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Sunqua (active c. 1830-1870)
Sunqua (active c. 1830-1870)

Canton, a view of the hongs after; and A view of Whampoa Anchorage

Details
Sunqua (active c. 1830-1870)
Canton, a view of the hongs after; and A view of Whampoa Anchorage
the first signed 'Sunqua' (lower right)
oil on canvas
46.5 x 61 cm.; and 45.5 x 59.5 cm.
a pair (2)

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Kimberley Oldenburg
Kimberley Oldenburg

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Lot Essay

The hongs of Canton were a favoured subject matter throughout the 19th Century. The hongs served as residences, trading headquarters and warehouses for western merchants in Canton. The Westerners were restricted to these factories by the Chinese. The depiction of the French flag in the present lot, dates the work between 1832 and 1841; the French established a trading post in Canton in 1832, and in 1841 all Westerners were evacuated from Canton.

Whampoa Reach was the large deep-water anchorage in the Pearl River where incoming cargoes for China were measured and assessed for tax and where the clipper ships would lie idle as they waited for the new season's tea crop to come down from the hills, ready for the legendary races home. Particularly in the early days of the China tea boom, the anchorage at Whampoa was, at the height of every season, as busy a port as any other in the Far East although it was gradually superseded by Foochow as the years went by.

Both paintings provide a vivid insight in the Chinese trade with the western world. The two subjects depict the journey of the tradesmen over the Pearl River to Canton. This journey began at the mouth of the River in Macao, where the captains negotiated with the Chinese tradesmen for permission to approach Canton. Via the forts of Boca Tigris, the ships sailed to Whampoa, where they were unloaded. From there the cargo was transported in smaller ships to Canton.

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