The selection of articles presented here offers a representative cross-section of the remarkable range of interests and abilities of one of the founding figures in the anthropological study of the Himalayas. Alexander Macdonald, who passed away in 2018, discovered Asia through his service in Burma with the Tenth Gurkha Rifles during the Second World War. On his return to Europe with the rank of major at the exceptionally young age of 23, he settled in France where he joined the CNRS and benefited from the teaching of some of the greatest scholars in Europe, including Rolf Stein and Claude Lévi- Strauss. He carried out fieldwork in Kalimpong and later Nepal, with studies in an extraordinarily wide range of fields, including the Tibetan epic, autobiography, art history, pilgrimage and Asian state formation, to mention just some of the domains that are covered in this volume. Macdonald was one of the first scholars to combine ethnographic methods with the use of literary Tibetan sources, often framed within wider theoretical considerations such as the pan-Asian vision of another of his teachers, Paul Mus. These articles, selected and edited by Anne Vergati and with a preface by Lokesh Chandra, are, in several cases, the first scholarly treatments of the topics they address, and have been the point of departure for the generations of younger researchers who have followed in the author’s footsteps.
The editor, Dr. Anne Vergati is an historian and anthropologist, Directeur de recherche CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) specialist of Newar society , Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.
She has published with A.W.Macdonald Newar Art. Nepalese Art in the Malla period . Warminster, Aris and Phillips, 1979.
After 1990 she has done field work in West Rajasthan on social and cultural representations of Indian society.