The Easel

23rd May 2023

An introduction to 19th-century China

China’s epic history, spanning millennia, arguably surpasses all others. A London show of the last century of dynastic rule tells the story of a ruling elite brought undone by internal weakness, disaffected subjects and predatory foreigners. What remains are exquisite objects, “staggering” images and quotidian household effects that describe the wide span of life under the Manchu dynasty. A review of the show is here; other background essays are here.