OVERRIDE

The Lotus Quest

In Search of the Sacred Flower

Mark Griffiths

St. Martin's Press

A captivating history of one of the world’s most iconic and mysterious flowers

Bewitched by a lotus which flowered from three-thousandyear- old seeds in his English garden, Mark Griffiths set out to track the origins and significance of this sublime plant in this beautifully-illustrated book. The Lotus Quest takes Griffiths from the headquarters of the Linnaean Society in London to a mountain top in northern Japan. As he travels in search of this ancient flower, Griffiths looks at the lotus’s significance in ancient Egypt and India, the plant’s medicinal uses and the inspiration it has provided to Western artists. As he tracks the plant, its story unveils a stunning vision of Japan’s feudal era with visits to shrines, ruins, gardens and wild landscapes as well as meetings with priests and archaeologists, philosophers and anthropologists, gardeners and botanists, poets and artists. He even dines on the lotus in a Tokyo cafe. By the end of Griffiths’ journey, when he reaches the hauntingly beautiful Japanese temple of Chuson-ji, readers will finally understand why the lotus has obsessed people throughout the ages.


BOOK EXCERPTS

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LOTUS QUEST
IA Celestial Plant1Prologue: In the Strong RoomA human skull is carved on the column beside the entrance. As we waited for our guest that morning, a flock of schoolchildren gathered around it. One of them began poking the eye sockets of this stone memento mori. A girl in the group told him to stop, that it was gross, possibly dangerous, and certainly not allowed. He knew better. This, he informed her, was how you found treasure. He was soon disappointed. No matter how vigorously he jabbed the death's head, there was no dull click, no grinding of megalithic mechanics, no slab that
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Lotus Quest

"Beautifully written, and hard to believe a book about a plant could be so full of human drama and suspense." —the Telegraph (UK)
“From the dusty vaults of the Linnean Society in London, and finally to Japan, Griffiths combines meticulous research with a writerly eye for detail. Illustrating the human journey of birth, death, transcendence and transfiguration, Griffiths leaves us quietly awed by the possibilities contain in a flower.”—Traveller (UK)
“Beautifully illustrated, rich in insights. Mark Griffiths writes beautifully. His enthusiasm and sense of wonder win. You’re with him on this quest.”—Gardens Illustrated (UK)
“[A] splendid new book. Griffiths [is] intoxicated by his subject. His every sense bends to the lotus. Fascinating.”—The Tablet (UK)

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Mark Griffiths

  • MARK GRIFFITHS is one of Britain’s leading plant experts. He is editor of The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening, the largest work on horticulture ever published, and the author or editor of multiple other books. A Fellow of the Linnaean Society, he has written regularly for The Times and now contributes to Country Life. He lives in Oxford, England.

  • Mark Griffiths Yoko Otsuki
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Lotus Quest

In Search of the Sacred Flower

Mark Griffiths

  • e-Book

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

St. Martin's Press

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