<p style='text-align: justify;'>The existence of a community of Jews in Kaifeng (Henan Province) was discovered in 1605 by Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), the Jesuit priest who was one of the founders of the Catholic mission to China.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>250 years later, after China had been opened to Protestant missionaries following the formal establishment of relations with Britain, the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews conceived a plan to investigate the current situation of the Kaifeng Jews, and two Chinese Christians employed by the London Missionary Society were engaged for the purpose.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>One of the men, Jiang Rongzhi, a holder of the fourth or lowest literary degree, kept a diary in Chinese which was translated into English by the Reverend Joseph Edkins (see below). His companion K'hew T'heen-sang kept a diary of the journey in English, to which the English translation of Jiang's diary occasionally makes reference. The original Chinese text of Jiang's diary has never been published and is known only from the copy shown here.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>The two travellers left Shanghai on 15 November 1850. They went first to Suzhou overland, then to Zhenjiang, where they crossed the Yangzi River, and proceeded by boats along the Grand Canal to the point of its junction with the Yellow River. They then continued by cart or barrow, drawn by mules, along the southern bank of the Yellow River, and reached Kaifeng on 9 December, having covered about 700 miles north-west from Shanghai.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>The diary gives a vivid impression of the state of the country, but only about seven families claiming to be Jews, about 200 individuals in all, were found to be living in the vicinity of Kaifeng. The travellers copied some inscriptions in Chinese and Hebrew and brought back eight manuscripts containing portions of the Old Testament, bound in silk and apparently of Persian origin.</p>
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