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The Sherpas of Nepal : Buddhist Highlanders by Christoph Von Furer-Haimendorf

The Sherpas of Nepal : Buddhist Highlanders by Christoph Von Furer-Haimendorf


Berkeley, C.A. : University of California Press, 1964. First American Edition. Hardcover. 298 pages ; b/w photographs, map ; 21 cm. $6.50 dust jacket with minimal wear. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.

By Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf

This is the first anthropological study of the Sherpas, a tribe of hillmen figuring in the reports on all the great Himalayan mountaineering ventures. They live in the valleys at the foot of the Mount Everest massif, and Professor Haimendorf shows that, despite a harsh climate and the extreme altitude of their habitat, the Sherpas have developed a pattern of life rich in social, aesthetic and spiritual achievements. To many readers familiar with their prowess as intrepid mountaineers and hardy expedition porters their highly organized social order, their great civic sense and elaboration of ceremonial, their practice of polyandry and above all the devotion of many men and women to monastic ideals and a sophisticated religious life will come as a surprise. Buddhist belief and practice pervade many of the community's activities and the average Sherpa's aspirations present a perfect balance between this-worldly and otherworldly aims.

Between 1953 and 1962 Professor Haimendorf spent twenty-five months in the Buddhist highlands of Nepal, and his descriptions of the social aspects of Buddhist ritual and monastic institutions form an important addition to our knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism as a living religion.

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