Expedition History, 1923-1927

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  • Menzies, James M (James Mellon)
  • Tegengren, Felix Reinhold
  • Barbour, George B (George Brown) 1890-1977
  • Bishop, Carl Whiting 1881-1942
  • Wenley, A. G (Archibald Gibson) 1898-1962
  • Tung, Kuang-zung
  • Li, Ji 1896-1979
  • Freer Gallery of Art
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


  • This is an expedition history. It does not describe actual records. The Smithsonian Institution Archives uses these histories as brief accounts of expeditions to set it in its historical context. If we have identified SIA collections containing documentation of this expedition, they will be listed under "components," or "see more items in," below. Clicking on those links will open a brief description of relevant records.
  • C.W. Bishop, Charles Greeley Abbot, and Ales Hrdlicka. Man from the farthest past . New York, Smithsonian Institution Series, inc., 1930.
  • Bishop, Carl Whiting. Origin of the Far Eastern civilizations: a brief handbook. City of Washington, The Smithsonian Institution, 1942.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1923, pages 61-62
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1924, pages 19-20, 60-61, 131-132
  • Explorations and Field-Work of the Smithsonian Institution, 1924, pages 67-75
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1925, pages 9-11, 20, 59
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1926, pages 62, 147
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1928, pages 21, 67
  • Co-sponsored by the Freer Gallery of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the purpose of the Freer Gallery of Art Archaeological Expedition to China was to bring Chinese archeologists and officials together in a beneficial relationship with Western archeologists and museums. The hope was that such a relationship would provide for a more enlightened scholarship, gradually supplanting the unscientific collecting of Chinese antiquities on a commercial scale. The expedition also worked to organize a self-sustaining archeological society of native scholars that would have the official sanction and support of the Chinese Government in all of its undertakings. All finds of the expedition were to be divided equally between the government and the expedition.
  • During the expedition, Carl Whiting Bishop, assistant curator at the Freer Gallery of Art, was appointed Honorary Adviser in Archeology to the Historical Department of the Chinese Government. The expedition's finds from the tombs of the Han dynasty in Hunan were exhibited at the Historical Museum in Peking for one day. Permission was given to the expedition by officials in local provinces and by the Ministry of Education, to excavate anywhere in China.
  • Due to political and military unrest the expedition was called back to the museum in 1927. Kwang-zung Tung of the Freer Gallery of Art field staff remained in China with Chi (Ji) Li of the field staff to maintain contacts and prepare for future fieldwork.
  • Other expedition personnel included Archibald Gibson Wenley, Freer Gallery of Art field staff; George B. Barbour, Peking University professor of Geology; Felix Reinhold Tegengren, Swedish mining geologist; and James M. Menzies, former Licensed Land Surveyor for Government of Canada and pilot.

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520


  • 1923
  • 1923-1927


  • Archaeology
  • Art


  • Asia
  • China


Mixed archival materials

Local number

SIA AH00417

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