Interest in Manchurology Growing at Leiden University

On Friday November 17th, The Manchu Foundation ( ) organised a lecture about the origin story of the Manchu people, and the way in which this story can or cannot be found on Manchu and Chinese maps. The lecture was held by Fresco Sam-Sin, lecturer in Classical Manchu and Manchurology at Leiden University, and tied in neatly with an exhibition currently on display at the Museum Volkenkunde (Ethnology Museum) in Leiden. The exhibition “Azië in kaart” (Asia Mapped) showcases several maps of Asian countries throughout the centuries, and the centrepiece is an enormous printed map of the Qing Empire, made under the guidance of emperor Kangxi (r. 1661-1722). Sam-Sin has worked with dr. Mario Cams and Léon Rodenburg to make a digital version of this map, which can be viewed both in the museum and online at , and this gave him the opportunity to turn this lecture into an interactive gathering, where the audience could read and watch along with Sam-Sin on their own phone screens. Among the topics discussed were the Manchu origin story, the creation of the map, the omission of several key locations from the story on the map, and possible reasons for this. The lecture was well visited by both students and staff from Leiden University, as well as other interested guests, many of which came along to visit the exhibition at the Museum Volkenkunde afterwards for a close-up view of the magnificent map. The sheer amount of people who showed up indicates that there is a growing interest in Manchurology at Leiden University, and it is in no small part due to the efforts of the Manchu Foundation.