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The Story of a SteleChina's Nestorian Monument and Its Reception in the West, 1625-1916$
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Michael Keevak

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9789622098954

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622098954.001.0001

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The Return of the Missionaries

The Return of the Missionaries

(p.88) (p.89) 4 The Return of the Missionaries
The Story of a Stele

Michael Keevak

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter begins in the middle of the nineteenth century, a period of greater Western presence in China than ever before. Five treaty ports had been opened to Western trade and to Western diplomats following the first Opium War in 1842, and two more were ceded by 1860. For the first time in Chinese history, the empire was home to increasingly demanding foreign settlements, and by mid-century Western missionaries were allowed to travel anywhere throughout the country. By 1879, the Xi'an area had suffered even greater devastation and the brick enclosure was gone. The Chinese government took away the monument and placed it in their most important museum of stone tablets—an appropriate end, one might imagine. Scholarly study of the stone, both in the East and the West, had reached a new age of breadth and maturity, and it was only fringe voices that continued to raise any suspicions about authenticity.

Keywords:   Western missionaries, China, Western trade, Chinese history, Xi'an, Chinese government, stone

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