Asian Art News



Dear Friends,

On July 16th, a friend - Charlie Barder- and I will be departing from Goodwood Racecourse to drive a clapped out, underpowered Fiat Doblo for 3-4 weeks and around 7,000 miles across Western Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. We are participating in the Mongol Rally- a charity event held each year in the UK.


Participating cars must be inexpensive and are limited to an engine size of around 1 litre. Our vehicle is 14 years old, has a 1.2 litre engine and looks a bit like an aquarium on wheels.

Despite its name, the rally actually passes through Mongolia and terminates at Ulan Ude in Siberia, the capital of the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Buryatia. Charlie and I are paying all of our own expenses and 100% of all the money we raise will therefore be donated to charity. If you would like to find out more about the Mongol Rally, their website link is as follows:


I will be fundraising for the Child Bereavement UK charity. It supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. HRH Prince William is its patron and they are an extremely lean, well-run charity that helps many, many people. Their website link is as follows:


Here is their own description of what they do:

Every day Child Bereavement UK deals with something that many people find too unbearable to contemplate – the untimely deaths of parents and children. It’s human nature for us to want to distance ourselves from this as something that happens to other people, but every year child bereavement is experiences by thousands of families in the UK. Child Bereavement UK is here to guide families through the long and difficult journey of grief. We are here to help them find the support they need, wherever they are in their journey and for as long as they need it.


I'll be sending more updates about the rally over the next few months. If you would like to support me with a donation to Child Bereavement UK please visit our page at Virgin Money Giving:


We would really appreciate any donation, however small.


With best wishes and many thanks,

Jonathan Tucker




The Silk Road - China and the Karakorum Highway: A Travel Companion
by Jonathan Tucker
Foreword by: Paul Theroux
Price: £14.99

The Silk Road - Central Asia, Afghanistan and Iran: A Travel Companion
by Jonathan Tucker
Foreword by: Paul Theroux
Price: £14.99

The ancient trade routes between Europe and the Orient endured for almost two thousand years. Stretching from the former Chinese capital of Xian across the expanses of Central Asia to Rome, the Silk Road was a vibrant network of arteries that carried the lifeblood of nations across the world.

From the East came silk, precious stones, tea, jade, paper, porcelain, spices and cotton; from the West, horses, weapons, wool and linen, aromatics, entertainers and exotic animals. From its earliest beginnings in the days of Alexander the Great and the Han dynasty, the Silk Road expanded and evolved, reaching its peak during the Tang dynasty and the Byzantine Empire and gradually withering away with the decline of the Mongol Empire.


These two new books are concise, more portable versions of Jonathan Tucker's acclaimed book, "The Silk Road: Art and History," hailed by The Literary Review as "a beautiful book ...the most informative work on the subject." Replete with fascinating details of the main historical sites, works of art, accounts by ancient and modern travellers, legends, poetry and other literary references, photographs, maps and site-plans, these two new publications will be essential reading for all those interested in or planning to travel the ancient Silk Road.



‘The Troublesome Priest: Harold Davidson, Rector of Stiffkey’ by Jonathan Tucker.

Published by Michael Russell (Publishing) Ltd. ISBN no. 978-0-85955-307-0.

Price £15.95


This new book is an account of one of the most extraordinary scandals of the 20th century. Its principal character was the Reverend Harold Francis Davidson MA (1875-1937), described by A.J.P. Taylor as a ‘parable of the age’. Davidson was one of the most colourful and eccentric icons of the era and his fall, brought about by a combination of hubris, poor judgement and church politics, was truly spectacular.

After studying for the priesthood Davidson enjoyed a brief theatrical career before being appointed vicar of the quiet North Norfolk coastal village of Stiffkey. He devoted only Saturdays and Sundays to his parish, spending his weekdays ministering to young theatre girls and prostitutes. His neglect of his parishioners and his obsession with young girls was bound to lead to trouble and, in 1932, a complaint was made to the Bishop of Norwich by a 17 year-old called Barbara Harris. Davidson was investigated and charged with five counts of immorality under the Clergy Discipline Act. The trial began in March 1932 and created a sensation, displacing the rise of Hitler and the Japanese attack on Shanghai from the headlines.

He was convicted and publicly defrocked, spending the five remaining years of his life leading a bizarre, tragic existence trying to clear his name. He first had himself nailed into a barrel on the Blackpool Promenade, charging curious onlookers 2d. a look to raise money for his appeal. Other stunts followed but by late 1936 he was broke and decided to sign up with a lion act at the Skegness Amusement Park. In July 1937 one of them attacked him. Davidson was pulled from the cage (appropriately enough by a 16-year-old girl), but had broken a bone in his neck and died two days later.

Even after seventy years the story still arouses intense debate. The author has investigated claims by Davidson’s family that he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice and discovered that there were grave anomalies in the trial.




Silk Road Map

Featuring the ancient network of routes from China to Europe

By Jonathan Tucker

Photography: Antonia Tozer

Publisher: Odyssey Publications,Hong Kong

Price: £8.99


Made famous in the West by the Venetian adventurer Marco Polo, the ancient Silk Road spanned one-quarter of the circumference of the Earth. An intricate network of trading routes, in its heyday it stretched from Luoyang and Xi'an in China, through Central Asia to Istanbul and Rome, perhaps the first example of the globalisation of trade. This is a double sided, illustrated, folded map/information sheet of the Silk Road routes across Central Asia, the Middle East, Asia Minor and China. There is one large scale overview map of land and sea routes plus three more detailed regional maps. The 'map' includes comprehensive notes with cultural and historical information on key places and people.


+ One large overview map and three detailed regional maps

+ Comprehensive notes with cultural and historical information on key places and people

+ Special essay on Afghanistan's geographical and historical significance to Silk Road trade

+ 33 superb colour photographs

+ Easy-to-use fold-out format




‘The Silk Road: Art and History’

By Jonathan Tucker

Photography: Antonia Tozer

Hardcover: 400 pages

Publisher: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd; First Edition edition (21 Feb. 2003)

The Literary Review: "a beautiful book ...the most informative work on the subject."