By T. Neuhaus
Neuhaus explores the roots of the long-standing ecu fascination with Tibet, from the Dalai Lama to the Abominable Snowman. Surveying a variety of trip money owed, reliable records, correspondence and fiction, he examines how varied humans thought of either Tibet and their domestic cultures.
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Additional info for Tibet in the Western Imagination
However, it was supposed to mark a radically different episode in Tibetan history. It would be, so many hoped, the ﬁnal step towards opening up Tibet to beneﬁcial foreign inﬂuences. 23 That this was actually the case to a fairly large extent is revealed when looking at the numbers of travellers to Tibet. 24 The main driving force behind a British mission to Tibet was Lord George Nathaniel Curzon, who had been appointed Viceroy of India in 1899. Stemming from a landed Derbyshire family and having risen as a Conservative politician, Curzon’s policy in India was one of almost unbridled imperial arrogance.
However, the project of opening up Tibet through the introduction of Christianity, Western science, speciﬁc values that were perceived as particularly British, and a sense of competition between different great powers all contributed to laying the groundwork of the physical and forceful opening of the country and its neighbouring areas to British inﬂuence. Consequently, this was an episode of extreme national selfconﬁdence on the part of Britain, where other European nations were seen in a predominantly negative light as potential competitors or troublemakers.
The Tibetans did put up determined resistance at Gyantse, but even this was to Lifting the Veil 33 no avail in the end. British Indian troops entered Lhasa on 3 August 1904. Subsequently, the Tibetans were forced to sign an agreement stating that the British would be allowed to maintain trade-marts at Gyantse and Gartok, including a British Agent in Gyantse. 5 million rupees (amounting to over half a million pounds sterling) over the course of many years. 35 To this day, historians have differed in their assessment of how serious the perceived Russian threat really was in the years before 1903.