MING Wilson and GUO Fuxiang 劉明倩及郭福祥
Victoria and Albert Museum and The Palace Museum 維多利亞與艾伯特博物館及故宮博物院

Tribute and Gift - Material Evidence of the Macartney Embassy to China

In 1792 Lord George Macartney led a British embassy to Beijing, ostensibly to offer gifts to Emperor Qianlong for his birthday. Citing the high value, the fragility and bulkiness of the gifts as excuse, the embassy did not follow the standard procedure of landing in Guangzhou, but sailed direct to Tianjin instead. They submitted a "tribute list", which is now preserved in the China First Historical Archive.

Emperor Qianlong in return gave the King of England and members of the embassy numerous artefacts, called shangwu (bestowal). The original bestowal list is still extant in England, its copy in China.

The two speakers, Ming Wilson from the V&A and Go Fuxiang from the Palace Museum, will discuss what happened to the gifts in both England and China after this historic Sino-British encounter.