are spotted and the upper page edges are a little darkened. There is also some spotting to the end papers and there is a little light foxing throughout, nothing too bad and many pages are unaffected, clean and fresh. The book looks little read or handled and the binding is tight and square.
On the whole this is a very good copy for its age.
From the dust jacket summary:
"The author was born in Moscow at the beginning of the century. As a boy he travelled to Europe and in the Russian Revolution he escaped from Moscow with his mother through Vladivostok to Shanghai. There he learnt Chinese and at a moment of personal crisis went to study at the Taoist Monastery near Hangchow.
"The Orient was in his blood and he had been brought up on stories of his forebears who had travelled as merchants throughout Asia, and it was during his own travels that the author first penetrated to Likiang in the south-west Chinese province of Yunnan. He realised immediately that here, in the ancient and forgotten Nakhi Kingdom surrounded by mountains dedicated to the gods, was where he wished to work and live.
"This book tells how he got there in 1939 and how for many years as representative of the Chinese Industrial Co-operatives he got to know, and was able to help, a community of very remarkable people, living in idyllic surroundings on the borders of Tibet. It was from Madame Yee's wine-shop (and his own office and dispensary) in Likiang that the author's experiences and friendships radiated, bringing him into personal contact with the llamas, the merchants, the bandits, the Tibetans and the caravans that thronged the streets.
"He describes in personal terms the customs and beliefs of the people, the suicide pacts, the exorcisms, the life-cycle ceremonies, many of which he attended as a personal friend. He grew to have a deep affection for the Nakhi and it was with sorrow that he witnessed the arrival of the Chinese Communists, and in the end realised that again he had to escape - this time from a life that he had chosen for himself."
Contents include: Caravan journey to Likiang; Likiang; Market and wineshops of Likiang; Further afield; Start of co-operatives; Medical work; Nakhis; Tibetans; Boa, Lolos and the Minkia; Lamaseries; Poltergeists; Suicides and Dtomba ceremonies; Marriages; Some Likiang festivals; Music, art, and leisure among the Nakhi; Progress; Hoking Brigand; Last of Likiang.