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Fine map illustrating the area north and west of Beijing, as explored by Dr. O.F. von Mollendorff.

Paul Georg von Mollendorff

Paul Georg von Möllendorff (1847 – 1901) was a German linguist and diplomat. Möllendorff is mostly known for his service as an adviser to the Korean king Gojong in the late nineteenth century and for his contributions to Sinology. Möllendorff is also known for having created a system for romanizing the Manchu language.

In 1869, Möllendorff interrupted his studies and went to China in order to join the Imperial Maritime Customs Service in Shanghai. While working for the Customs in Shanghai and later Hankou, Möllendorff acquired a good command of Chinese and quickly passed the required language exam. However, he soon grew dissatisfied with his tasks in the service and left it in 1874 in order to join the German consular service as an interpreter and was eventually promoted German vice-consul in Tianjin. During his service in Tianjin, Möllendorff befriended Ma Jianzhong, who worked in the secretariat of the prominent Qing statesman, governor-general Li Hongzhang.

In 1879, Möllendorff assisted Li in procuring weapons and warships from the Germans companies Vulkan and Krupp.

In 1881, Möllendorff left the German consular service because of his complicated relationship to the German minister in Beijing, Max von Brandt.