RAS around the World: Part Two

Continuing with our “RAS around the world” theme, this week’s blog has been kindly written by the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch. Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, they have been able to continue to run a rich programme of activities. All RAS London members are welcome to join the RAS Hong Kong lectures by Zoom.


Logo of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong. This circular dragon emblem has been used by the Society since the early 1960s and is based on a traditional Chinese paper-cut taken from Chinese Folk Design by W.M. Hawley (Hollywood, 1943)


The Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society was founded in 1847 until 1859, and reactivated 100 years later in 1959. Today the Society is very active in organising visits, talks, seminars and more with particular interest in the history, art, literature and culture of China and Asia, with special reference to Hong Kong. http://www.royalasiaticsociety.org.hk/


Previous group visit to Dragon Garden, Lumina College, 18 May 2019


Since last year, because of local constraints imposed to limit the risk of Covid-19 infection, Zoom webinars have replaced live lectures in Hong Kong. This enabled a large increase in attendees from around the world. Similarly, our annual 15 local visits and 2-3 regional trips to PRC and SE Asia have been curtailed. Compensation in the form of cooperative arrangements with RAS Beijing, RAS Shanghai, The Oriental Ceramic Society and other like-minded groups have enabled members to access a wide range of online webinars and book clubs. Also, The Friends of RASHK was established in the UK in 1998 to support the work of The Hong Kong Branch as well as organising their own events and activities. Further links with other groups are welcome.


An example of one of the recent virtual lectures organised by the Society. This was taken from the most recent newsletter which was published in March.


Other RASHK activities and responsibilities include:

  • Our bimonthly Newsletter documents our past and future planned activities and items of general interest.
  • RASHK is well known for its Annual Journal published since 1961. This is included in its membership. Past copies can be purchased by contacting our Administrator at membership@royalasiaticsociety.org.hk
  • The Hong Kong Study Series consists of books published by the City University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University Press. The publications are supported by The Sir Lindsay and Lady Ride Memorial Fund. Details of over 30 titles can be found here: http://www.royalasiaticsociety.org.hk/hong-kong-studies-series
  • The RASHK Library Collection is housed in the Special Collections of the Hong Kong Central Library. There are over 8,000 titles with some dating back to the 18th century. http://www.royalasiaticsociety.org.hk/collection


Examples of publications from The Hong Kong Studies Series


We look forward to welcoming you all to our activities and events. Please email membership@royalasiaticsociety.org.hk to express your interest and we will add you to our mailing list.

 We would like to give a special thanks to Dr Helen Tinsley, the President of RAS Hong Kong, and one of its members, Pam Ball, for their contribution to this week’s post.

 Event Reminders:

We would like to remind our readers that we have two virtual events planned this month.

The first is the book launch on Monday 26th April of The First Capital of the Ottoman Empire: The Religious, Architectural, and Social History of Bursa’ by Dr. Suna Çağaptay (University of Cambridge). We also have a virtual lecture on Wednesday 28th April by Dr Weipin Tsai (Royal Holloway, University of London) on ‘The courier firms that knitted the Qing Empire together. A brief account of China’s letter hongs from late 18th century to early 20th century.’ If you are interested in attending either of these events, please email mb@royalasiaticsociety.org to sign up.


We would like to wish everyone a very peaceful and blessed Ramadan Mubarak from the Society.