A1 Journal article (refereed)
‘Africans’ and the ‘Chinese’ Exhibited in Finland in the years 1926-1928 (2019)

Halmesvirta, A. (2019). ‘Africans’ and the ‘Chinese’ Exhibited in Finland in the years 1926-1928. Acta Ethnographica Hungarica, 64(1), 201-209. https://doi.org/10.1556/022.2019.64.1.11

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Halmesvirta, Anssi

Journal or series: Acta Ethnographica Hungarica

ISSN: 1216-9803

eISSN: 1588-2586

Publication year: 2019

Volume: 64

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 201-209

Publisher: Akadémiai Kiadó

Publication country: Hungary

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1556/022.2019.64.1.11

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/67419


This article analyses two peculiar cases of ‘otherness’ (alterity), as witnessed on stage at an exhibition of Chinese and African cultures presented by the Finnish Missionary Society from 1926-1928. This exhibition consisted of a man-made figure (re)presenting the Ovambo (African) culture of South-West Africa, in concert with Chinese figures who were made to represent the contemporary culture of China. Of note is the fact that the Chinese part of the exhibition was not as contemporary as proposed. In fact, it had imperial qualities. Both sections of the exhibition were ‘made-in-Finland’ type artificial representations which bordered on total inauthenticity as the organizers did not have anything more indigenous or native to the lands presented at hand. In short, they had to be both inventive and resourceful. In any case, the public (urban middle- and high-class, schoolchildren, teachers, academic and educated people in general) did not seem to care about the ambiguous mixture of apparent (‘white’) identity and (‘black’, Chinese) alterities as they were – for the most part – satisfied with the exhibition, which served as a very rare attraction in Finland at that time.

Keywords: Africans; exhibitions; Chinese people; culture; missions (religious organisations)

Free keywords: Africa; China; Finland; Finnish Missionary Society

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 14:48