Asian Review

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This paper reports the linguistic and anthropological situation of an important but poorly documented region of Tibet, namely the cultural province of Kham. Characterized by "four rivers and six ranges, " the region n a historical frontier zone between Tibet proper and western provinces of China n has been a meeting place between the Tibetans and the Han Chinese and a common home for these peoples as well as other ethnic minorities. As an introduction to the ethnic and linguistic complexity of Kham, the paper pays a special attention to Gyalthang (Zhongdian), which is located on the southernmost tip of the frontier and is the last Khampa town in the embrace of the Yangtze river. An investigation of local history, cultural identity as well as linguistic diversity of this and other Kham communities not only advances our understanding of Kham regionalism, but also sheds light on Modern Tibet as a whole.



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