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0230 History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2
History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2 / Page 230 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000210
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Goitso, just to the east of the Edsen-gol, the Gobi-group had also had an encounter, in the spring, with a band of robbers consisting of Tungans hailing from Kansu, who had specialized in robbing merchant-caravans. But this aggressive band of Mohammedans had not dared to molest the well-armed Swedes, who if the truth be known were quite spoiling for a fight.

From my home in Stockholm I heard that the expedition was again beginning to be in rather low financial water, chiefly owing to the fairly heavy expenditure on instruments for the Sinkiang section, to which I shall presently revert. The expenses for the Sinkiang-group were incomparably greater than those for the just as big Gobi-group.


It was at this time that we received into our ranks another addition to our international gallery of collaborators, the well-known sinologue Professor FERDINAND LESSING from the Museum für Völkerkunde in Berlin. During a stay in Stockholm in the spring of 193o, where as a specialist in lamaistic cult-objects he had been commissioned to value a large collection of lamaistic idols that was offered for sale, he had on many occasions met and conversed with my sister ALMA. As it happened, she was just then seeking a possibility of sending to AM-BOIT in Sinkiang some expensive and delicate instruments, namely, a large WILD's Präzisionstheodolit and four Inwar pendulums. As LESSING dearly wished to undertake a journey to the Far East, where he had lived for many years, afterwards pursuing scientific studies on the ethnology and the various languages of that part of the world, my sister ALMA arranged that Professor LESSING should have his journey to China paid for in consideration of his taking AMBOIT's instruments to Novo Sibirsk, that is, about half-way to Peking. (From Novo Sibirsk they were then to be despatched with a special messenger the remaining 1300 kilometers to the frontier of Sinkiang by the German consul, Herr GROSSKOPF.) It was thus that Professor LESSING came to Peking in the summer of 193o; and on our return from Jehol I had my first meeting with him, on July 14th. On this occasion we drew up a preliminary program for cooperation. He showed the greatest enthusiasm for our plans and immediately placed his immense funds of linguistic and folk-loristic knowledge at our disposal. He was engaged for some months for two special tasks: to help me collect historical material for the book on Jehol that I intended to write during the autumn, and, with his detailed knowledge of lamaistic cult to begin making a descriptive catalogue of 200 painted temple-flags (tankas) that MONTELL had acquired. Such tankas provide an infinitely rich field for the study of types of the lamaistic gods, the notions of heavens and hells, the legends of the innumerable saints, etc.