Trophies of War: Representing ‘Summer Palace’ Loot in Military Museums in the UK

Tythacott, Louise (2015) Trophies of War: Representing ‘Summer Palace’ Loot in Military Museums in the UK. Museum and Society, 13 (4). pp. 469-488. ISSN 1479-8360

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.29311/mas.v13i4.348

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 to be 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 article analyses the display of ?Summer Palace? objects in five military museums in the UK, exploring the meanings constructed around China?s imperial artefacts at these particular sites of representation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Loo, Summer Palace, Military Museums, Opium Wars, China
Subjects: T100 Chinese studies
W100 Fine Art
W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2020 13:16
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2020 13:30
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/43619

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