SOAS University of London

Brunei Gallery, SOAS University of London

Opium, Silk and the Missionaries in China

Opium, Silk and the Missionaries in China main image

Date: 18 May 2021Time: 10:00 AM

Finishes: 26 June 2021Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Foyle Gallery, Brunei Gallery, SOAS

Type of Event: Exhibition

Opium, Silk and the Missionaries in China retells one of the largely forgotten histories between Britain and China in the 19th Century.  

Drawing on several collections using artefacts to explore the history of the Opium Wars through botanical arts and tools; historical artefacts about silk; missionary work and intercultural shared experiences in China recorded by British Missionaries throughout this period. 

The exhibition includes sections looking at:

  • Story of the Opium Poppy species of flowering plant in the family Papaveraceae
  • Hong Kong taken from China as the fruits from the Opium War
  • 'Grand Chop' my ship sailed from China with a cargo of silk
  • The Mission from London to Canton
  • Gladys Aylward rejected by the China Inland Mission for her lack of education, she went to China as an independent missionary

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Opium, Silk and the Missionaries in China – a curator's tour

The exhibition was produced with the support of and in collaboration with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; King's College London; Royal Asiatic Society; SOAS Special Collections & Archives; Westminster City Archives, uncover hidden gems in archives,  a ‘Third Place’ to learn and reflect from history.

Online Event

We also ran an online event alongside this exhibition on 17 June. 'Of Jesus and Opium: the missionaries and Opium Wars' was online gallery tour and discussion between curator Iris Yau and Dr Lars Laamann (SOAS Senior Lecturer in the History of China).

You can view the event recording on the SOAS Youtube Channel.

Organiser: Brunei Gallery, SOAS

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