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An ovoid-shaped Chinese Ming period porcelain jar painted in rich blue around the sides with two five-clawed dragons among clouds and with rocks and waves below.  Round the shoulder a stylised shou (long life character) seems to grow out of the lotus

Extraordinary Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Royal Collection

John Percival Gulich (1865-98)

The Chinese Ambassador presented to the Queen c.1896

RCIN 920861

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Many of the Chinese and Japanese works of art in the Collection were acquired from European dealers who formed part of a network of traders stretching across the globe. However, from the reign of Queen Victoria (1819–1901), greater diplomatic links with the East saw an increase in personal visits and the exchange of official gifts. This illustrator's drawing, made for reproduction in a newspaper, records the moment when the Chinese Special Ambassador, Li Hongzhang (1823–1901), was presented to Queen Victoria at Osborne House on 5 August 1896. Li travelled to the United Kingdom as part of a diplomatic tour which also included visits to Germany, Canada, Russia and the United States. On arrival, he presented the queen with gifts from the Guangxu Emperor – including a jade vase and cover (RCIN 35398), two blue and yellow imperial dishes (RCIN 58815) and a bottle painted in copper-red (RCIN 2392). Queen Victoria also received a large blue vase (RCIN 2391), an incense burner (RCIN 26809) and a copper-red bowl (RCIN 2390) from Li himself.