Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
Weilin Pan is an assistant professor at the Institute of China Studies of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. Since 2014, she has been an adjunct assistant professor with the China Studies Postgraduate Program at the Shanghai International Studies University. She earned her doctoral degree in History from Fudan University in 2010. She was a visiting scholar at APSI Duke University (2008-2009) and The Carter Center, Atlanta (2015) and the 2017 Robinson Scholar at the British Museum. Her academic interests include material culture of modern China, China in modern English literature as well as overseas China Studies. She is the editor of Material Culture in Modern China (Shanghai Rare Book Press, 2015). Her forthcoming book is about the transformation of the paper-offering handicraft industry (tinfoil making) in Twentieth-Century Zhejiang.
「 The 19th Century European Travelers and the Chinese "Hell Money" Collections in Europe 」
This paper will examine the formation of the collections of so-called “hell money” in the Western museums and library. “Hell money” is the paper money burnt for the use of the dead. As an important object in the Chinese rituals honoring the divine and the deceased, it immediately attracts the attention of the Western sojourners in China and becomes collectible ephemera. The difficulty of cataloguing and presenting such items in the Western museums is well reflected in the exotic and awkward term “hell money”. The story starts with the Nineteenth Century Western missionaries, merchants, diplomats, as well as travelers in China who endeavored to establish themselves as the early generation of the “amateur sinologists” with the “on-the-ground” experiences. Hence the invention of the Chinese “hell money” in the English language is a curious yet important case in the cultural encounter between China and the West. This preliminary study is based on my research funded by the Robinson fellowship of the Department of Coins and Medals of the British Museum in 2017.