Prof. EGAMI Namio and His Excavation in Olon Süme, Inner Mongolia


Prof. Egami Namio (1906-2002) visited Olon süme which was the old Önggüt palace-city under the Mongol Empire for an honor in 1935. He again visited the place for two months in 1939 and for two weeks in 1941. He discovered Monte Corvino’s Roman Catholic church, the Önggüt palace, ten Nestorian tomb stones and also many Tibetan and Mongolian manuscripts of the 16th-17th centuries from a Buddhist stupa. Among his distinguished academic works, this excavation of Olon süme is one of the most important contributions to Asian archaeological research and Central Eurasian Studies.

However, due to the defeat of Japan in the Second World War in 1945, the excavation was stopped just at a preliminary stage. Moreover, most of the important materials from Olon süme were captured by the U.S. Occupation Army. Despite such misfortune, Prof. Egami wrote several reports and articles on Olon süme in Journal Asiatique CCXL-2(1952) and in his book, Ajia Bunka-shi Kenkyu (1968). As to the Mongolian manuscript-fragments, while Dr. Hattori Shiro and Dr. Nicholas Poppe had introduced some of them, Dr. Walther Heissig finally produced a total philological identification to the fragments, Die mongolischen Handschriften-Reste aus Olon süme, Innere Mongolei (16.-17.Jhdt.) in 1976. Mr. Miyake Shunzei also published a monograph on the Mongol Empire period’s tiles from Olon süme in 1981. This exhibition will be the first occasion of showing cultural objects including rubbings of stone inscriptions and Mongolian manuscripts brought to light by Prof. Egami in Olon süme.

( Research Institute of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, TUFS)