Set of 10 China export paintings depicting boats

This set of 10 paintings depicts various boats from 19th century Guangzhou (Canton). Passenger vessels, trading junks, Dragon boats, cargo, fishing, and duck boats are represented, each with an accompanying Chinese caption. The boats are placed squarely in the middle of the picture along a horizontal line, suggesting stillness over motion and activity. They were painted by a Chinese artist but adapted for western taste.Such paintings were popular souvenirs among foreign traders who began to arrive in Canton in large numbers during the 18th century to trade for commodities, such as tea and silk. Mainly produced using watercolours, they feature a much brighter palette than traditional Chinese paintings, and limited use of perspective. Usually made in large sets, from the mid 18th century they were often painted on pith paper and are rarely signed. Each painting has a verre églomisé (glass gilded with gold leaf) frame, labeled "Edwards & Roberts Upholstery Warehouse", who probably produced them. Edwards & Roberts was a cabinet maker and antique furniture dealer in London active during the mid 19th century, known for their Anglo-Chinese furniture.

Date/Period
19th century
Region
Probably Guangzhou (Canton), China
Dimension
Image size: 17.4 x 27.3 cm, Frame size: 34 x 44 x 2.5 cm
Accession No.
2014-00295
Material
watercolor (paint)
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Category
Paintings

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