Chronique du Toumet-Ortos

Looking Through the Lens of Joseph Van Oost, Missionary in Inner Mongolia

Ann Heylen (Author),

Series: Leuven Chinese Studies 16

Category: History, History 1800-present

Language: English

ISBN: 9789058674180

Publication date: September 21, 2004

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Size: 240 x 160 x mm


This book introduces Joseph Van Oost’s three-volume missionary chronicle, covering the years 1915-1921 when stationed in Inner Mongolia. The author has provided a thematic reading of the chronicle, divided into seven separate chapters. Relevant passages referring to each of these seven themes are selected and annotated as to render the reader familiar with the general background and immediate context. This book does not offer a critical study checking the recorded facts as to their historical accuracy. Rather, it gives a voice to a vivid past, which enables the reader to envisage a picture of every day life in Inner Mongolia, as experienced by the European missionary and the Chinese peasant communities in the early years of the Chinese Republic. Selected themes are as follows: 1. Climate; 2. Chinese customs; 3. Scheut community and an illustration of the outbreak of the plague (1917); 4. Chinese banditry as a socio-political phenomenon; 5. Political developments in Republican China; 6. Bureaucratic reforms, illustrated by the opium policy; 7. International Relations (World War I) and China’s modernization. In appendix, the book offers a list of Joseph Van Oost’s numerous publications. Bibliographic references, a glossary of Chinese characters and transliterations, a list of Chinese proverbs translated into English and French, and index are included. Illustrations and an excerpt from the handwritten manuscript complete the book.

Preface by J. Heyndrickx
Joseph Van Oost: Musician, Writer, Missionary in Inner Mongolia


1. The Climate, Praying for Rain in the Desert

2. Chinese Beliefs and Customs, Dragon Kings, Selling Daughters, Money, and Death

3. The Scheut Mission in the Ordos, Missionaries in the Field

4. Protecting the Flock, Looting Soldiers, and Political Bandits

5. China in Transition, Politics and Intrigues

6. Towards a Uniform China, Bureaucratic reforms

7. International Relations, War, Diplomacy and Railroads



Listing of Proverbs in the Chronicle

Glossary/ Character List

Biobliography of Joseph Van Oost



Ann Heylen

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