Himalayan Journal vol.04
The Himalayan Journal

Publication year:

Kenneth Mason
    (Professor GIOTTO DAINELLI)
    (N. E. ODELL)
    (Lieut-Colonel R. C. F. SCHOMBERG)
  14. Lhonak, 1930
    (G. B. GOURLAY)
  15. A Journey in Upper Kumaun and Garhwal
    (Lieutenant HUGH ROSE)
  16. Expeditions
  17. In memorium
  18. Notes
  19. Reviews
  20. Correspondence
  21. Club Proceedings


ACROSS ASIA'S SNOWS AND DESERTS.-By William J. Morden. New York: London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1927. 8 ½ X 5 ½ inches ; 413 -pages ; 70 illustrations ; 21s. THIS book is an account of a journey made by Messrs. W. J. Morden and J. L. Clark in the Russian Pamirs, Chinese Turkistan and Outer Mongolia in 1926. Their object was the collection specimens for the American Museum of Natural History, New York, and what they chiefly wished to obtain was a complete series of Ovis Poli. In this they were completely successful and, in addition to Poli, they obtained Yarkand gazelle and, from the T'ien Shan, a Littledale's sheep, ibex and roe-deer. The book is pleasantly written and eminently readable. Its style varies from the colloquial, with the frequent use of such terms as " chaps" and " snappy" to the almost lyrical. There is a particularly well-written description on page 266 of a part of the journey between Urumchi and Ku Cheng-tze. The travellers followed the Gilgit road from Kashmir and passed through Hunza to the Mingtaka pass. From Beyik (or Paik) they entered the Russian Pamirs where they secured their specimens of Poli without difficulty. They then returned to the Chinese Pamirs and travelled to Kashgar by the Gez defile. They went to the T'ien Shan by way of Aksu and the Muz-art pass and travelled thence to Kara- shahr by the Yulduz valley. From Kara-shahr they took the ordinary road to Urumchi and proposed to travel to Peking by way of Urga, collecting on the way. This proved impossible owing to the hostility of the local Mongols and they turned north-west to Kobdo and thence to the Russian railway at Biisk, from which place they went to Peking by train.

The author states in his introductory chapter that he went " into Asia to prove a theory" that Ovis Poli were not nearly extinct. Quite a number of people in Srinagar ought to have been able to tell him that, as he himself believed, they exist in large numbers on the Russian Pamirs, although they are not numerous in Chinese territory. One or more British officers from India usually visit the Chinese Pamirs in most years and bring back specimens. Although the largest head obtained by the party measured fifty-seven and a half inches, Colonel Schomberg, I believe, got one of sixty-one inches in 1926. But heads of much more than fifty inches are rare in Chinese territory.

The author and his companion were fortunate enough to obtain permission to hunt in the Russian Pamirs. Had they been British subjects, permission would certainly have been refused. The Russians regard the Pamirs as a military area and all British subjects are looked on with the greatest suspicion and rigidly excluded. As they were Americans with' suitable introductions permission was readily accorded to Messrs. Morden and Clark and the account given of their travels there is interesting. A large number of specimens of Poli were necured. The Poli is far from being extinct, as about sixteen hundred animals were seen, but the increase in the number of modern rifles in the hands of the local inhabitants is a potential danger.

Although some exaggeration of the adventurous aspect of the expedition is perhaps evident in the first chapter, it may be remarked that the book was written for the American public who seem to expect this kind of thing. It may be said at once that no trace of exaggeration is to be found elsewhere and that the journey is described modestly and with considerable quiet humour. The same cannot be said of the remarks on tho dust-cover of the book, remarks for which the author is presumably not responsible. It is said that the expedition "rediscovered " the Ovis Poli and the whole trend of the remarks on the dust-cover is sensational. The Poli is not fabulously rare and the author nowhere states that it is. But it is surely the duty of authors to see that their publishers do not make such misleading statements. The book is a record of a natural history expedition and such a remark tends to shatter confidence in its scientific exactness.

A few remarks may be made on points of detail.

It is said that Chitral is technically within the Gilgit Agency. It. is actually part of the Dir, Swat and Chitral Agency of the North- Went Frontier Province.

It is surprising to learn that Nagar town is visible from anywhere near Hunza.

The statement that there are towns on the Taghdumbash Pamir is inaccurate. Tashkurghan, described as the ' largest town ii now a small village and the only other place where rough buildings exist in any number is the scattered hamlet of Dafdar some thirty miles to the south. The expedition, however, did of actually visit Tashkurghan, which fact may explain the mistake.

The " blackbirds about the size of crows but with red beaks " (page 74) were choughs and the unrecognized birds described on pages 8 and 99 were brahmini duck.

The travellers experienced a buran or dust storm in the ower Gez valley some twenty miles or more from the plain of ashgaria. These ' burans ' send fine dust very high into the air and fcptain Sherriff, then British Vice-Consul at Kashgar, once noticed the effects of one in a thick dust haze at a height of 16,000 feet.

The author observed that numerous roads and lanes near Kashgar were several feet below the level of the surrounding country. He suggests that this is due to the removal of earth from the roads for building purposes. It is doubtful whether this is often the case, as such sunken roads are frequently found far from any buildings. It may possibly be due to the accumulation during the course of centuries of sediment from irrigation water on the fields. Such water is not usually allowed in any quantity on the roads, where the sediment is therefore not deposited.

No Ovis Kareleni was secured in the foot-hills of the T'ien Shan near Aksu. These animals seem now to be very rare, though one was shot by Mrs. Gillan, wife of the British Consul-General at Kashgar, about 1926.

Are the Tartars (or Tatars) a separate race distinct from Turkis, Sarts, Kazaks, Kalmaks and Kirghiz ? The author thinks so, although the term is a vague one which may be used to include most of these people and at least all of the last three. It is not everyone who would agree that the Sarikolis are a higher type than the others who were met.

There is a misprint on page 263 where it is stated that a Li in Sinkiang is three miles. It is of course a third of a mile.

The author's remarks about the Russo-Chinese boundary in the Pamirs are interesting. It is shown on the maps as a continuous range west of Muztagh Ata. Mr. Morden describes it as a country broken up by hills and valleys with nothing continuous about it. He is certainly right. The frontier, which is not demarcated, probably follows a watershed and not a range.

With the exception of the detour into the Russian Pamirs, the route followed as far as Urumchi is well known. Beyond Urumchi, however, the country described is little-known ground to English readers and this part of the book is of great interest. But the author's experiences and his descriptions of the country and of travel conditions are not likely to induce others to follow him. The party were arrested by an outpost of Mongols at Ji-Ji-ho on the Sinkiang frontier and had a most unpleasant time. Their hands were tightly tied together till the circulation stopped, presumably to cause them temporarily to lose the use of them and to render any attempts at action or resistance impossible. This horrible experience is described with restraint.

The author is careful to thank everyone who assisted him in any way and says that he was most kindly received by British, Russians and Chinese. But his treatment by minor Russian officials in Siberia does not seem to have been particularly friendly. His highest praise is deservedly given to a Russian “Samuel Davidson" whom he calls " the good Samaritan of Kobdo". Kobdo was the first town of any size reached in Mongolia and, without Davidson's help with local Mongol officials, it seems doubtful whether the party would have been able to get out of Mongolia at all.

Place names are not spelt in accordance with any recognized system. For example

Haramok for Haramukh.

Gulkoja for Gulquaja.

Kain-Ya-lak for Khan Yailak.

Kara Shar for Kara-shahr.

Ish-palak for Ishparlik.

It is helpful if authors check their names very carefully.

Some of the descriptive writing of places, people, manners and customs, is distinctly good. The descriptions of the Hunza gorges, of parts of the T'ien Shan and of the country between Urumchi and Ku Cheng-tze may be particularly mentioned.

Mr. Morden may like to know that his servant Muhammad Rahim was in Kashgar and was well in 1930.

The photographs are good and of a representative character. The maps are poor but sufficient to indicate the route followed.

F. Williamson.

HIGH TARTARY.-By Owen Lattimore. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1930. 9J x 6J inches; 370 + xiv pages; maps; illustrations. 21s.

This is an outstanding book and ranks with Skrine's Chinese Central Asia as one of the best books on Sinkiang or Chinese Turkistan published in recent years.

The author is a young American who had been in business on the coast of China and had taken the trouble to learn the language thoroughly. He left Peking early in 1926, being then only twenty-six years old, and travelled across the desert of Inner Mongolia. In his previous book The Desert Road to Turkistan he has described his journey as far as Ku Cheng-tze in the north-east of Sinkiang. The present book is a continuation and contains an account of his further travels through Sinkiang to India.

Mr. Lattimore is a close observer and has read 'widely. The book is no mere record of a journey but contains well-informed and intelligent digressions into history, politics and commercial matters. There seems to be little, if anything, regarding Sinkiang with which he has failed to make himself thoroughly acquainted either by study or observation, and everyone who has any interest in that outlying province of China should read the book and cannot fail to profit by doing so.

Mr. Lattimore's heart is obviously in the great deserts, far from civilization either eastern or western, and his favourite companions are the ordinary camel-pullers. He is, however, at home in any kind of Chinese society and his knowledge of the Chinese language and social customs was of the greatest use to him throughout his journey. Many a traveller's difficulties in Chinese Turkistan could be smoothed away by a knowledge and use of the right phrase at the right moment, and few travellers have the necessary knowledge.

The author deprecates the idea that his journey was anything remarkable. He had lost the illusion of " the adventurousness of travel-the great travellers' bluff " and makes some amusing remarks about people who seize every excuse for calling themselves " expeditions ".

He travelled to Urumchi, the provincial capital, and thence to Chuguchak on the Siberian border where he met his wife. Mrs. Lattimore had been summoned from Peking by a wireless message sent from Urumchi, and had travelled to Semipalatinsk by train and thence to Chuguchak by sledge, no mean achievement for a woman in the depth of winter. The Lattimores then went back to Urumchi, paid a flying visit to Turfan and thence travelled to Kulja and the T'ien Shan. They crossed the Muz-art pass to Aksu and went south-west to Kashgar, then on to Yarkand and the Karakoram pass.

Parts of the book are very amusing and some passages are perhaps written even too facetiously for some tastes. The description of soldiering in Sinkiang as " the profession of those without enough address to beg or energy to work " is an apt one. The remarks on local history and politics are particularly interesting. In comparing British methods in India with Chinese ones in Sinkiang, he remarks _ " a most important basic instinct which, as I believe, the Chinese and British really have in common, whenever they are at their best- pragmatic instinct for doing the best that can be done on the t with the men and materials to hand ".

Although Mr. Lattimore does not dwell on unpleasant episodes, he and his wife must have had a particularly trying time at Hsi Su, north of the T'ien Shan, when Mrs. Lattimore was pelted with mud by children and they were both jostled by a rough crowd. Almost invariably, however, they were very courteously treated.

It is interesting to learn that a mixed party at Turfan found that their only common language was Chinese. A similar thing might occur in the case of a mixed party in India, even if they were all Indians. English might well be the only language which they could all speak.

There is a whole chapter on the various breeds of horses and Mr. Lattimore may be interested to know that the reviewer eventually acquired the horse which he got from " Ma, the great man " at Shatta and that the British Vice-Consul at Kashgar now has it.

The author was accompanied by the faithful Moses, friend rather than servant, a Chinese who had served his father and therefore adressed him as " Shao-yeh" or " young master". This gave much face both to master and servant. Moses appears throughout the book, usually more or less amusingly.

There are some passages of fine writing but lack of space forbids the quotation of more than one.

"The moonlight was growing dim as we rode down from the hills into a stretch of bare gravel. Then a black bulk of trees rose out of the formless night; we splashed through running water, and by that token passed out of desert into oasis. We had ridden from before sunset until the dawn, for by the time we rode under the trees the birds were beginning to wake. On ahead, at one side of the road, was a deep grove of old elms, under which in the uncertain light showed the wry walls and sagging eaves of a temple of battered splendor. As the light grew stronger, we rode under a noble p'ai-lou or ceremonial arch, and saw the decaying mud walls of a fortified city. In the bazar that straggled at one side of it, not even a dog howled at us. We hammered on the toppling gates of a serai until a wan opium smoker opened them and we, almost as uncertain on our feet with sleep as he, found ourselves a dark windowless cell in which to spread a blanket that I had brought rolled behind my saddle, and lay down to sleep, having attained Ching Ho, the town of the Pure River''.

The illustrations are good and more would have been welcome. The map is excellent. The author is scrupulously exact in his spelling of both place and personal names. He calls the grazing-ground on the north side of the Muz-art pass " Kohne Yailak ", " the old pasture ". It is usually considered to be " Khana Yailak " or " Khan Yailak ", " the lordly pasture ", but Mr. Lattimore may possibly be right. His " Tamgai Tash " south of the Muz-art is " Tamgha Tash ", the " seal stones from rock-markings which are supposed to resemble the impressions of seals. His Ladakhi servant " Tashi Serengh " was really " Tashi Tsering ".

He is a little hard on the British Aqsaqals in the south of the province, but he acknowledges that they are helpful to travellers, although this is only a very small part of their duties, which chiefly consist of helping the British Consul-General to protect the interests of the local British-Indian subjects.

The book closes on the Khardung pass before the arrival at Leh and no space is wasted on the well-known journey down to Srinagar.

The dedication is, fittingly enough, to Mr. Pan Tsi-lu who had been a friend of Mr. Lattimore in China and who has since held various official appointments in Sinkiang. Mr. Lattimore is not the only traveller who has had reason to thank Mr. Pan for assistance and advice.

F. Williamson.

MOUNT EVEREST AND ITS TIBETAN NAMES: A Review of Sir Sven Hedin's Book.-By Colonel Sib Sidney Bubbabd.

Dehra Dun: The Geodetic Branch Office, Survey of India, 1931.

9 ½ x 6 inches; 18 pages. 8 As. or 10d.

In 1926 Dr. Sven Hedin, the Swedish explorer, published a book in German in which he drew attention to the fact that a range of mountains within sixty miles of Mount Everest had appeared on D'Anville's map, published in Paris in 1733, under the name of Tchoumou Lancma. He argues from this that the name " Mount Everest" which has been used for sixty years should now give way to the previous name entered on the French map. Sir Sidney Burrard has written this able paper critically examining Sven Hedin's contention. In the correspondence with the Tibetan Government about the Mount Everest expeditions during the last decade, that government used the word Chama Lung or Chamo Lung. Allowing for the different systems of transliteration of names into French and English, there can be no doubt that this name is identical with that on the old French map.

The present writer has had an opportunity of seeing these letters from the Tibetan Government. The Tibetans were not very particular about the spelling of the middle syllable which is ' Ma ' or ' Mo' indifferently ; but there is never any doubt about the first one,' Cha The letter used is that which means ' a bird'. This goes to support the probability that Sir Charles Bell's derivation of the name, which he was given in Lhasa by one of the Dalai Lama's secretaries, a man of exceptional knowledge and intelligence, is accurate. According to him, the word is short for Cka-Dzi-ma-lung-pa, and means " the district where birds are kept ".

Furthermore the word lung in Tibetan means a valley or district, not a mountain. It therefore seems certain that this word Chama (or Chamo) Lung cannot refer to a mountain, but to a district. I know of no Tibetan mountain which is named Lung. Most mountains contain the words Si (= mountain) or Kang (= snow).

The mountain was first observed from the plains of India in 1849. Three years later it was realized that this was the highest peak at that time known on the face of the earth, though there was every probability that still higher ones existed. As no local name was forthcoming, and after waiting till 1865, the Survey of India adopted the name Mount Everest. After this, on several occasions, native names were suggested. All these are now universally admitted to have been wrong. Had Hodgson's or Schlagintweit's names been adopted at the time they were proposed, one wonders whether Sven Hedin would have been so anxious to raise again this old controversy now. This consideration arises from the fact that Hedin has thought it necessary for his argument to decry the work of Colonel Sir George Everest after whom the mountain was named. This seems to be quite beside the point. At the time of the discovery, and for many years afterwards, no native name could be found. The name Mount Everest was therefore given and was accepted. Either this name stands for scientific reasons or it falls for scientific reasons. The eminence or otherwise of Sir George Everest does not seem to matter, though Sir Sidney Burrard has shown us what an eminent surveyor and mathematician he actually was.

At the time when, the search for a name was in progress, it was never suggested that a name written along a range of mountains in an obscure corner of a little-known map more than a century earlier, was the name of the mountain which was being sought; a name, moreover, which even now should not be, for philological reasons, be applied to a snow mountain.

The name ' Mount Everest' was only chosen after all efforts to find a local name had failed. That name, which under such circumstances was chosen sixty-five years ago, should not now be displaced by another name, on which so much doubt can be cast as to its authenticity. We are under a debt to Sir Sidney Burrard for his excellent statement of the facts of the case.

F. M. Bailey.

IM LAND DER STURME.-By Emil Trinkler. Leipzig: F. A.

Brockhaus, 1930. 9 x 6 inches ; 243 pages ; 120 illustrations ;

sketch-map. 15 marks.


Translated from the German by B. K. Featherstone. London:

Sedey Service and Co., Ltd., 1931. 8 ½ X 6 inches; 312 pages;

27 illustrations; sketch-map. 21s.

The first of these two books is the popular account in German of the late Dr. Emil Trinkler's notable journey into Central Asia during 1927 and 1928. The second is a free English translation of the same journey. It is not necessary here to give an account of the expedition, since a fairly full summary has already appeared in The Himalayan Journal, vol. i, pp. 90-93, while Dr. Trinkler has summarized his observations on the Ice-Age in Eastern Ladakh in The Himalayan Journal, vol. iii, pp. 42-50, and a brief review of his companion's morphological observations appeared in the latter volume, p. 143. It is sufficient to say that the expedition was of considerable importance, and the scientific results, when published in detail, should be of much interest.

The titles of both these books are appropriate, for the Lingzi-tang and the Aksai-chin are probably the most desolate and most windswept of all the plateaux of Asia, while there are few days along the desert edge of the Taklamakan free from violent sand-storms, which make travel extremely uncomfortable and almost impossible. The narrative of the expedition is therefore one of perseverance and a large amount of discomfort, cheerfully borne for the sake of science.

The English translation, though somewhat too free in some places, has been enthusiastically carried out. It is indeed most enterprising of both the translator and the publisher to give it to us. No attempt has been made in the German account to include any scientific results, except in a very brief and inadequate appendix, so none can be expected in the translation. Is it too much to expect Mr. Featherstone and Mr. Service, both of whom are Fellows of the Royal Geographical Society, to give us the scientific results in English, when Dr. de Terra completes the second volume in German ? The first was fortunately sent to press by Dr. Trinkler before his tragic death.

A few minor slips and errors may be noted in the German account; these have rather naturally remained in the translation, since Mr. Featherstone is unacquainted with the ground. On page 34 of the German account (translation, p. 44) the peak referred to should be Pk. 26/52 J, instead of 26/52. The ' J ' is important since practically none of these summits have any names, and the triangulated ones have been numbered by the Survey of India by areas bounded by each degree of latitude and longitude. There are sixteen degree sheets in map 52, and there may therefore be sixteen peaks numbered 26(1). Similarly, on page 48 of the translation the remark in parenthesis, " peak No. 1/52 ", which, by the way, I cannot find in the German on page 36, should probably be Pk. 1/52M. The traveller was then working on map 52N, but Pk. 1/52N is west of him, not north. Pk. 1 /52M is some 50 miles to his north and near the western end of the Lokzung mountains. With a height of 21,040 feet it is a conspicuous summit from all over the Lingzi-tang(2). There is a small slip on page 88 of the German (translation, p. 121), where the Mazar Tagh is said to be south of Khotan instead of north.

In order to translate a popular book of travel from German into English and to make it readable for the public, a certain amount of latitude and freedom is permissible. Great care should however be exercised so that the sense is not changed and that errors do not creep in. On page 58 Mr. Featherstone writes: " In the west rose a most impressive chain of peaks". The Schneemassiv, which is hardly a chain of peaks, with Lake Lighten north-east of it, lies to the east of the traveller's route both actually and in the German account (p. 44). On page 145 of the translation we read " We reached the main caravan route, which leads from Maralbashi south, after a five days' march and came to Chahar Chamba Bazar ". I think the correct translation should be : "In a five days' march we reached Chahar Chamba Bazar on the great road leading from Maralbashi southwards ". The two renderings are not quite the same, and since Dr. Trinkler was " relieved to see the last of Maralbashi ", it is probable that he followed the main road for five days. There is a curious circumlocution on page 141 of the translation (page 111 of the German), where griinlichen Porphyriten und schwarzen Andesiten is rendered as " porphyrite and black trappoid rocks like basalt ". Why not merely " greenish porphyrite and black andesite ? "

1) A photograph of Pk. 26/52J appears in The Himalayan Journal, vol. iii, p. 44.

(2) An illustration of this remarkable peak, Pk. 1/52M, appears in Drew's book, Jummoo and Kashmir Territories, p. 343.

A few inconsistencies occur which might have been avoided during the proof stage. The hard woody fuel generally known to travellers as burtse i3 spelt indifferently, burtsar, burze, and correctly. Caravanbaschi on page 253 is correctly spelt caravanbashi on page 274, where the expedition was travelling down the Thulanbuti Chu, not up. And is it not more usual to speak of " a herd of antelope and kiang ", rather than " a herd of antelopes and kiangs ". Most of these are very minor points, but taken together as a whole they do just mar the excellence of the book.

The German account is very fully illustrated by over a hundred photographs, mostly taken by M. Bosshard, and by beautiful reproductions of some exceedingly attractive water-colour sketches, drawn under exceptional difficulties by Dr. Trinkler. It is a pity that these illustrations have not been inserted in their correct order, and often nowhere near the text to which they refer. Doubtless for reasons of economy none of the water-colour reproductions and a large number of the other illustrations have been omitted from the English version. In these difficult times perhaps we ought not to complain ; but would it not have been possible to borrow the blocks from Messrs. Brock- haus ? And for books of travel such as these, when a good deal of new ground has been covered and new topographical surveys carried out, good maps are essential. On the map at the end of Im Land der Sturme, it certainly is just possible to follow the route; on that published in the English version, it most certainly is not possible to do so. Moreover it should not be necessary to have to turn the book through an angle of ninety degrees to read the map, such as it is.


London : Seeley, Service & Co., 1931. 6 x 3 ¼ inches ; 160 pages;

32 illustrations; 3s. 6d.

Countless books have been written on Kashmir in the English language and it might be thought that there was no necessity to add to their number. But when a publisher embarks on a series which contains such books as Things seen in Switzerland, Things seen in Venice, it is natural that such a series would be incomplete without a Things seen in Kashmir. It is still more natural that Dr. Ernest Neve should be chosen to write it, for no one knows the country better than he.

When Maharaja Gulab Singh said in 1854: " My subjects are very bad; I am sure that no one can do them any harm and I am anxious to see whether the padre sahibs can do them any good ", the Kashmir Medical Mission was founded by Robert Clark. Fifty years ago Dr. Arthur Neve went to Kashmir to take up his duties in that Mission; four years later he was joined by his brother Ernest. Since the early 'eighties the two brothers have devoted their lives to the welfare of the people of the country. To-day as many as twelve major and forty minor operations may be performed in a single day, and the number of patients prescribed for in a year, if they stood in single file, would stretch for thirty-two miles.

None of these details are mentioned in the little book we are reviewing. But the unostentatious work of Dr. Ernest forms the raw material for it. Both his brother, up to the day when he died, and he have sought out their patients in their villages. In their brief ' holidays ', taken when the work at headquarters permitted one of them to snatch a change of air, or when some violent outbreak of cholera has demanded their presence where the pestilence was most virulent, they have, between them, visited almost every corner of the State.

This unpretentious little book is therefore delightful. Many of the things seen may be seen by anyone who goes to Kashmir; some are missed by most of us. All of them are charmingly told by one who loves the tarns and torrents, peaks and glaciers, temples and gardens and wild flowers. To me personally it brings back fascinating memories of days spent with Dr. Ernest on mountain sides twenty years ago, when he taught me to love the country and to understand its people.

Kenneth Mason.