Call for Papers: Workshop on the Traces of the “Boxer Rebellion” in German Museum Collections on 2 and 3 March 2023


On 2 and 3 March 2023, the collaborative project “Traces of the ‘Boxer Rebellion’ in German Museum Collections – A Collective Approach”, supported by the Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste, is holding a public workshop in Berlin. The workshop will look at concrete case studies from museum collections in order to create the first ever wide-ranging survey of the topic of looted artefacts from the so-called Boxer Rebellion.

The workshop seeks to discuss methods for investigating the provenance of such collections, identifying some of the particular challenges of this research. Its purpose is to bring together different archival holdings and address the question of the future of these objects. The outcomes of the workshop will be used to draft a set of guidelines on dealing with artefacts stemming from the context of the Boxer Rebellion, which is one of the key goals of this project.

Coordinated by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s Zentralarchiv and carried out in collaboration with Shanghai University and the Palace Museum in Beijing, for this project, seven German museums are analysing their holdings, looking for looted artefacts originating from the “Boxer Rebellion”. The participating museums are the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s Museum für Asiatische Kunst and Ethnologisches Museum, the Museum am Rothenbaum: Kulturen und Künste der Welt (MARKK), the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, the GRASSI Museum of Applied Arts in Leipzig, the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt am Main and the Museum Fünf Kontinente in Munich.

Call for Papers

We welcome contributions on:

  • Provenance research on one or more objects from this context: Why is the object suspected of being looted, and how can its history be investigated?
  • People who were involved in acts of plunder or directly profited from them (general surveys or specific case studies)
  • Sources and archival collections on acts of plunder in Beijing and northern China in 1900–01
  • Broader discussions of looted artefacts from the Boxer Rebellion

Additionally, colleagues are invited to make brief presentations on groups of objects for which there is reason to suspect that they might have connections to the Boxer Rebellion, but which have not yet been thoroughly investigated.

The workshop will be held in German, since it focuses on collections in the German-speaking world. However, we welcome contributions on museums in other countries.

Abstracts (maximum 200 words) can be submitted along with a short CV of up to 10 lines (single spaced in Word) to: boxerprojekt[at] Submissions close 5 December 2022. Please combine both documents into a PDF including the name of the institution with which you are associated and your contact information. If you have any questions, please contact Dr Christine Howald and Kerstin Pannhorst at the email address mentioned above. They will be happy to help.