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The Lotus Quest Hardcover – 6 Aug 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (6 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701181222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701181222
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,128,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Book Description

A magical botanical adventure: a writer's journey in search of the mystery of the Lotus, sacred flower of religions from Egypt to Japan.

From the Inside Flap

The Lotus is the world's most iconic flower. Galvanised by receiving seeds of a three-thousand-year-old lotus, 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 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 Griffith visits shrines, ruins, gardens and wild landscapes, and meets priests and archaeologists, philosophers and anthropologists, gardeners and botanists, poets and artists.

By the end, when we reach the hauntingly beautiful Japanese temple of Chuson-ji, we understand why this one flower has been so widely and intimately involved with human history at so many levels and over so vast an expanse of time. Intensely atmospheric, suspenseful and magical, 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.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Mark Griffiths' pellucid prose elevates this story of the sacred lotus far above the usual run of travelogues. He is dealing here with a subtle mixture of botany, religion, the complexities of Japanese and European history and taste, and the secrets of the human heart. He is a worthy and witty commentator. A book worth every penny of its price.
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Format: Hardcover
Mark Griffiths is an expert and devote horticulturist, in every sense of the word. Botanical names, plant characteristics, and historical plant information permeate every portion of the book. Griffiths' search to learn more about the sacred lotus develops into an involved and fascinating study of plant archaeology and botanical culture of various societies ... across continents and through the eons. As he relays the path of his almost obsessive lotus quest, the depth and breadth of his horticultural knowledge is astounding. (I found myself marking page after page for later reference.)

This book will teach you more than you ever thought possible about lotus. Griffiths' travels through time and cultures provide an excellent understanding into why this aquatic plant captivated him so deeply. You too will gain an appreciation for the plant, while also gaining an appreciation for how plants are inexorably linked to societies, both past and present. Griffiths' horticultural knowledge and passion make him the ideal guide for the journey.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Review for The Lotus Quest

I am enjoying reading this book so far. It's everything you wondered about the Lotus, and then some. It is neither boring nor wordy, and I get bored easily with badly written books - and this is definitely not one of them. It begins with the author's obsession to track down the sacred lotus, down to its very roots.

Mark Griffiths whisks us away to the magical times and places the Sacred Lotus came from. He gives us the full biography of the Lotus, both physical and cultural and spiritual even its culinary uses.

I learn of cultures surrounding the Lotus, a little of the history and philosophers, emperors and kings & queens all who were also filled with curiosity and admiration about this remarkable plant. I journey on to Egypt, India, Japan, in search of the Sacred Lotus. It also has some beautiful pictures.

For me it answered a puzzling question as to, why in ancient Egyptian pictures did the sacred lotus seem blue rather than pink? Simples! The Blue Nile lotus and Nelumba sacred lotus are two different plants, also they represented the papyrus plant with a cone shape that looked a lot like the lotus seed pods. So all three plants at times have been, represented as the one Sacred Lotus.

As a gardener and poet and lover of history, this book is a sumptuous feast, but you don't have to be any of those things, to enjoy this book. Read it sipping twinning's green tea, orange & lotus, and drift into the oblivion of a great and enjoyable read...........
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
received in excellent condition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 18 May 2014
By Shaun McShane Zegarelli - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Admit to having a lotus obsession so the buying this book was not a leap. It's well written and absorbing. For would be ethno botanists a treat. Now am waiting for someone who will "gift me" a trip to Japan.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb insightful look at the history of the Lotus 10 July 2010
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Taeko-san sends to British highly regarded horticulturist Mark Griffiths three lotus seeds. Mr. Griffiths plants them in his garden as he has done with so many floras. They bloom beautifully for a day; in fact he felt they were the most beautiful plants he ever seen. Later, Mr. Griffiths learns that the seeds came from an anthropological dig in Japan and were astonishingly proven to be 3000 years old. Stunned he begins The Lotus Quest to understand how a relatively simple plant's seeds survived three millennia and how the lotus became the legend it is. His travels take him to Egypt and India before he arrives at his ultimate destination the Chuson-Ji Temple in Japan.

Anyone who thought botany is boring will change their mind with this superb insightful look at the history of the Lotus. Well written and engrossing, history, science and gardening converge as Mark Griffiths lovingly and reverently tells the true tale of the Sacred Flower, from past to present in his wonderful memoir.

Harriet Klausner
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lotus quest through history and geography 30 Sept. 2010
By P. Biles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Mark Griffiths is an expert and devote horticulturist, in every sense of the word. Botanical names, plant characteristics, and historical plant information permeate every portion of the book. Griffiths' search to learn more about the sacred lotus develops into an involved and fascinating study of plant archaeology and botanical culture of various societies ... across continents and through the eons. As he relays the path of his almost obsessive lotus quest, the depth and breadth of his horticultural knowledge is astounding. (I found myself marking page after page for later reference.)

This book will teach you more than you ever thought possible about lotus. Griffiths' travels through time and cultures provide an excellent understanding into why this aquatic plant captivated him so deeply. You too will gain an appreciation for the plant, while also gaining an appreciation for how plants are inexorably linked to societies, both past and present. Griffiths' horticultural knowledge and passion make him the ideal guide for the journey.
3.0 out of 5 stars History of the Lotus flower 11 May 2015
By Sue - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Too scientific for me, but interesting history going back to Ancient Greece.
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