Saluting the Yellow Emperor
by Perry Johansson
Saluting the Yellow Emperor tells the fascinating story of a group of Swedish scholars who rediscovered the pronunciation of the Chinese classics, buried Silk Road cities, and a Chinese Stone Age, while spiriting antiquities out of Asia. Mining Swedish archives and drawing on letters, diaries, personal papers, and published accounts, it is the first collective history on this group of China scholars. In his analysis, Perry Johansson turns Edward Said’s argument about orientalism inside out. Rather than simply serving Western imperialism, Bernhard Karlgren, Johan Gunnar Andersson, Sven Hedin, Osvald Sirén, and Jan Myrdal were opportunists who highly appreciated the Chinese Empire whose civilizing mission in East and Central Asia they supported in word and deed. Whether friendly with Mao or Hitler, their occidentalist disdain of Western egalitarian societies made them champions of the Chinese mythology of obedient peasants ruled by an enlightened autocracy.