written by Mark Griffiths
Chatto and Windus | ISBN 9780701181222
Hardback – 352 pages
Member’s price: $53.96
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The Lotus is the world's most iconic flower. Galvanized by receiving seeds from a three-thousand-year-old lotus, which flowered without difficulty in an English summer, Mark Griffiths set out to track the path of this sublime plant to its home in the Lotus-Lands of Japan. His quest, from the basement of Burlington House in Piccadilly to a mountain top in northern Japan, involved many adventures and revealed extraordinary new material. "The Lotus Quest" touches on the lotus in ancient Egypt and India and on the plant's medicinal uses, as well as the inspiration it has provided to Western artists. Most of all, it unveils a stunning vision of Japan's feudal era, as Griffiths visits shrines, ruins, gardens and wild landscapes, and meets priests and archaeologists, philosophers and anthropologists, gardeners and botanists, poets and artists, and even dines on the lotus in a Tokyo cafe. By the end, when we reach the hauntingly beautiful Japanese temple of Chuson-ji, we understand why this flower has been so intimately involved with human history at so many levels, over so vast an expanse of time. Beautifully illustrated, intensely atmospheric and full of suspense, "The Lotus Quest" shows how the deep crimson of the lotus runs like a tracer dye, tracking the spread, fusion and fission of the world's great civilizations.