In Search of Ancestors: Hungarian Travelers, Explorers, Missionaries, and Art Collectors in East Asia


Location: Malloy Hall, Room 134

The accomplishments of Hungarian natural scientists and mathematicians, including several Nobel Prize winners, are well known the world over. Less well known, perhaps, are the many significant contributions of Hungarian humanists and social scientists to the western world’s knowledge of Asian languages and cultures. But there is a long tradition in Hungary of deep interest in Asia, motivated in part by the knowledge of, and desire to learn more about, the Asian origins of the Magyar people.

Professor Imre Hmar (Ph.D., Hungarian Academy of Sciences) – a leading scholar of the history of Buddhism in China, Chairman of the Department of Chinese Studies and Director of the Institute of East Asian Studies at Etövös Loránd University – will survey the careers of some of the most prominent Hungarian orientalists. He will treat not only of Sir Aurel Stein (1862-1943), the naturalized British citizen of Hungarian origin best known for his archaeological work on the “silk roads” of Central Asia and most especially for his discoveries of the art and archives of Dunhuang, but also other luminaries like Alexander Csoma de Korös (1784-1842), one of Europe’s first Tibetologists, who was led to Tibet in his quest to discover the origins of the Hungarian race; also the great geographer of China, Lajos Lóczy; the many Hungarian Catholic and Protestant missionaries who sought to spread the Gospel in rural China, several important Hungarian scholars of Asian art, and numerous others.

Sponsored by the Department of Theology