The Amoy Waterfront

This finely detailed and accurate view of Amoy or Xiamen is by an unknown Chinese artist. The view is taken from the island of Gulangyu, looking across the harbour to the Western-style trading houses. After the Opium Wars, Amoy became one of the first treaty ports to be opened to foreign trade and settlement following the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842. Gulangyu Island was transformed into an international settlement, where many Victorian and Neoclassical style buildings still survive today. Amoy is the ancestral home to many Chinese Singaporeans. Views of Amoy are extremely rare compared with views of Shanghai, Hong Kong, or Macau. This painting recalls the works by the Canton Macao trade painters in the late 18th and early 19th centuries who were known for the landscape paintings on the port scenes and ship portraits.