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Port of Amoy, one of five opened by the late treaty to British Commerce

Date: 1847
Overall: 153 x 233 mm, 0.023 kg
Medium: Lithograph on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Lithograph
Object No: 00003059
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    The Chinese port of Amoy is shown in this black and white lithograph busy with many vessels and boats. Amoy was one of the earliest ports that developed for Chinese commerce and was a place of departure for many Chinese emigrants. It was one of five ports that were opened for foreign trade after the the First Opium War and the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842.
    SignificanceBefore photography, paintings and drawings of Macao, Canton and Hong Kong were the only illustrations of these exotic ports. These works depict unusual landscapes, walled cities and spectacular architecture, which helped to establish the Western vision of China as a land of silk, porcelain and tea.
    HistoryAmoy, or Xiamen, was the first Chinese port of trade used by the Europeans, mainly the Portugese in the 16th Century and Dutch in the 17th Century. It was China's main port for exporting tea during the 19th Century. It was captured by the British in 1841 during the Opium War between China and Great Britain. The Treaty of Nanjing, which ended hostilities, opened Amoy as one of five Chinese treaty ports at the end of the War. Previously, British merchants had only been allowed to trade at Guangzhou (Canton), however this Treaty allowed them access to trade at 5 new ports.

    Lithography, a printing process, began in Germany in the 1790s and then spread to Europe and America. Initially printers used black and white ink, however this changed to coloured ink as the process become more widely used. A nearly insatiable Western market for views of the Pearl River such as this lithograph was fuelled by the entrepreneurs who conducted business there, as well as their business partners and families, many of whom had never travelled to China but heard marvellous tales about the land and its culture.
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    Web title: Port of Amoy, one of five opened by the late treaty to British Commerce

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