A pair of Chinese carved ivory letter racks, 19th Century.

The traditional art of ivory carving peaked in China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), when the major centres were Beijing in the north and Guangzhou, also known as Canton, in the south.

In the early Qing period Guangzhou was one of the few ports which allowed foreign trade.

Foreign merchants shipped Chinese goods abroad and returned with quantities of ivory, which allowed the craft to thrive.


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