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China trade ivory and painted paper fan

Date: c 1850
Dimensions:
Overall: 515 x 420 mm
Medium: Paper, ivory
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Fan
Object No: 00031792
Place Manufactured:Guangzhou

User Terms

    Description
    This ivory and paper fan was made in Canton, China, for the China trade market. Both sides are brightly painted with scenes of figures carrying fans in an oriental landscape. The ivory sticks and guards feature carvings of figures, pagodas, and lotus blossoms. A green tassle is attached to the bottom of the fan, where the sticks join. This fan has an accompanying lacquer box for storage. During the 19th century substantial numbers of fans were exported to America, Europe and Australia for commercial sale.


    SignificanceThis fan represents trade between China and the western world during the 1800s. It also highlights popular dress for women, and the influence of oriental culture on western style and fashion.
    HistoryMerchants from America, Australia and Europe were active in trade with China during the 19th and 20th century. On their ships they brought back items including metal domestic wares, cloth, paintings, furniture, spices, carvings, fans and tea. Many products could be produced cheaply and reasonably well in China in comparison to western manufacturers. As a result many wealthy families and merchants of the time possessed numerous Chinese manufacture items in their homes.

    The important Chinese port of Canton, or Guangzhou as it is now known was actively involved in trade from the 13th century, being the first Chinese port to accept foreign trade. In 1685 the British East India Company established a Hong (a commercial district of residences and businesses) near the port. By the 18th century a number of other nations including France, the Netherlands and America had also built similar precincts. During the 1820s tension between westerners, the Chinese government and Chinese merchants was growing. This led to a series of conflicts known as the Opium Wars and the establishment of a number of treaties, including the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842, the Treaty of Bruges in 1843 and the Sino-American Treaty of Wangsia in 1844. These treaties allowed foreigners to establish trading factories and European settlements inside Chinese cities such as Canton. However tensions between westerners and the Chinese remained a constant issue in trade negotiations.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: China trade ivory and painted paper fan

    Web title: Ivory and painted paper fan

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