medievalpoc

medievalpoc:

peashooter85:

The Jews of Ancient China —- The Kaifeng Jews

The destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD would create a wave of Jewish diaspora as Jewish rebels were sold into slavery or exiled to locations all over the Roman Empire.  However the spread of Jewish peoples would expand beyond the borders of the Roman world, as Jewish genes can be found all over Europe, Africa, and Asia.  One far flung Jewish community can be found in China, one of the most extreme examples of Jewish immigration in the ancient world.

After the Jewish revolt against Rome many thousands of Jews headed east to enjoy the wealth and riches of the Silk Road to Asia.  Jewish merchant communities sprang up all over Persia, Afghanistan, and Northern India.  One Jewish group traveled as far as Henan Province (Eastern China) and settled in the cosmopolitan city of Kaifeng between 600 – 900 AD.  By the year 1100 the Jews of Kaifeng had established a large and healthy community with a synagogue, communal kitchen, kosher slaughterhouse, ritual bath, and Sukkah (special building used to celebrate the festival of Sukkot).  During the Ming Dynasty the Kaifeng Jews took Chinese surnames which corresponded with the meanings of their original Jewish names.  One Kaifeng Jew, Zhao Yingcheng (Moshe Ben Abram) made his mark in Chinese history by being named the Director of the Ministry of Justice by the Emperor in the mid 1600’s. The religious traditions of the Kaifeng Jews remained the same through most of their history, corresponding exactly to the religious practices of Jews in the west.  However, in the 1860’s the community would be uprooted due to the chaos caused by the Taiping Rebellion.  The synagogue was destroyed and much of the ancient practices of the Kaifeng Jews were lost or forgotten.  The war caused a mini-diaspora of Chinese Jews as they sought refuge all over China.  After the war many Jews returned to Kaifeng to rebuild their community.  Today the Kaifeng Jews still maintain a small community with a rebuilt synagogue.  Today 1,000 Jews still maintain a prosperous community in Kaifeng.

Further Reading:

The Jews of Kaifeng, China: History, Culture, and Religion By Xin Xu

The Haggadah of the Kaifeng Jews of China By Fook-Kong Wong, Dalia Yasharpour

Legends of the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng By Xin Xu

The Kaifeng Stone Inscriptions: The Legacy of the Jewish Community in China By Tiberiu Weisz

The Jews of China: Historical and Comparative Perspectives edited by Jonathan Goldstein

nanshe-of-nina

nanshe-of-nina:

WOMEN’S HISTORYSEI SHŌNAGON (c. 966 – 1017/1025)

Sei Shōnagon was a Japanese woman of the Heian era who was a writer, poet, and lady-in-waiting of Empress Teishi. She was the author of The Pillow Book (枕草子 Makura no Sōshi), a record of Shōnagon’s observations about the Imperial court of the time.

Very little else is known of Shōnagon or her life. Her father was Kiyohara no Motosuke, a poet and nobleman, and she married Tachibana no Norimitsu at sixteen. Her real name is unknown, but Kiyohara Nagiko is often suggested as a possibility. What happened to her after she left the Imperial court is unknown. She may have married again or become a Buddhist nun.
un-monde-de-papier
dutch-and-flemish-painters:

Eugène Laermans -  "Landverhuisers" /Emigrants - 1896
oil on canvas, 159 × 420 cm (62.6 × 165.4 in)
Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, Belgium
In 1894, he began to exhibit at the Salons of La Libre Esthétique. Two years later, he illustrated La Nouvelle Carthage, a novel by Georges Eekhoud, and was inspired by the book to create a triptych of paintings, “Landverhuisers” (Emigrants), that he considered his masterpiece.
Georges Eekhoud (27 May 1854 – 29 May 1927) was a Belgian novelist of Flemish descent, but writing in French.
Eekhoud was a regionalist best known for his ability to represent scenes from rural and urban daily life. He tended to portray the dark side of human desire and write about social outcasts and the working classes.
His most famous novel, La nouvelle Carthage (= New Carthago) was published in its definitive form in 1893, and many times reprinted. It has also been translated in English, German, Dutch, Russian, Romanian and Czech. The rustic Campine was in this book replaced with the brutal life of love and death in the Antwerp dockland metropolis and its dirty industry.

dutch-and-flemish-painters:

Eugène Laermans -  "Landverhuisers" /Emigrants - 1896

oil on canvas, 159 × 420 cm (62.6 × 165.4 in)

Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, Belgium

In 1894, he began to exhibit at the Salons of La Libre Esthétique. Two years later, he illustrated La Nouvelle Carthage, a novel by Georges Eekhoud, and was inspired by the book to create a triptych of paintings, “Landverhuisers” (Emigrants), that he considered his masterpiece.

Georges Eekhoud (27 May 1854 – 29 May 1927) was a Belgian novelist of Flemish descent, but writing in French.

Eekhoud was a regionalist best known for his ability to represent scenes from rural and urban daily life. He tended to portray the dark side of human desire and write about social outcasts and the working classes.

His most famous novel, La nouvelle Carthage (= New Carthago) was published in its definitive form in 1893, and many times reprinted. It has also been translated in English, German, Dutch, Russian, Romanian and Czech. The rustic Campine was in this book replaced with the brutal life of love and death in the Antwerp dockland metropolis and its dirty industry.