An Account of Tibet
The Travels of Ippolito Desideri of Pistoia, S.J. 1712- 1727
Edited by Filippo De Filippi
Introduction by C. Wessels
Routledge – 2004 – 536 pages
First published in 1932.
As well as an extensive introduction, this edition contains notes to all four books, a bibliographical index, a general index and an index of Tibetan words. The introduction is particularly valuable in that it sets the importance of Desideri's mission in the general context of the Jesuit Missions to Tibet.
In Desideri's account we receive the first accurate general description of Tibet: from the natural world to the sociological and anthropological aspects of the people and a complete exposition of Lamaism. His is the only complete reconstruction that we possess of the Tibetan religion, founded entirely on canonical texts. And all of this more than a century before Europeans had any knowledge of the Tibetan language.