Ancient Buddhist statue found by Nazi expedition was carved from thousand-year-old meteorite


This is exactly what Global Studies is all about. Of all the exotic images that the West has ever projected onto Tibet, that of the Nazi expedition, and its search for the pure remnants of the Aryan race, remains the most bizarre. In April 1938 the SS undertook its biggest and most ambitious expedition to Tibet, led by Ernst Schäfer, a veteran explorer, and the anthropologist Bruno Beger. On the nineteenth of January 1939, the five members of the Waffen-SS, Heinrich Himmler’s feared Nazi shock troops, passed through the ancient, arched gateway that led into the sacred city of Lhasa. Like many Europeans, they carried with them idealized and unrealistic views of Tibet, projecting, as Orville Schell remarks in his book Virtual Tibet, “a fabulous skein of fantasy around this distant, unknown land.” The projections of the Nazi expedition, however, did not include the now familiar search for Shangri-La, the hidden land in which a uniquely perfect and peaceful social system held a blueprint to counter the transgressions that plague the rest of humankind. Rather, the perfection sought by the Nazis was an idea of racial perfection that would justify their views on world history and German supremacy.

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