GULIK, Robert van

GULIK, Robert Hans van. Zutphen, Guelderland 9.8.1910 — the Hague 24.9.1967. Dutch Sinologist, Diplomat and Author, began his career as an Indologist. Son of Willem van G., a physician serving in colonial army, and Bertha Ruiter, spent the years 1914-23 in Surabaya and Batavia (Jakarta) in Java. Then school in Nijmegen, privately learned Sanskrit and Chinese. As schoolboy he also assisted Uhlenbeck with Blackfoot materials. From 1930 studies of law, Sanskrit and Chinese at Leiden and Utrecht (Gonda & Ferguson). Ph.D. 1935 Utrecht on the influence of Indian mythology in East Asia. Joined the foreign service, served in 1935-42 in Tokyo, 1942 in New Delhi, 1943-45 in Chongqing, after a while in the Hague in 1947-49 in Washington, 1949-53 in Tokyo, 1953-54 in New Delhi, 1954-56 in Beirut, 1956-62 in Kuala Lumpur, and finally 1965-67 as Dutch Ambassador in Tokyo. In 1967 he was appointed Professor of Far Eastern Cultural History at Utrecht, but died soon. In Chongqing he married 1943 Shui Shifang, three sons and one daughter.

R. van Gulik was mainly a Sinologist, interested in Indian influence and in Chinese arts and scholarly traditions, and continued with research with great industry during the years as diplomat. Also his office he conducted with great industry and rised quickly in the hierarchy. He was himself skilled calligrapher and played well Chinese lute. From the real historical model and from the Chinese literary tradition he created the figure of Judge Dee and wrote several detective stories on him.

Different sources give the years of his appointments slightly differently. I have followed Hulsewé.

Publications: Diss. Hayagrīva. The Mantrayāna Aspect of Horse-cult in China and Japan. 8+105 p. 14 fig. Intern. Archiv f. Ethnogr. 33. Leiden 1935.

Transl. Urvaçī, een oud-indisch tooneelstuk van Kālidāsa. 84 p. the Hague 1832.

Mi Fu on ink-stones. 12+72 p. Peking 1938 (transl.); Hsi K’ang and his poetical essay on the lute. 90 p. Tokyo 1941; The Lore of the Chinese Lute. 16+239 p. Monum. Nipponica Monogr. 3. Tokyo 1940; Hsi K’ang and his poetical essay on the lute. 10+91 p. ill. Monum. Nipponica Monogr. 4. Tokyo 1941; Dee Goong An, three murder cases solved by Judge Dee. 4+4+237 p. Tokyo 1949 (transl.); T’ang-yin-pi-shih. Parallel cases from under the Pear-tree. 14+198 p. Leiden 1956; Erotic colour prints of the Ming period, with an essay on Chinese sex life from Han to the Ch’in dynasty. 28+242 p. 20 pl. Tokyo 1951.

Siddham. An essay on the history of Sanskrit studies in China and Japan. 12+234 p. 11 fig. 60 pl. Sarasvati Vihara Series 247. Nagpur 1956.

Chinese pictorial art as viewed by the connoisseur. 537 p. S.O.R. Rome 1958; Scrap-book for Chinese collectors. 84+16 p. Beirut 1958 (transl.); Sexual life in Ancient China. A preliminary survey of Chinese sex and society from ca. 1500 B.C. till 1644 A.D. 17+392 p. ill. Leiden 1961; The Gibbon in China. An Essay in animal lore. 130 p. Leiden 1967; further works and articles.

The long series of famous detective stories on Judge Dee.

Sources: “een bescheiden onderkomen” 1981, 165; A.F.P. Hulsewé, TP 54, 1968, 116-124 with bibliography; *P. Jaquillard, “Le sinologue et ses gibbons”, As.St./É 25, 1971, 506-510; Öhrnberg, Kiina sanoin ja kuvin 1982:5-6, 2-5; Wikipedia with two photos; photo in EAAS Newsl. 53, Spring 2010.

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