Silks from Kemp’s travels

Before Kemp died in 1939, she donated the chapel to Somerville. On her death, her collection of art was bequeathed to the Ashmolean museum. This included materials collected from her travels. Her book Wanderings in Chinese Turkestan (1914), describes being given gifts of silk by officials and buying silk in Yarkand – a town on the Silk Road in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China. Much of Kemp’s Ashmolean bequest is undocumented, but one of these silks has Kemp’s name tag in it (see below). I wonder if these articles are the ones she refers to in her writings.

Kemp’s journey through Chinese Turkestan began in 1912 in Leh (Ladakh, India). She climbed some of the highest mountain passes in the world and arrived in Yarkand during the festival of Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan. At Yarkand, Kemp describes attending prayers at the Great Mosque.

Lasser Pass,  Karakoram Range

This painting by Kemp of the ‘Lasser Pass’ in the Karakoram range was exhibited at the Alpine Club, London. The passes were later traversed by Theodore and Kermit, sons of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.

Silks bequeathed by E.G. Kemp, donor of Somerville College Chapel in the Ashmolean’s Eastern Art Print Room.

Kemp's bequest.

Kemp's bequestKemp's bequest Kemp's bequestKemp's bequest

One thought on “Silks from Kemp’s travels

  1. I found a painting you a “young buddha” with a slightly long inscription on the back that says it was painted by eg kemp from an ancient wall fresco and given to a doctor with a date of 1932. Are you interested in my sending you a photo of the painting and the inscription written on the back of a it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *