Chinese Trade Paintings in the Wright Museum’s Collection
Lucy (Huixin) Li ’21, Beijing, China
Major: Art History
In the late 18th century the Qing Emperor designated Guangzhou as the only trade port of Qing dynasty China, making it a center of international commerce and cultural exchange. Merchants from various countries gathered in Guangzhou. In this environment, a hybrid style of Chinese painting developed.
The Wright Museum holds a collection of 18th-century Chinese paintings that illustrates the manufacture and trade of porcelain. Produced in Guangzhou, the paintings are interesting examples of Chinese artists using western techniques and materials. In this research, I examine the hybrid nature of these paintings, comparing them with contemporary Chinese folk paintings, French prints, neoclassical paintings, and British watercolors and aquatints. Through a close examination of these eight pieces, I will argue that they combined these different styles to create a new hybrid style.