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‘When the Foreign Enemy Becomes a Dear Friend’

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Reflections on the Mission of Boro Balγasu in the Works of Kesigbatu (1849–1917)

image of Inner Asia

This paper situates itself within the context of entangled histories and establishes a link between the well-known Ordos poet and historian Kesigbatu and the missionaries of the Congregation of Scheut. There is evidence that Kesigbatu was in contact with the missionaries, not only because of the proximity between the Boro Balγasu mission and his native region, but also as part of his profession as a judge. Moreover, he was helpful in providing members of the congregation with access to rare Mongolian manuscripts. It is little known that several of Kesigbatu’s poems are explicitly devoted to the Scheut mission at Boro Balγasu. These poems fall into two categories, as they include either serious allegations or lavish praise. The paper traces the intersections between Kesigbatu’s biography and the Congregation of Scheut and analyses how the missionaries were perceived by a Mongolian contemporary.

Affiliations: 1: University of BernSwitzerland


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