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A Little Tea Party
'A Little Tea Party', 1858. Britannia asks: A little more gunpowder, Mr. China?, (a play on words as gunpowder is also a kind of tea. China replies: O-no-tan-ke-mum, in a somewhat xenophobic parody of a Chinese person speaking English. Towards the end of 1856, British troops had been on their way to the Far East as fighting had broken out between China and Britain. As a number of French citizens had been brutally murdered, France came into the conflict as a British ally. In June 1858, China was brought to sign the Treaty of Tientsin which gave a number of commercial concessions to Britain and France. The treaty also renewed the Treaty of Nanking between Britain and China, originally signed in 1842 to end the Opium war. It was then that Hong Kong was first ceded to Britain and five treaty ports were opened to foreign trade. This cartoon shows Britain holding a teapot in the shape of a large gun and pointing it straight at the alarmed Chinese. France delicately sips from her teacup and watches the Chinese reaction. The Chinese nobleman (illustrated by his long fingernails and rich clothing) declines further punishment. From Punch, or the London Charivari, September 4, 1858.
- Image ref: 1150198
- The Print Collector / Heritage-Images