Helen Wang

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Helen Kay Wang (née Below; simplified Chinese: 汪海岚; traditional Chinese: 汪海嵐; pinyin: Wāng Hǎilán; born 1965) is an English sinologist and translator.[1] She works as curator of East Asian Money at the British Museum in London. She has also published a number of literary translations from Chinese, including an award-winning translation of a Chinese children's book.


Wang has a BA in Chinese from SOAS University of London (1988, including a year at the Beijing Language Institute, 1984–1985).[2][3] She has a PhD in archaeology from University College London, titled "Money on the Silk Road: the evidence from Eastern Central Asia to c. AD 800", 2002.[4]

In 1991 Wang joined the British Museum staff as an assistant to Joe Cribb in the Asian section of the Department of Coins and Medals.[5] She became Curator of East Asian Money in 1993. Her work mostly relates to the collections for which she is responsible, collection history and development of the field, in particular East Asian numismatics, Silk Road Numismatics, Sir Aurel Stein and his collections, and textiles as money. She was joint Honorary Secretary of the Royal Numismatic Society from 2011-2016, Hon. Vice President from 2018,[6] and is an honorary member of the editorial board of Zhongguo Qianbi 《中国钱币》 (China Numismatics), the journal of the China Numismatic Society. She was elected as an individual member of the International Association for the Study of Silk Road Textiles (IASSRT) in 2016.[7] In 2017, she started a web-resource Chinese Money Matters.[8]

Wang was married to Chinese archaeologist Wang Tao, with whom she has two children.[3][citation needed]

Literary translations[edit]

Wang's first published literary translations were in the early 1990s - short stories and essays by Yu Hua, Zhang Chengzhi, Ma Yuan, Du Ma and Zhang Langlang.[9] After a long break, she returned to translation in the 2010s, translating more short stories, essays and children's books.[10] She also works collaboratively with the China Fiction Book Club (with Nicky Harman), Paper Republic, Global Literature in Libraries. In 2016, she co-founded the group Chinese Books for Young Readers with Anna Gustafsson Chen and Minjie Chen. From 2012-2015 she was a Member of the Committee of the Translators Association. She has been on the judging panel of four of the Writing Chinese Project's Bai Meigui Chinese translation competitions.[11]

Awards and commendations[edit]

Selected publications (books, edited and co-edited volumes)[edit]

  • 2013 Textiles as Money on the Silk Road (co-ed. with Valerie Hansen, 2013)[21]
  • 2012 Sir Aurel Stein, Colleagues and Collections (ed., 2012)[22]
  • 2012 The Music of Ink (Saffron Books)
  • 2010 A Catalogue of the Japanese Coin Collection (pre-Meiji) at the British Museum, with special reference to Kutsuki Masatsuna (co-ed. with Shin'ichi Sakuraki, Peter Kornicki, with Nobuhisa Furuta, Timon Screech and Joe Cribb, 2010)[23]
  • 2008 Chairman Mao Badges: Symbols and Slogans of the Cultural Revolution (2008)[24]
  • 2008 Handbook to the Collections of Sir Aurel Stein in the UK (co-ed. with John Perkins, 2008)[25]
  • 2007 Catalogue of the Collections of Sir Aurel Stein in the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (co-ed. with Eva Apor, 2007),[26] and its Supplement (co-ed. with Eva Apor, 2009)[27]
  • 2007 Textiles from Dunhuang in UK Collections (co-ed. with Zhao Feng and others, 2007)[28]
  • 2004 Money on the Silk Road: The Evidence from Eastern Central Asia to c. AD 800, with a catalogue of the coins collected by Sir Aurel Stein (2004)[29]
  • 2004 Sir Aurel Stein in The Times (ed., 2004)[30]

Book-length translations (middle-grade novels)[edit]

  • 2021 Dragonfly Eyes, by Cao Wenxuan (Walker Books, 2021) -- 曹文轩:《蜻蜓眼》[31]
  • 2017 The Ventriloquist's Daughter, by Lin Man-Chiu (Balestier Press, 2017) -- 林满秋:《腹语师的女儿》
  • 2015 Bronze and Sunflower, by Cao Wenxuan (Walker Books, UK, 2015; Candlewick Press, USA, 2016) -- 曹文轩:《青铜葵花》
  • 2012 Jackal and Wolf, by Shen Shixi (Egmont, UK, 2012) -- 沈石溪:《红豺》


  1. ^ "Helen Wang (Biographical details)". British Museum. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  2. ^ Zhao, Henry; Cayley, John (1994). Under-Sky Underground: Chinese Writing Today, No. 1. Wellsweep. p. 245. ISBN 0-948454-16-4.
  3. ^ a b Wang, Helen (2008). Chairman Mao badges: symbols and slogans of the Cultural Revolution (PDF). British Museum. pp. iv and v. ISBN 978 086159 169 5.
  4. ^ "Catalogue Senate House Library: Wang, Helen Kay". Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Helen Wang". British Museum. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Council". The Royal Numismatic Society. 2014-05-23. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  7. ^ 杭州大美. "NEWS - IASSRT". Iassrt.org. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Helen Wang - The British Museum - Academia.edu". Britishmuseum.academia.edu. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  9. ^ Published in Henry Y.H. Zhao (ed.), The Lost Boat: Avant-garde Fiction from China (Wellsweep Press, 1993); and Henry Y.H. Zhao and John Cayley (eds), Under-sky Underground (Wellsweep Press, London, 1994)
  10. ^ Abrahamsen, Eric. "Helen Wang". Paper Republic. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Competition - Writing Chinese". Writing Chinese. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Annonce des séances" (PDF). Société française de numismatique. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  13. ^ Hildebrandt, Rachel (2019-01-25). "2019 GLLI Translated YA Book Prize Winner and Honor Books Announced". Retrieved 2019-01-30.
  14. ^ User, Public. "Bronze and Sunflower wins the 2017 Marsh Award". Esu.org. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Shanghai recognises UK translator Wang's 'special contribution' to literature - The Bookseller". Thebookseller.com. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  16. ^ "2017 Finalists: young readers - Kirkus Reviews". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  17. ^ NGILBERT (2 August 2012). "BFYA Nominations". Ala.org. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  18. ^ "Notable Children's Books of 2017". Nytimes.com. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  19. ^ "csmcl". Csmcl.org. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  20. ^ https://www.thebookseller.com/news/sixteen-books-awarded-english-pen-grants
  21. ^ Wang, Helen. "Textiles as Money on the Silk Road?". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 23 (2): 165–174. doi:10.1017/S135618631300014X. Retrieved 5 December 2017 – via Cambridge Core.
  22. ^ "Sir Aurel Stein, Colleagues and Collections". British Museum. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  23. ^ "Catalogue of the Japanese coin collection at the British Museum". British Museum. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  24. ^ "Chairman Mao badges". British Museum. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  25. ^ "Handbook to the Stein collections in the UK". British Museum. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  26. ^ "Catalogue of the Collections of Sir Aurel Stein in the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Comp. by John Falconer, Ágnes Kárteszi, Ágnes Kelecsényi, Lilla Russell-Smith. - Library - Hungaricana". Library.hungaricana.hu. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  27. ^ "Supplement to the Catalogue of the Collections of Sir Aurel Stein in the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Comp. by John Falconer, Ágnes Kárteszi, Ágnes Kelecsényi, Lilla Russell-Smith. - Library - Hungaricana". Library.hungaricana.hu. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  28. ^ "Dunhuang textiles in the UK". British Museum. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  29. ^ "Money on the Silk Road". Oxbowbooks.com. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  30. ^ "Sir Aurel Stein in The Times - EAPGROUP - Saffron Books London - Titles & Ordering - Free Downloads - Ordering Info - Author Guidance - Titles A-Z - Authors A-Z". saffronbooks.com. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  31. ^ http://www.asianbooksblog.com/2020/12/a-round-up-of-new-fiction-for-young-in.html

External links[edit]