The dragon and the eagle have long been recognised as the symbols of China and the United States respectively. At the end of the eighteenth century, China was the oldest empire in the world, while the United States was the youngest republic. Their initial relations began when the first American trading ship, the Empress of China, sailed from New York to Canton onWashington’s Birthday, February 22, 1784. The distinctive Stars and Stripes inspired the Chinese to refer to America as the “Flowery-Flag” country.
Curated by the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, this long–planned exhibition aims to unfold the history of early Sino–American trade in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It
coincides in 2018 with the 175th Anniversary of the American Consular presence in Hong Kong. The exhibition is divided into five sections, namely “Dreaming of the East”, “Treaty Ports”, “Speeding up the Trade”, “Exotic Tastes”, and “Building a Community”. With selections from the prominent collections of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Winterthur Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Independence Seaport Museum, the Baker Library, Harvard Business School, The Kelton Foundation, the Swire HK Archive Service, the HSBC Archives, and a number of local and US-based collectors (some of whom are RAS members), this exhibition showcases valuable trade goods, export artefacts, nautical instruments, and archivalmaterials, demonstrating the two nations’ bilateral benefits in maritime trade, commerce andbusiness, marine and nautical technologies, and social and cultural developments. The exhibition also serves as a platform for visitors to review this aspect of our shared history andthe historical ties between these two globally important nations which go back centuries, to the birth of Sino-US relations in the late 18th and 19th centuries.
RAS is delighted to invite its members and their guests for an exhibition tour of the rare historical artefacts and artworks on display, led by an English-speaking guide from the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. Visitors will learn how Captain John Green sailed 18,000 miles from New York for Guangzhou on a ship about the same size of the Star Ferry; why wealthyAmericans (including the nation’s first president George Washington) aspired to purchase “Made in China” goods; and how the first Chinese billionaire made his fortune in international trade.
The Tour Guide
English-speaking guide from the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.
Time: assemble 9.45am. Tour begins 10.00am until 11.00am
Admission fees: Museum entry fees apply
Booking: Please email firstname.lastname@example.org in advance to reserve your place and pay on entry