One half of a very special pair of Chinese oil paintings in ornately carved original frames, this view of Foochow (Fuzhou) complements a Canton scene, owned since they were painted and brought home, circa 1855, by Captain Edwin Chase and his family. Chase captained the Clipper MARY GLOVER from 1853-1859, then the Clipper WILD RANGER, and was the master of BLACK PRINCE until it was lost at sea returning to Boston from the Orient in 1865. Collectors worldwide desire artworks showing the early Western presence in the Orient, and paintings which of the important Chinese harbors with Western merchants are top prizes.
This highly detailed China Trade painting centers on the edge of the city of Foochow on the north bank of the Min River, with three Western ships at anchor in the harbor, a French, American and British flag flying respectively off the mizzen masts. Buildings, some with signs in Chinese, line the shore. The nine-stage Pagoda rises to heavenly heights above the artistic foliage and rock outcropping, giving the harbor its known Pagoda Anchorage name amongst western mariners. Five Chinese transport ships and a sailing cutter also are in the shallow channel. Foochow was one of the five treaty ports opened after the Opium War of 1840-42, making it a British territory. In 1867, Foochow would be the site of the first Western-style naval base in China, in cooperation with French investments.
Fuzhou is today the capital and largest city of the Fujian Province, with a population of more than 7 million people. As one of the few early ports open to Western ships, it served an instrumental part of the earliest Western shipping trade in China, set between Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Provenance: Captain Edwin Chase of Boston, circa 1855, by descent through his family until 2011.
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