Saturday, June 20, 2009

150. George Washington and China

So far, Dr. Wang has published three papers on the historical connection between China and George Washington. Thanks to his research, we know that George Washington supported the United States' trade with China. We also learned that Washington wanted to introduce Chinese flowers to the United States. His love of Chinese porcelain ware helped popularize the ware in colonial period and the early periods of the United States.

A. George Washington and the China Trade

Even before the departure of the Empress of China, Washington had discussed the possibilities of this engagement with people like Ezra Stiles, the president of Yale College. Washington had realized that the American merchants "will carry the American flag around the globe itself, and display the thirteen stripes and new constellation, at Bengal and Canton, on the Indus and Ganges, on the Whang-ho [the Yellow River] and the Yang-ti-king [Yangtze River], and with commerce will import the wisdom and literature of the East." While the Empress of China was still on her way to China, Washington told Thomas Jefferson that "from trade our citizen will not be restrained". More on how George Washington supported the China Trade can be found throuth this link.

B. George Washington and Chinese flowers

You can read Dr. Wang's paper, George Washington and Chinese Flowers and found how the founding father worked hard to plant Chinese flowers in his garden at Mount Vernon.

C. George Washington and Chinese Porcelain Wares

Like other founding fathers, such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, George Washington loved Chinese Porcelain. I have found that among Chinese porcelain ware, Washington had a special fondness for blue-and-white porcelain. I have found at least nine recorded references to his purchase of blue-and-white Chinese porcelain in Washington's Papers. Dr. Wang's paper, The Founding Fathers of the United States and Chinese Porcelain Ware, revealed Washington's life long pursuit of Chinese porcelain wares.

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