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Tythacott, Louise (2020) 'Military Histories of ‘Summer Palace’ objects from China in military museums in the United Kingdom.' In: Lidchi, Henrietta and Allan, Stuart, (eds.), Dividing the Spoils: Perspectives on Military Collecting and the British Empire. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 187-204. (Studies in Imperialism)

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Abstract

In October 1860, at the culmination of the Second Opium War (1856–60), British and French troops looted and then burnt the imperial buildings in the Yuanmingyuan (known at the time by foreigners as the ‘Summer Palace’) in the north of Beijing. This widespread destruction of China’s most important complex of palaces, and the dispersal of the imperial art collection, is considered one of the most extreme acts of cultural destruction of the nineteenth century. Over a million objects are estimated to have been looted from buildings in the Yuanmingyuan; many of these are now scattered around the world, in private collections and public museums. This chapter analyses the display of ‘Summer Palace’ objects in five military museums in the United Kingdom, exploring the meanings constructed around China’s imperial artefacts at these particular sites of representation.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts
ISBN: 9781526139207
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.7765/9781526139214.00019
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2019 08:45
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/30173

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