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Milk jug from a Canton famille-rose dinner service

Date: c 1856
Overall: 100 x 180 x 80 mm, 0.28 kg
Medium: Ceramic
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Jug
Object No: 00030816
Place Manufactured:Zhonghua

User Terms

    This small jug, possibly used for milk or gravy, part of a famille-rose dinner service made for George Francis Train, a prominent merchant during the mid-19th century. Here the artist has shown a scene where "weiqi" is being played. A game of stagey, it was popular amongst scholars. Of note also is the banana tree in the background. A symbol of self-discipline, the banana tree was also appreciated for the sound of rain and wind through its leaves.

    SignificanceThis piece belonged to the American merchant George Francis Train who opened a shipping office in Melbourne in 1853 and returned to New York via China in 1856.
    HistoryIn the early years following the American Revolution there was a demand for Chinese trade to supply manufactured products such as porcelain, silk and tea, which were not yet available in America. This meant that by the 1830s trade routes from America to China were well established. As a result many wealthy families and merchants of the time possessed numerous Chinese manufacture items in their homes.

    George Francis Train was born in Boston in 1829 and became famous for his entrepreneurial achievements, merchant adventuring and wealth. After a stint as a grocery clerk, Train began his career in shipping in 1845 when he joined his Uncle's Clipper Shipping Business. He established his own shipping firm in Melbourne, Australia in 1853. Throughout his mercantile career, he circumnavigated the globe four times. In 1856 he spent a year in China and it is thought that he ordered this famille-rose dinner service set during this time. Upon his return to America he invested in steel railways and railroads, formed a Finance Company and built various properties ensuring the growth of his fortune.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Small jug from a Canton famille-rose dinner service made for George Francis Train in China

    Web title: Milk jug from a Canton famille-rose dinner service

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