Reading Lists
Looking for an introduction into Yunnan? Interested in minorities, history or fauna and flora? Here YunnanExplorer presents you with some introductory reading lists to take on your trip, read at your desk or on the sofa.

Missionaries

Are you a missionary in need of some pat on the shoulder when not even the rice-Christians are showing up for service? Here comes our selection of uplifting stories from Yunnan missionaries. Just remember: the one's who never made a convert, never made it back or never made it full stop never wrote books.

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Ethnobotany

Arguably, man-kind has survived much longer with gathering and swidden agriculture than it will using modern intensive industrialized farming. The books in this list go to the roots of indigenous knowledge in plant-use and hill farming. Plus one of the books tells you the mystery why hill-farmers need to understand prime numbers.

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Classic Travel Reads

Easy-reading travel novels, some true, some less so. Our list of Yunnan holiday reading.

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Joseph Rock

Of all the westerner who made it to Yunnan, Joseph Francis Rock was undoubtedly one of the most eccentric. A self-educated botanist and anthropologist, a recluse, a photographic pioneer, a lousy geographer and even worse writer: National Geographic's 'our man in China' left us with a string of (heavily staff-edited) NG articles and a few (almost unreadable) books. Here is our list.

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History

If you are a history buff, maybe these books are for you, but probably you have read them already.

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Early Maps

When Matteo Ricci, the Italian Jesuit, arrived in China in 1583, the Chinese had never seen a map of the world. When the Jesuits were expelled in 1723, they left not the many converts they had hoped for – but the first scientific atlas ever produced of China, with maps so authoritative that western explorers still relied on them more than one hundred years later.

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National Geographic

If your library is full of old National Geographic Magazines, then maybe try to hunt down these old articles published about Yunnan.

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Architecture

While modern Chinese architecture is nothing to write home about, Yunnan traditional architecture is actually quite interesting, making the best of local resources and climate for some quite comfortable buildings.

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Caravans

Horse caravans were once the main transport in Yunnan, not only providing a regional transport system, but also carrying culture and power.

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Bai Language

Resources for learning the Bai Language.

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Salt

Salt was one of the transformative products in Yunnan: tax revenues not only made up a large part of provincial income, but the also forced farmers into the cash economy.

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Yunnan Bronze

The Yunnan bronze age with the Dian Kingdom at its center remains a historic mystery.

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Buddhism in Yunnan

Starting from the Nanzhao Empire, Buddhism has played a significant role in Yunnan, developing its unique style.

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Prehistory

For most of Yunnan's history few records exist. This reading list covers archeological approaches to exploring the world of early human habitation.

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Erhai

Erhai is Yunnan's second largest lake. This reading list covers its geology and ecology.

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