Foreign Treaty Ports within Chinese Imperial Cities
The advent of the treaty-port system in China began with the Opium War and the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842. The series of treaties signed between China and various foreign powers during the nineteenth and early twentieth century were unprecedented in Chinese history. It is the opening of treaty port, where the East meet the West and the birth of Chinese Export Silver.
What is a treaty port?
The treaty port was typically an urban setting, known as a concession or settlement, which was inhabited primarily by foreigners, and an ever-growing population of Chinese nationals. The concessions were normally located adjacent to or within a major city and most often in close proximity to a waterway for ease of transport. The treaty port was regulated and governed by a consul, or by individuals with similar diplomatic standing.
Before Treaty Port
The first contact between Western world and China was likely to occur during the rule of the Roman Empire and Han Empire. However, this contact was done through Silk Road and very limited.
Even if Europeans such as Marco Polo and Francis Xavier visited China after that period, the interaction was not very active because countries in Middle East levied heavy tax on land trade. Thus, before Jorge Alvares, a Portuguese navigator, first reached Canton (Guangzhou) through the sea, direct contact between Europe and China hardly occurred.
During the Qing Dynasty, sea trade was not activated because Chinese government introduced policy of isolation and opened only Canton to western foreigners. In the later, Canton System, which not only banned the trade through Chinese ports other than Canton, but also imposed other regulations on European merchants. European merchants could not directly meet with Chinese civilians.
Chinese art has the oldest continuous tradition in the world, and is marked by an unusual degree of continuity of that tradition opposing to the equivalent in the West with Western collapse and gradual recovery of classical styles.
Jing Tai Lan: Chinese Cloisonne
Rose Medallion (Famille Rose) Tray
It's the opening of treaty ports that acts as a catalyst for the export of many Chinese art items to the West; ships carrying Chinese tea and an assortment of luxury art consignments create an awareness and ultimately an obsession for all things oriental to the West.
Life in Chinese Treaty Ports Cities (Settlement within Imperial Cities)
Foreign establishments such as clubs, churches, and racecourses were prominent features of the concessions. In certain major treaty ports such as Guangzhou, Xiamen, and Fuzhou landed foreign garrisons protected the concessions, and in other cases foreign gunboats regularly patrolled the neighboring waters.
Extraterritoriality granted by the treaties enabled foreign nationals to avoid being subject to Chinese civil or criminal law. Instead they were answerable to the laws of their respective countries. In the other chapters, we continue to write and understand some scenes and life in such cities.
Tientsin - The city with nine separate foreign concessions
Shanghai - Important port for the Yangtze and Huangpu River
Macau - The Portuguese Story
Canton - City of the famous thirteen factories
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