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Land of Pure Vision: The Sacred Geography of Tibet and the Himalaya

by David Zurick foreword by Eric Valli

Availablecloth$55.00s 978-0-8131-4551-8
136 pages  Pubdate: 07/17/2014  12 x 10  86 duotones

The landscapes of Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan are filled with holy places. Some are of natural origin—summits, rivers and lakes, caves, or forest sanctuaries. Others are consecrated by religious practice—shrines, temples, monasteries, or burial grounds. The holy sites of the Himalaya unite faith and geography to produce some of the most sublime places on Earth.

In Land of Pure Vision, David Zurick draws from his thirty-five years of experience as a geographer, photographer, and explorer of the Himalaya, combining scholarship and art to capture divine landscapes undergoing profound change. The stunning photographs featured in this volume cover the full geographical reach of the region, from the high plateaus of the western Himalaya to the rugged gorges of Tibet’s eastern borderlands, from the icy summits of the north to the subtropical southern foothills. Some sites exist in isolation, with intact natural environments and cultural monuments. Others display the tension between the ancient, sacred character of a place and the indifferent course of the modern world.

Land of Pure Vision explores how the religious practices of Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, and shamanism interweave holy sites into a cohesive landscape of transcendent beauty and inspiration. It portrays a world of mystery, magic, and beauty, where the human spirit is in synchronicity with natural forces. Beyond elegy, this beautifully illustrated book is a visual ethnography of people and place.

David Zurick is Foundation Professor of Geography at Eastern Kentucky University. He is the author of several books, including Himalaya: Encounters with the Roof of the World and Illustrated Atlas of the Himalaya.

An elegant, informative and unusual book, one that brings Zurick's years of research as a geographer to bear on the sacred landscape of the Himalayas and enriches this deep understanding with glorious photographs. -- Mark Turin, director of the Yale Himalaya Initiative and the Digital Himalaya and the World Oral Literature Projects

There is no book like this one. Zurick provides images distilled from a life of travel, scholarship, and residence in the region. He is one of the premiere cultural geographers of the Himalyan region, and it is the joining of this scholarship with an artist’s eye, a photographer’s skills, that makes this book work so well. -- Tom Fricke, author of Himalyan Households: Tamang Demography and Domestic Processes

“Zurick's photographic pilgrimage reveals to us with impeccable clarity the timeless beauty of the changing Himalayan sacred landscape.”--Kevin Bubriski, author of Portraits of Nepal and Nepal 1975-2011

"Change has been running rampant in Himalayan countries for decades now, and it takes a continuous and determined effort to capture those changes. David Zurick's vast experience throughout the Himalaya and his dedication to clear-eyed documentation give him a unique perspective on these shifts. Not shying away from jarring cultural contrasts, his work captures the extraordinary juxtapositions that characterize life in the Himalaya today. As various Himalayan landscapes continue to evolve, we are very fortunate to have his clarity of vision to capture the things that were and the things that appear in altogether new forms.”--Paul Kallmes, mountaineer and author of Summit

“There is a Zen quality to this book I really like. The quality of David’s photographs has to do with his artistic eye, for sure, but it is an eye nourished by an intimate knowledge of the place. This book is born from the fascination of the author with this part of the world. Above all, it is a love story. You hear the silence, feel the wind, the cold, the peace, and the magic . . . then you begin to understand why such places have drawn so many fine dreamers and adventurers for centuries. How can one resist such magic?"--Eric Valli, filmmaker and author of Himalaya (from the foreword)