Vanished Kingdoms: A Woman Explorer in Tibet, China, and Mongolia 1921-1925

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9781931788182: Vanished Kingdoms: A Woman Explorer in Tibet, China, and Mongolia 1921-1925

A Testament to the Great Spirit and Success of a Remarkable Woman Explorer

In the early 1920s, the last great age of world explorers, a remarkable young woman, Janet Elliott Wulsin, set out with her husband, Frederick Wulsin, for the far reaches of China, Tibet, and Outer Mongolia to study the people, flora, and fauna of the region. Janet’s strenuous, eventful exploration is detailed by a text enriched with excerpts from her candid personal letters. The journey proved to be a test of the Wulsins’ endurance and of their relationship.

While in Asia, the Wulsins took many extraordinary photographs, which form the heart of this richly produced publication. They documented tribespeople and sublime desert landscapes, and, perhaps most remarkably, were allowed to photograph the interior of several of the great Tibetan Buddhist lamaseries, many of which have since been destroyed. Several dozen rare, hand-painted lantern slides survived and are reproduced here in splendid color.

The photographs from the Wulsin expedition are now in the collection of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, in collaboration with which this volume is being produced.

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About the Author:

Mabel H. Cabot has written for The Washington Post, The Washington Star, and Smithsonian.

Review:

"As well as detailed accounts of the people she met and the places she visited, there are fascinating passages about a woman's duties in expedition life at that time, such as housekeeping and cooking, and about her experience as a Western woman in these exotic locations. Accompanied by lovely black-and-white and tinted images and maps that show the routes of the Wulsin's treks, Vanished Kingdoms presents, with unusual intimacy, a place and time captured for posterity." -- Octavia Lamb --Geographical: The magazine of the Royal Geographical Society

"In 1921, a young woman named Janet Elliott Wulsin set out with her husband for Tibet, China and Mongolia to explore the people, flora and fauna of the regions. This book explores their journey, with extracts from Wulsin's letters providing a personal insight into the mind of an intrepid female traveler. For photographers, what is especially interesting is the inclusion of 28 rare, hand-painted lantern slides taken by Wulsin and her husband." --Amateur Photographer

"The highlight of her travels was a harrowing National Geographic Society-funded Yellow River expedition: 700 miles, 3 weeks, 19 people, all on a raft constructed of 72 straw-stuffed yak skins. Elliott may have been just tagging along, but her engaging observations offer a valuable vision for an isolated land long hidden from Western eyes." Kalee Thompson --National Geographic Adventure

"Their pictures are thrilling and romantic: Janet in various native costumes, the insides of temples never before photographed, Chinese friends made along the way (sunglasses, boots, rustic camps also make this a costume designer's fantasy of a book) -- these photographs complement the text. Janet proved her mettle, all right, graduating from the status of being a 'pocket wife' to a woman who, her husband wrote, 'makes every place she comes to alive.'" --The Los Angeles Times Book Review

"The highlight of her travels was a harrowing National Geographic Society-funded Yellow River expedition: 700 miles, 3 weeks, 19 people, all on a raft constructed of 72 straw-stuffed yak skins. Elliott may have been just tagging along, but her engaging observations offer a valuable vision for an isolated land long hidden from Western eyes." -- Kalee Thompson --National Geographic Adventure

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