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drclaw

General Munthe - adventurer, art collector, Chinese medal designer?

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drclaw   

Gents, Chinese orders are my particular interest.

I've been researching about an absolutely fascinating chap - Johan Wilhelm Munthe, who was born in Bergen, completed the Norwegian army cavalry school, before sailing to China where he spent the next 50 years of his life.

Munthe hitched his star to Yuan Shikai, China's leading strongman of the late Imperial and early Republic era, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant General in the Chinese army. He designed the flamboyant new uniforms of the Republican generals and, I believe, many of the Chinese Republic's new orders which were founded by President Yuan Shikai in 1912, the first year of the Republic.

He was the most influential foreigner in China and lived in a Norwegian style house in Beijing with his wife.

The following is an abstract of a study I'm currently writing.

General Johan Wilhelm Munthe

The orders were likely designed by a flamboyant Norwegian adventurer and Yuan Shikai confidant. Johan Wilhelm Munthe was born in Bergen and graduated from the cavalry school in 1886. He sailed for China the following year and joined the Chinese Customs Service under Sir Robert Hart. When war broke out with the Japanese in 1894, Munthe volunteered with the Chinese army. He served as a cavalry instructor under Yuan Shikai and the two became firm friends.

During the Boxer Rebellion, Munthe attached himself to the Russian army and was one of the first to enter Beijing with the international relief force. Later, he served as Yuan’s adjutant and rose to the rank of major-general. He returned to Customs after Yuan was forced out by the Prince Regent. When Yuan became President, he promoted his friend to general aide-de-camp and adviser in the Ministry of War with the rank of lieutenant-general. Munthe assumed Sir Robert Hart’s mantle as the most influential foreigner in China. He commanded the elite army regiment protecting the Foreign Legations until his death in 1935.

Munthe designed the new military dress of the Republic’s generals that he modelled after the Swedish Royal Guard with their blue uniforms and towering white plumes. It seems Munthe also helped design many of the orders and decorations of the new Republic. In so doing, he followed the path of his one-time superior Sir Robert Hart who designed the Imperial Order of the Double Dragon 30 years earlier.

Edited by drclaw

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drclaw   

Johan Munthe (1864-1935), wearing the dress uniform of a Chinese general that he designed himself. The Norwegian spent almost 50 years in China serving under Sir Robert Hart, the Qing, Yuan Shikai and Chiang Kai-shek. He was a voracious collector of Chinese art which he shipped in crates to a museum in Bergen. Munthe received the Golden Grain Second Class from Yuan and is wearing his friend and patron’s Presidential Inauguration Medal.

Among his many decorations were the Order of St Olav, Order of Dannebrog, Legion d'Honneur and the Qing Imperial Order of the Double Dragon (Second Class, Third Grade). He is buried in Beijing.

Edited by drclaw

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drclaw   

It is widely known that Munthe designed the uniforms of the Republic's generals. I've also come across tantalising hints that as Yuan Shikai's general aide-de-camp and adviser, he also designed the orders of the new Republic like the Order of the Striped Tiger, the Golden Grain, the White Eagle, etc.

I have not been able to find definitive references however. If anyone knows more about Munthe, I'd love to learn.

The definitive biography was written by J. Huitfeldt and published in 1990. Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate a copy. It is also in Danish which is one of the (many) languages outside my competence.

Gavin

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drclaw   

For interest, here is the "Old" and "New" uniforms as modelled by Yuan Shikai.

The first is as a Qing general - understated and elegant in my personal view.

The second is in the bling new uniform designed by Munthe. The top breast star is that of the Great Merit Order (Da Xun Zhang, aka the Grand Order). This was founded by Yuan as the Republic's highest honour. It was virtually identical to the Qing Great Precious Order (Da Bao Zhang) founded the previous year by the last Emperor Puyi, and depicted the Twelve Symbols of Imperial Authority!

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2013/post-11630-0-26252900-1363421232.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2013/post-11630-0-86927200-1363421255.jpg

Edited by drclaw

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It is widely known that Munthe designed the uniforms of the Republic's generals. I've also come across tantalising hints that as Yuan Shikai's general aide-de-camp and adviser, he also designed the orders of the new Republic like the Order of the Striped Tiger, the Golden Grain, the White Eagle, etc.

I have not been able to find definitive references however. If anyone knows more about Munthe, I'd love to learn.

The definitive biography was written by J. Huitfeldt and published in 1990. Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate a copy. It is also in Danish which is one of the (many) languages outside my competence.

Gavin

I have heard that the KODE (museum of Bergen) will get a new print of the issue within 2014 se also my link on http://www.pbase.com/vikingspirit/general_munthe_200132228323559365573394529305

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drclaw   

Thanks for the great link Vikingcommander.

Plenty of extraordinary images there. The Museum has Munthe's original Chinese Republic dress uniform plumed hat. I'd wager there wouldn't be more than a handful of these left in the world. Do you know if the Museum also has his decorations? I believe he also received the Double Dragon.

You can also see the Order of the Golden Grain in the portrait above.

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Johan Munthe (1864-1935), wearing the dress uniform of a Chinese general that he designed himself. The Norwegian spent almost 50 years in China serving under Sir Robert Hart, the Qing, Yuan Shikai and Chiang Kai-shek. He was a voracious collector of Chinese art which he shipped in crates to a museum in Bergen. Munthe received the Golden Grain Second Class from Yuan and is wearing his friend and patron’s Presidential Inauguration Medal.

Among his many decorations were the Order of St Olav, Order of Dannebrog, Legion d'Honneur and the Qing Imperial Order of the Double Dragon (Second Class, Third Grade). He is buried in Beijing.

Roald Atle Furre . According to info He died in Beijing -he was a freemason. The Grand Lodge in Beijing had a procession from his home in Beijing - to the church where high ranked Chinese and many celebrities joined in the church before the walked to the Railwaystation in Beijing and he was sent to Tientsin to the Cemetery there. See may web: http://www.pbase.com/vikingspirit/general_munthe_200132228323559365573394529305

attachicon.gifJohan Wilhelm Normann Munthe.jpg

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Gents, Chinese orders are my particular interest.

I've been researching about an absolutely fascinating chap - Johan Wilhelm Munthe, who was born in Bergen, completed the Norwegian army cavalry school, before sailing to China where he spent the next 50 years of his life.

Munthe hitched his star to Yuan Shikai, China's leading strongman of the late Imperial and early Republic era, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant General in the Chinese army. He designed the flamboyant new uniforms of the Republican generals and, I believe, many of the Chinese Republic's new orders which were founded by President Yuan Shikai in 1912, the first year of the Republic.

He was the most influential foreigner in China and lived in a Norwegian style house in Beijing with his wife.

The following is an abstract of a study I'm currently writing.

General Johan Wilhelm Munthe

The orders were likely designed by a flamboyant Norwegian adventurer and Yuan Shikai confidant. Johan Wilhelm Munthe was born in Bergen and graduated from the cavalry school in 1886. He sailed for China the following year and joined the Chinese Customs Service under Sir Robert Hart. When war broke out with the Japanese in 1894, Munthe volunteered with the Chinese army. He served as a cavalry instructor under Yuan Shikai and the two became firm friends.

During the Boxer Rebellion, Munthe attached himself to the Russian army and was one of the first to enter Beijing with the international relief force. Later, he served as Yuan’s adjutant and rose to the rank of major-general. He returned to Customs after Yuan was forced out by the Prince Regent. When Yuan became President, he promoted his friend to general aide-de-camp and adviser in the Ministry of War with the rank of lieutenant-general. Munthe assumed Sir Robert Hart’s mantle as the most influential foreigner in China. He commanded the elite army regiment protecting the Foreign Legations until his death in 1935.

Munthe designed the new military dress of the Republic’s generals that he modelled after the Swedish Royal Guard with their blue uniforms and towering white plumes. It seems Munthe also helped design many of the orders and decorations of the new Republic. In so doing, he followed the path of his one-time superior Sir Robert Hart who designed the Imperial Order of the Double Dragon 30 years earlier.

Gents, Chinese orders are my particular interest.

I've been researching about an absolutely fascinating chap - Johan Wilhelm Munthe, who was born in Bergen, completed the Norwegian army cavalry school, before sailing to China where he spent the next 50 years of his life.

Munthe hitched his star to Yuan Shikai, China's leading strongman of the late Imperial and early Republic era, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant General in the Chinese army. He designed the flamboyant new uniforms of the Republican generals and, I believe, many of the Chinese Republic's new orders which were founded by President Yuan Shikai in 1912, the first year of the Republic.

He was the most influential foreigner in China and lived in a Norwegian style house in Beijing with his wife.

The following is an abstract of a study I'm currently writing.

General Johan Wilhelm Munthe

The orders were likely designed by a flamboyant Norwegian adventurer and Yuan Shikai confidant. Johan Wilhelm Munthe was born in Bergen and graduated from the cavalry school in 1886. He sailed for China the following year and joined the Chinese Customs Service under Sir Robert Hart. When war broke out with the Japanese in 1894, Munthe volunteered with the Chinese army. He served as a cavalry instructor under Yuan Shikai and the two became firm friends.

During the Boxer Rebellion, Munthe attached himself to the Russian army and was one of the first to enter Beijing with the international relief force. Later, he served as Yuan’s adjutant and rose to the rank of major-general. He returned to Customs after Yuan was forced out by the Prince Regent. When Yuan became President, he promoted his friend to general aide-de-camp and adviser in the Ministry of War with the rank of lieutenant-general. Munthe assumed Sir Robert Hart’s mantle as the most influential foreigner in China. He commanded the elite army regiment protecting the Foreign Legations until his death in 1935.

Munthe designed the new military dress of the Republic’s generals that he modelled after the Swedish Royal Guard with their blue uniforms and towering white plumes. It seems Munthe also helped design many of the orders and decorations of the new Republic. In so doing, he followed the path of his one-time superior Sir Robert Hart who designed the Imperial Order of the Double Dragon 30 years earlier.

Munthe was instructor for a division of Yuan ShiKai´s Cavallerie- In the war between Japan and China - this division was the only one not to give in to the Japanese. Yuan ShiKai understood that Munthe´s instruction and commando was so good that they were a special good team all years to come.90801659.rzIti9s7.PH014_4045.jpg

Edited by Vikingcommander

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drclaw   

Very interesting photo! Thanks for posting.

Would you have a possible date and caption for the photo? The dark blue (Winter) or light khaki (Summer) Western style uniforms weren't introduced until 1910.

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tuneip   

Does anyone know anything about Johan's (maybe second?) wife Alexandra Grantham (nee von Herder) whom he married in the 1910s eg the date of their wedding. Alexandra's son Alexander Grantham was Governor of Hong Kong from 1947-57 and first cousin of my father.

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They married 1917 -or 1919 look into my web about Munthe on Pbase vikingspirit there you will also find a painting of that beautiful woman _.if you search on youtube I have made a short presentation of Johan Wilhelm Normann Munthe

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tuneip   

They married 1917 -or 1919 look into my web about Munthe on Pbase vikingspirit there you will also find a painting of that beautiful woman _.if you search on youtube I have made a short presentation of Johan Wilhelm Normann Munthe

Thank you for that. Very interesting.

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Colonel Johan Wilhelm Normann Munthe, A.D.C. to the Viceroy of Chihli, was born at Bergen, Norway, on July 27, 1864, and was educated at the Aars' and Voss' High School, Christiania, and at the Royal Cavalry, Christiania. 

He came to China in 1887, and in September of that year joined the Imperial Maritime Customs service, being stationed successively at Shanghai, Chefoo, and Ningpo. He volunteered for service in the Chino-Japanese War, and in 1894 was detached from the Customs service for military work. During the next six years he re-organised the Cavalry of the North, under His Excellency Yuan-Shih-K'ai, as Colonel and Instructor-in-Chief. 

As His Excellency Yuan was appointed Governor of the province of Shantung, Colonel Munthe remained in Tientsin preparatory to going home on leave, and was in Tientsin attached to the Russian General Staff as special intelligence officer during the Boxer trouble. He took part in all the engagements in and around Tientsin, the march to Peking, and the storming of the Capital. 

He was decorated by the Tsar of Russia with the Russian Military Order (St. George) "for repeated acts of gallantry during the late disturbances in China"; and also received the Russian War Medal, 1900-1. During 1901-2, he was on leave, and, on his return, he was appointed Colonel by imperial decree, and Aide-de-Camp to His Excellency Yuan-Shih-K'ai, who had meanwhile been appointed Viceroy of Chihli. 154882258.FNd3kCSD.0eo6PBWFCG_bWwylM.thu

Colonel Munihe was decorated bv the French Government, as a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, in 1905; by the Chinese Government with the Order of the Double Dragon, Third Division, First Class, Knight Commander, First Class, in 1907; and COLONEL MUNTHE. A.D.C. to His Excellency the Viceroy of Chihli. 

By the Norwegian Government as a Knight of the First Class of the Order ol St. Olav, in the same year.

154882259.TKTipIyH.jpg

155516871.2DeAtGJx.GUS9M03YeR_4wUu9s.jpg

155517064.1hDulMS6.gmS7qa_vW5_XHVvY1.jpg

155518623.T1waMlAu._4vUr3sSBo_5wgGGE.jpg

144260825.Ix6jYGnh.mail1.jpeg

144312798.Cz225Liw.2012062421.11.46.jpg

The Norwegian General Johan Wilhelm Normann Munthe in his Light Uniform sitting very close to Yuan Shi Kai.  The responsible for 12500 elite soldiers together with 2 German officers. He was a honorable General until he died (13th of May 1934) in Beijing and brought to Tiensin by train.

Some of the Money created by General Johan Wilhelm Normann Munthe - with VIKINGSHIP !! ;)

http://www.pbase.com/vikingspirit/image/84119376

http://www.pbase.com/vikingspirit/image/87987031

http://www.pbase.com/vikingspirit/image/84119387

 

There are loads of info also on Hart if you look into this web..... http://www.pbase.com/vikingspirit/general_munthe_200132228323559365573394529305

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This is a documentation -that JWNM was a Freemason and he also Joined the Grand Lodge of Freemasons in Massachusetts, Masons Membership 1733-1990

13073142_1007967955948936_1977916152_o kopi.jpg

More info about JNWM

 

 

 

13271718_1027384417340623_1313790816_o.jpg

Edited by Vikingcommander
More info about JNWM

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