The Righteous and Harmonious Fists

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|November 3, 2017|Collections & Research|0 comments

Taking place in the wake of serious drought, floods and hunger, The Boxer Rebellion, Yihetuan or most poetically, The Righteous and Harmonious Fists Movement, was an uprising in China that took place between 1899 and 1900. Tensions rose quickly, culminating with serious anti-foreigner violence in Peking (Beijing) and the city being taken under siege by ‘the Boxers’. Eight international forces eventually forcibly subdued the rebels and the following September the Peking Protocol was

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Chōsen shisetsu gyōretsu zukan [Procession of Korean Ambassadors]

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|October 22, 2017|Collections & Research|0 comments

This week’s blog looks at one of SOAS Library’s most treasured manuscripts, Chōsen shisetsu gyōretsu zukan or Procession of Korean Ambassadors, currently on display at the School’s Brunei Gallery. It also features on an episode of the BBC Antiques Roadshow, hosted from the University of London’s Senate House, which screened on Sunday 22nd October 2017 – part of the School’s Centenary celebrations. This handscroll painting, over 12 metres in length, captures the pageantry surrounding

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Butterfield and Swire’s Secret Code!

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|October 4, 2017|uncategorized|0 comments

SOAS holds the extensive archives of John Swire and Sons (JSS), a two hundred year old business established in Liverpool by one John Swire. Initially a modest textiles import-export business, after John’s death in 1847 it began to trade all manner of goods with Asia, from fencing wire to silks, Guinness to tea, and with great success. Still thriving today, the Swire Group is perhaps most famously known for its air

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Gladys Aylward

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|September 10, 2017|Collections & Research|

Born in North London, in 1902, Gladys Aylward worked as a housemaid from the age of 14. In 1925, she became convinced that she had received God’s calling to spread his word in China after attending an evangelical meeting. She was refused missionary service in China by the China Inland Mission Centre in London, for failing their examinations. In October 1930, Gladys realized her ambition when she went to Yangchen

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Memories of Partition – 70 years on

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|August 14, 2017|Collections & Research|2 comments

This week’s blog is written by our South Asia Librarian, Farzana Whitfield, and marks the 70th anniversary of the Partition of India. Farzana looks back on her family’s personal experience and memories of Partition. This August marks 70 years of India’s independence from British rule (15th August) giving birth to 2 nations- a Hindu majority India and a Muslim majority Pakistan (14th August). Subsequently there were 3 wars between India

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The China Association

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|August 10, 2017|Collections & Research|

The China Association was a mercantile body, formed to represent the interests of those concerned with trade to China, Hong Kong and Japan. Working closely alongside the London Chamber of Commerce, local Chambers, the Federation of British Industries and the Foreign Office, the Association took on the grievances of British traders in China and presented these to the British government and the Chinese authorities. The Association was created following a

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David Storm Rice’s excavations at Harran, Turkey

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|July 28, 2017|Collections & Research|0 comments

This week’s blog looks at the papers of David Storm Rice’s excavations at Harran, Turkey. Rice, a SOAS academic, made four expeditions to Harran in the 1950s. Each expedition is represented in the archive, which includes notes, photographs, drawings, and correspondence made in the field, documenting not only Rice’s findings but also the practical side of organising an archaeological dig. Harran is in south-east Turkey, not far from Urfa and

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200 Years of Swire: Butterfield & Swire

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|July 10, 2017|Collections & Research|1 comments

In continuation of our celebration of the bi-centenary of John Swire & Sons, this week’s blog post takes a closer look at Butterfield & Swire, the Eastern managers for the interests of John Swire & Sons in China and Japan. Butterfield and Swire, the Far Eastern trading company of John Swire and Sons [JS&S], was one of three companies established from the partnership of John and William Swire with R

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Miniature Portraits in the London Missionary Society Archive

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|July 3, 2017|Behind the scenes, Collections & Research|0 comments

This week’s blog looks more closely at a fascinating collection of miniature portraits found in the archive of the London Missionary Society, which are currently undergoing conservation treatment to ensure their long-term preservation. The archive of the London Missionary Society is rich in visual materials, including photographs, drawings, paintings and engravings. Amongst this material is a unique collection of 165 miniatures dating from  around 1798 to 1844, primarily watercolour on

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Academics, Agents and Activists: A history of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 1916-2016

By Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library|June 23, 2017|Collections & Research|1 comments

John Hollingworth, Gallery Manager and co-curator of ‘Academics, Agents & Activists: a history of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 1916-2016’, concludes his overview of this fascinating centenary exhibition recently on display at the Brunei Gallery, which showcased material from the incredibly rich archive collections at SOAS – both the School’s own institutional archive and material held by Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library. The exhibition was organized around

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