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In Search of Shambhala? Nicholas Roerich’s 1934–5 Inner Mongolian Expedition

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image of Inner Asia

During the 1920s and 1930s, Western visitors to Inner Mongolia came for a variety of reasons. Some came for the purpose of scholarship, others passed through on their way to visit the new ‘independent’ nation of Manchukuo, often at the invitation of the Japanese authorities. Among these visitors was Nicholas Roerich, the purpose of whose visit is still the subject of debate. Roerich’s journey through Inner Mongolia has attracted some scholarly attention, but there are still many unanswered questions about what it was that Roerich actually did while he was there, or what he hoped to achieve. This article draws on earlier studies, but analyses the available reports from the US State Department in China together with contemporary news reports, to place Roerich’s journey within the geopolitical context of the time.

Affiliations: 1: Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University, Australia


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