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THE DRAGON AND THE EAGLE: American Traders in China, A Century of Trade from 1784 to 1900
14 December 2018 - 14 April 2019
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 on Washington’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. The exhibition will be 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, this exhibition showcases valuable trade goods, export artefacts, nautical instruments, and archival materials, demonstrating the two nations’ bilateral benefits in maritime trade, commerce and business, 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.
Cathay Pacific Airways
Anthony and Susan Hardy
Crown Worldwide Group
Modern Terminals Limited
Valles Steamship Co., Ltd
Keesal, Young & Logan
The American P&I Club
U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau
Hong Kong Maritime Museum Endowment Trust