Posted: Thu 4th Feb 2016

Fundraising drive to send missionary exhibition to China /
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Feb 4th, 2016

Ceremonial weapons and ornate satin banners are among Swansea’s historic artefacts from 19th Century China that could soon be on their way home. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Swansea Council is helping organise an event to contribute funds to send the exhibits, which form part of a Griffith John display currently in storage at Swansea Museum, back to China’s Wuhan province where the influential missionary once lived. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

John, who was born on Llangyfelach Street in Greenhill and worshipped at Ebenezer Chapel, first arrived in China in 1855. He eventually made his base in Hankow, about 400 miles west of Shanghai, where he established a number of schools, hospitals and colleges, many of which are still in use today. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He also became known for missionary journeys deep into the heart of mainland China. While there, John translated the New Testament and part of the Old Testament into more than one Chinese dialect. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A fundraising dinner is being held at Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall on Friday February 5 from 7pm to midnight to help cover the costs of sending the exhibition in his memory for display at Wuhan Museum in China, where it will help mark the 150th anniversary of the Union Hospital in Wuhan that John was instrumental in founding. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Other artefacts forming part of the exhibition include letters the missionary sent from China and an original manuscript of his biography. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The fundraising dinner on Friday, being hosted by Mal Pope and Kev Johns, will also mark the countdown to the start of the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Monkey. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Regeneration, said: “Griffith John is one of the most accomplished figures in Swansea’s history who is still revered and idolised in China’s Wuhan province to this very day because of all the great work he did there in the 19th Century. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“There’s an appetite in the part of the country where he once lived and worked to arrange a museum exhibition in his memory to mark an important milestone there, so we decided we’ll do all we can to help send some of the treasured artefacts we have here in Swansea over to China for temporary display and safekeeping. This is a way of further strengthening Swansea’s links with China and will help put our city on the map many hundreds of thousands of miles away. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We’re looking to raise as much money as possible at Friday’s fundraising dinner to do our bit in celebrating a son of Swansea who achieved so much overseas.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Entertainment at the dinner will include a Chinese young musician, a Chinese children’s choir and a traditional Chinese lion dance. A Chinese inspired menu will also be available, using fresh and locally-sourced produce. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The University of Wales Trinity St David’s Confucius Institute is one of the many Swansea-based organisations supporting the Chinese New Year event. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Contact Swansea Council for ticket information on or 01792 635102. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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