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China Trade Painting

Paintings produced for the Western market by Chinese artists are known as “China Trade” paintings. Trade between China and Europe (and later, America) existed for several centuries, but the market in China Trade paintings was most active during the 18th and 19th centuries. Relatively few are documented or signed, and only about a dozen artists are known by name. Western traders lived in a restricted area of Canton near the “hongs,” or factories, while they conducted trade with Chinese officials. They avidly purchased China Trade products – not only paintings but furniture, porcelain, and other decorative arts - for their temporary homes in the Chinese ports and for family and friends back home. Paintings were produced in large studios employing many artists, and were often worked on by several apprentices to meet export demand. Most popular were detailed port views of Macao, the Boca Tigris, Whampoa, and Canton, but landscapes, portraits, and works inspired by Western prints were also produced. Because the Chinese catered to Western tastes, the style is a hybridized one, flatter and lacking the perspective of Western painting. By 1875 the quality of China Trade goods became more commercial, with size and color replacing the subtlety and technique of earlier paintings. By 1876, the China Trade was virtually over. No items found.No items found.