Object Label Draft 3


View of Spring Gardens

Murdoch Bruce and A. Maclure

Lithography and Paint

20th August 1846

Hong Kong Museum of Art

This image is one of a series of prints by Murdoch Bruce and A. Maclure. It depicts Hong Kong as stylised towards British taste. The architectural style is influenced and heavily resembles European architecture, including Greek columns, and is absent of any Chinese forms of architecture, such as roof ornaments taking the form of dragons or lions.

The society in British Hong Kong was racially segregated into two main groups, the local Chinese, and the foreigners, mainly the British but also included other Europeans. The land was separated, allowing the British to enjoy ‘elite’ Victorian style luxuries in the Eastern portion of Hong Kong, while racial laws were erected, forcing the natives to live in crowded living spaces in the Western portion of the island. This racial segregation materialised through mutual animosity between the two races. This animosity is disguised in the image whereby the artists portray the British as superior to the Chinese by having a local Chinese man bow to a group of foreigners, which are likely to be British — in Chinese culture, bowing is a way to show respect to one’s superiors.

While the image, at first glance, portrays a grandeur Colonial Hong Kong, it also highlights the immense difference in the socio-economic status between the two races. The British are seen as the elites of the nation, dressing in splendour, while the local Chinese are dress in simple, traditional clothes and are depicted as serving the British.

Author: Josephine

I like cats 8)

One thought on “Object Label Draft 3”

  1. Yes, it is striiking that there is no Chinese architectural presence.
    There are workers on the boats. Although initially, this print seems to portray an idyllic view of Hong Kong, it has some fascinating details!

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