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Gilded lacquer box for fan

Date: c 1850
Overall: 50 x 340 x 80 mm, 0.284 kg
Medium: Wood, silk, metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Fan box
Object No: 00031793
Place Manufactured:Zhonghua

User Terms

    This gilded lacquer box was used for storing an ivory and paper fan made in Canton, China, for the China trade market. During the 19th century substantial numbers of fans were exported to America, Europe and Australia for commercial sale. It is a custom made box gilded with oriental scenes on the top and sides with red silk lining inside.
    SignificanceThis gilded lacquer box 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


    Web title: Gilded lacquer box for fan

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