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Austrian explorer Joseph Rock was in the southwest of China from 1922 to 1949.
Joseph Francis Rock (1884-1962) arrived in China and spent the best part of 30 years collecting plants, hunting birds, taking photographs, shooting films and exploring the mountainous regions of the southwest of China for various prestigious American institutions including the Department of Agriculture, the National Geographic Society and Harvard University. When Rock first arrived in China, he made his headquarters in a small Naxi village near Lijiang in southwest China. There Rock discovered the Naxi priests, the Dongbas, and their religious pictographic script. Rock was fascinated and over the years he compiled a dictionary of the script. When the Second World War broke out Rock refused to leave China, spending most of the war in Lijiang writing. Eventually Rock left Lijiang in 1944. On 5 December 1962, a month before the dictionary was published, Rock died of a heart attack in Honolulu surrounded by his beloved Naxi pictograms.