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The French and United States factories at Canton

Date: c 1841
Dimensions:
Framed dimensions: 562 x 710 x 35 mm, 4.7 g
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Art
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00015750
Related Place:Guangzhou,

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    Description
    This painting depicts a view of French and American Hongs (factory trading areas) in Canton, recognisable by their national flags. The American quarter features a large garden and a number of Cantonese figures can be seen walking with yokes on the wharf, alongside Chinese sailing vessels including sampans and junks.
    SignificanceThis painting is representative of the numerous artworks produced by Chinese trade artists, who were commissioned to paint views of Canton. It is also indicative of foreign trade in the region during the 19th century, largely by European and American merchants.
    HistoryUp until the 1840s, Canton (previously known as Nanking) was the site of most foreign trade in China. Americans, Europeans and Australians were restricted to zoned areas in the city, consisting of residences, ports, hongs and wharehouses. These were busy areas where merchants could trade tea, porcelain, paintings, furniture, silver ware, carvings and other domestic items for export.

    Many merchants, ship owners or captains commissioned Chinese trade artists to paint ships, landscapes or portraits in a western style of art. The artists produced a large number of paintings for foreign consumption and rarely signed their pieces. The hongs in Canton were a common subject in their landscapes.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: The French and United States factories at Canton

    Assigned title: The French and United States factories at Canton

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