Luboš Bělka: Six Years in Tibet: the Czechoslovaks in Lhasa 1954-1959


15. 1. 2020 14:30


Trainee centre 3.40, Vodární 6, Olomouc


The lecture introduces the proposal for a project focused on the processing and subsequent use of research material relating to the unique period of the 1950s, when Czechoslovaks visited the People’s Republic of China; tourism at that time did not exist. The Czechoslovak visitors reported on their experiences through films and radio reports, books, magazine articles, etc. All these reports were in the spirit of constructive enthusiasm in the allied China. But far more interesting is the hidden face, that is hitherto unpublished materials such as private travel journals, which offer a much more plastic and colored picture of the period before the split between Beijing and Moscow.

The first step was the publication of the Chinese Travelogue of the archaeologist and Buddhologist Lumír Jisl from years 1957-1958 (Brno 2016). Two more publications of unknown, never published texts by Jan Vinař (Tibet 1959, a reportage of about 100 pages) and Vladimír Sís and Josef Vaniš (Tibet 1954, private travel diaries, about 700 pages) also deserve to be published.

The sources include a rich visual (film, photography) and textual material (published, but especially unpublished texts, diaries, correspondence, etc.). Also, no professional monograph on the Czechoslovak presence in Tibet in the 1950s has been written.