Fan presented by Henry Puyi, the last Emperor of China, to his tutor Sir Reginald Johnston (MS 381195)

Material Information

Fan presented by Henry Puyi, the last Emperor of China, to his tutor Sir Reginald Johnston (MS 381195)
Added title page title:
MS381195 : Fan presented by Henry Puyi, the last Emperor of China, to his tutor Sir Reginald Johnston
Added title page title:
稿件编号 381195 : 扇子
Puyi, Henry. ( Artist )
Puyi, 1906-1967 ( Artist )
溥仪, 1906-1967 ( Artist )
溥儀,‏ ‎1906-1967‏ ( Artist )
Sparsholt, Elisabeth, Mrs.
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
1 hand fan = 1 扇子 : 29 x 45 cm (opened)
Paper, Wood
29 x 45 cm

Learning Resource Information

Intended User Roles:


Subjects / Keywords:
Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art
Xing Xing Chong Xing Xing
Bu Chu Chen Dong Men
Chinese Poetry
Chinese (language)
Chinese (cultural identity)
Sparsholt, Elisabeth, Mrs.
Johnston, Reginald Fleming, Sir, 1874-1938 ( lcna )
Spatial Coverage:
Asia -- China -- Tianjin -- Tianjin
亚洲 -- 中国 -- 天津 -- 天津市
39.133333 x 117.183333


Black and gold paper fan bearing an inscription of 1930 and the Imperial Seal of Xuantong (1909-1912). One side of the fan contains two poems from the Han dynasty (207BCE-220CE): xing xing chong xing xing & bu chu cheng dong men. Both poems are about departure and separation and were transcribed by the Emperor himself. The other side of the fan depicts a golden image of a settlement. ( English,English,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, )
(From SOAS Archives and Special Collections blog.) “With its striking landscape picture in gold, this black fan bears an inscription of the Imperial Seal of Xuantong (1909-1912). Xuantong, better known as Puyi (1906-1967), the last Emperor of China, was tutored by an outstanding sinologist called Sir Reginald Fleming Johnston (1874-1938). ----- Johnston’s first encounter with 13-year-old Puyi was in 1919. By this time, Puyi had been living an isolated existence for over 10 years. Many books about Johnston show that he was incredibly fond of Puyi and influenced him in many ways. ----- After Johnston returned to U.K, he became one of the first Professors of Chinese at the School of Oriental Studies, teaching between 1931 and 1937. His friendship with Puyi was unknown to the world until Johnston published “Twilight in the Forbidden City” in 1934. Much later, their friendship drew public attention again when Bernardo Bertolucci made the film “The Last Emperor” in 1987, in which Peter O’Toole portrayed Johnston. ----- This fan was given to Johnston by the Emperor Puyi as a farewell gift on 15th September 1930, just before Johnston returned to the U.K. In “Twilight in the Forbidden City” Johnston said that the Emperor had personally inscribed the calligraphy of the two Chinese farewell poems. Without a doubt, this fan was one of Johnston’s proudest possessions. Johnston passed away in 1938. ----- The fan displays two poems, “Xing Xing Chong Xing Xing (行行重行行)” & “Bu Chu Chen Dong Men (步出城東門)” from Chinese classical literature in Han dynasty (207BCE – 220 BC). The year “庚午”(1930) and “志道師傅書” were inscribed on the fan sealed with the Imperial Seal of Xuantong. “志道” is Johnston’s pseudonym and “ 師傅” means teacher, tutor, master. ----- Puyi had a difficult life as a participant and a victim of the rapidly changing history of modern China. He implicated Johnston at the war crime trials of 1946, and portrayed him as a villain in his autobiography “From Emperor to citizen”, claiming he had lured him away from all that was best in Chinese culture and toward Western Imperialism. His motives for this are still unsure, but it is clear that Puyi’s last gift to Johnston not only captures the sorrow of a young man losing his beloved friend, but also the frustration of an Emperor watching his country change dramatically.” ----- (Jiyeon Wood, Subject Librarian for Arts and Multi-Media, SOAS, University of London)"
Fan presented by Henry Puyi, the last Emperor of China, to his tutor Sir Reginald Johnston on 15 September 1930 at Tienstin (Tianjin / 天津市)
Given to the Percival David Foundation by Mrs Elisabeth Sparsholt. Transferred to SOAS Library from the Percival David Foundation in February 2009.
Accession Number 2009/028
登录号 2009/028
Creation/Production Credits:
Catalogued by LM and JW, January 2014.
Name authority for the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art is located at
VIAF name authority for "Puyi, 1906-1967" is record number 56581612. The British archival community prefers the form of name, "Puyi, Henry. Artist." Henry of Puyi's English name. His full Chinese name was 愛新覺羅·æº¥å„€. "溥仪, 1906-1967" is one of the several forms of names using in Chinese language name authority references.
Xing Xing Chong Xing Xing / / The road leads ever onward, / And you, my friend, go this way, I go that. / Thousands of miles will part us – / You at one end of the wide world, I at the other / Long and difficult is the journey – / Who knows when we shall meet again? / / The Tartar horses breathe the northern winds, / The birds of Yueh build their nests in southern trees. / Our farewells are said, we are far apart; / Already I grow weak with pining. / The sun is hidden by the drifting clouds, / The traveller journeys on, turning his head no more. / Thinking of you, I seem to have grown old. / The months have swiftly passed, a whole year has gone. / It is all over. There is no more to be said, / I must make myself strong for the strenuous days to come…
Bu Chu Chen Dong Men / / Out of the city’s eastern gate I go on foot, / To gaze longingly at the road that leads to far Kiangnan / On that day of storm and snow, / Here it was that we parted, and my friend went away. / I want to follow him across the river, / But the river is deep and has no bridge. / Oh that we were a pair of herons, / That we could fly home together
行行重行行 / / 行行重行行,与君生别离。 / 相去万余里,各在天一涯; / 道路阻且长,会面安可知! / 胡马依北风,越鸟巢南枝。 / 相去日已远,衣带日已缓; / 浮云蔽白日,游子不顾返。 / 思君令人老,岁月忽已晚。 / 弃捐勿复道,努力加餐饭!
步出城東門 / / 步出城東門, / 遙望江南路。 / 前日風雪中, / 故人從此去。 / 我欲渡河水, / 河水深無梁。 / 願為雙黃鵠, / 高飛還故鄉。

Record Information

Source Institution:
SOAS, University of London
Holding Location:
Archives and Special Collections
Rights Management:
This item is licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License.
Resource Identifier:
MS 381195 ( SOAS Manuscript Number )