The History of Sport Played in China's Treaty Ports

The shirt pictured below is a curiosity that I hope to find out more about. When I was President of the Beijing Devils Rugby Club an old kit bag turned up at the spiritual home of the Beijing Devil's, The Den 敦 煌 near the Workers Stadium in Beijing. In that old kit bag was a set of playing shirts. We decided to sell the shirts to raise some funds for the Club. Being a second row I bought this rather splendid number 4 shirt. The shirt is very well made in a heavy cotton and in a very traditional in style.


I did not find out too much about the shirt at the time and my memory is rather sketchy. As I recall the shirts were thought to have come from the International School of Beijing. This  does not seem to make sense but I will be happy to be corrected. My best guess is that this was an early Beijing Devils rugby shirt. The clue of course is in the logo and the Chinese characters. The logo is of a baby devil. The characters read 'Beijing Phantom Rugby Club', ie Bei Jing 北 京   Huàn Yǐng 幻 影    Gǎn Lǎn Qiú 橄 榄 球   Jù Lè Bù  俱 乐 部 .


Another clue is that the sponsor is not the school, it is in fact the Beijing United Family Hospitals the earliest international hospital to establish themselves in China and Beijing. They opened their doors in 1997 which of course dates the shirt to being at least 1997. The more recognisable harlequin design shirt therefore predates this (see here for details of that shirt as worn in 1995).


A further clue is the manufacturer of the shirt. Barbarian Inc still exist. They are from Canada which suggest that a Canadian member of the Devils ordered the shirt? 


If you have any more information about this early Beijing rugby shirt I will be most grateful to hear from you. Email me at simon@treatyportsport.com .



A mysterious early official(?) rugby shirt of the Beijing Devils Rugby Club


  



Previous artifacts of the month

Artifact of the Month Number 13 - March 2015  (for previous artifacts see bottom of page)