Cultural creativity in China between 1796 and 1912 demonstrated extraordinary resilience in a time of warfare, land shortages, famine, and uprisings. Innovation can be seen in material culture (including print, painting, calligraphy, textiles, jewelry, ceramics, lacquer, arms and armor, and photography) during a century in which China’s art, literature, crafts, and technology faced unprecedented exposure to global influences.
Until recently the nineteenth century in China has been defined as an era of cultural stagnation. Built on new research, this book sets out a fresh understanding of this important period and creates a detailed visual account of responses to war, technology, urbanization, political transformations, and external influences.
The narratives are brought to life and individualized through illustrated biographical accounts that highlight the diversity of voices and experiences contributing to this fascinating, turbulent period in Chinese history.
Exhibition dates: British Museum, May–October 2023
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