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Exhibitions

The 19th century Chinese craze for all things European

10 June 2023

9:00 AM

10 June 2023

9:00 AM

China’s hidden century

British Museum, until 8 October

By the 1800s, the mechanical clock had become a status symbol for wealthy Chinese. The first arrived with Jesuit missionaries and Portuguese merchants years earlier, but it wasn’t until the early 19th century that those outside of the imperial court could afford them. Rich merchant families displayed their clocks proudly, like their European counterparts had showed off pineapples.

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