The Newsletter 51 Summer 2009

A trip to Amnye Machen. The diary of Joseph F. Rock

Emilia Roza Sulek

Few Westerners have been to Golok. Many have contributed to its bad reputation. Nomads of what today is Golok Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China’s Qinghai Province, were, over decades of Western attempts to explore Tibet, portrayed as bandits and outlaws. Reading travelogues of Western travellers, who describe the dangers of meeting with Golok brigands, it becomes clear that few have ever really encountered any Golok or their territories. One man who did was Joseph F. Rock (1884-1962), a botanist working for Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum. Emilia Sulek delves into Rock’s diaries.