The Dragon and the Eagle


Interdisciplinary Symposium on Early Sino-American Maritime Trade


Sino-American trade has been a hot topic in recent times. To facilitate further research, encourage deeper discussion and study into the field of early Sino-American maritime trade (i.e. 1784-1900), and allow closer examination on how this mutually beneficial relationship contributes significantly to global economic and cultural growth today, the Hong Kong Maritime Museum will collaborate with the Asia Society Hong Kong Center on a joint symposium on 13th April 2019. The symposium will cover a wide range of multidisciplinary topics including commerce, economics, technology, policy, diplomacy, and arts and culture from the eighteenth to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It will bring together leading professionals, academics and curators from the United States, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Macau.

Session I (9:50 – 11:40am)
The Flowery Flag: Characteristics and Development of the US-China Maritime Trade

Dr. PAUL VAN DYKE, Professor, The Department of History, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou
The China Trade in Comparative Perspective 1784-1815

Dr. LI AILI, Associate Professor, The Department of History, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou
The Introduction of the Regulations for Preventing Collision in the Late Qing Dynasty—Focusing on Coast Inspector Bisbee’s Participation in the International Maritime Conference in Washington in 1889

Dr. GEORGE CAUTHERLEY OBE, DBA (Hon) Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration, Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland
Augustine Heard & Company – Not Only a Business Family

Q & A followed by a coffee break

Session II (11:55am – 1:00pm)
American Missionaries and the Printing Activities in China

Dr. KAM-WING FUNG, Director, Joseph Needham Foundation for Science and Civilization
From Ningpo, Shanghai to Nagasaki: William Gamble (1830-1886) and American Printing Technology in East Asia

Dr. KENDALL JOHNSON, Professor, School of English, The University of Hong Kong
Debunking the Great Walls and Loving Neighbors of John Quincy Adams’s “War with China”: Appreciating the Editorial Authority of American Missionaries in Canton

Q & A

***Lunch***  Restaurant Booking (AMMO): 2537 9888, More restaurants at Pacific Place

Session III (2:30 – 3:35pm)
Cross-Cultural Perceptions: Sino-American Encounter and Inspiration

Dr. CHUXIONG GEORGE WEI, Associate Vice President of BNU-HKBU United International College
The Presence and Evolving Images of Americans in Macau

Ms. LESLIE B. GRIGSBY, Senior Curator of Ceramics and Glass, Winterthur Museum
Inspired Design: Western Imitations of Chinese Ceramics

Q & A followed by a coffee break

Session IV (3:50 – 4:55pm)
Curating, Collecting and Conserving: Chinese Export Artefacts and Trade Archival Materials

Dr. LIBBY CHAN, Assistant Director (Curatorial and Collections), Hong Kong Maritime Museum
Curating the Dragon and the Eagle: American Traders in China Exhibition

Ms. DEBRA CUOCO, Conservator for Special Collections, Baker Library, Harvard University
Preserving the History of Business: The Baker Library Nineteenth Century China Trade Collections

Q & A followed by a coffee break

Panel Discussion: Reflection on Early Sino-American Maritime Trade (5:10 – 6:00pm)

Panel Discussion: Chaired by Dr. JOHN WONG, Assistant Professor, Hong Kong Studies, The University of Hong Kong and Dr. LIBBY CHAN, Assistant Director (Curatorial and Collections), Hong Kong Maritime Museum

Conference Summary & Group Photos



Paul A. Van Dyke is Professor of History at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou. He is author of The Canton Trade: Life and Enterprise on the China Coast, 1700-1845 (Hong Kong University Press, 2005) and Merchants of Canton and Macao vols. 1 and 2 (Hong Kong University Press, 2011 and 2016), as well as many other books and articles of life, trade, and maritime activities in the Pearl River Delta.


Li Aili is Associate Professor of History Department of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou. Her research interests focus mainly on Sino-American relations in 19th century and the history of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service. She is currently working on the research of China’s Participation in the world exhibitions in the 19th century and serving as Editor-in-chief of the “Translation Series of Biographies of the foreign Commissioners in the Chinese Maritime Customs Service”. Her selected publications include A Study on the American Commissioners in the Chinese Maritime Customs Service (2005), “Canton’s Exhibits at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876” and “Ningpo’s Exhibits at the International Fishery Exhibition, Berlin, in 1880” (coming soon).


George Cautherley was born in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation, the sixth generation of his family to have lived and worked in China, where he has been a businessman since 1964 till the present. George maintains a keen interest in his family interest in China and in particular the Heard side of his family, which he traces through his maternal grandmother and has given talks on Augustine Heard & Company.  George plays an active role in public policy development in Hong Kong and in recognition of this in the Queen’s 2008 Birthday Honours he was awarded an OBE. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration by Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland.


Dr. Fung Kam-wing earned his D.Litt. from Kyoto University. He is currently Director of the Joseph Needham Foundation for Science and Civilisation ; Research Fellow at HKU-Shenzhen Institute of Research and Innovation, University of Hong Kong; Institute Fellow at Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Hong Kong; Zhu Kezhen History of Science Professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Professor at Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology; Visiting Scholar of the Year (2016), the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, Taiwan; Senior Research Fellow at the Asian Division, the Library of Congress, Washington D.C., U.S.A; Adviser of the International Advisory Committee for the Research Partner Group of the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte (Berlin) at the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Board Director of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum Limited; and Executive Director of Chinese Society of the History of Science and Technology. Dr Fung’s recent publications include Upon the Plinth of a Barren Rock: 130 Years of Engineering Development in Hong Kong (2015), Mapping Ming China’s Maritime World: The Selden Map and Other Treasures from the University of Oxford (2015), New Research into the Maritime Trades, Seafaring and Underwater Archaeology of the Ming Dynasty (2015), Mengxi bi tan yizhu 夢溪筆談譯注 [A New Annotated Edition of Mengxi bi tan (Brush Talks from Dream Brook) by沈括 Shen Kuo (1031-1095)] (2018).


Kendall A. Johnson is professor of literature in the School of English at the University of Hong Kong. He is the author of The New Middle Kingdom: China and the Early American Romance of Free Trade (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017) and Henry James and the Visual (Cambridge University Press, 2007), and the contributing editor of Narratives of Free Trade: The Commercial Cultures of Early US-China Relations (Hong Kong University Press, 2012). His articles have appeared in American Quarterly, Modern Fiction Studies, American Literary History, and elsewhere.


C.X. George WEI, Associate Vice President of Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University United International College (UIC), Chair Professor of Suzhou University, Emeritus Professor of the University of Macau (UM), and the editor-in-chief for the book series under Brill. He earned MA in Modern World History from Henan University, China, and Ph.D. in History from Washington University, USA. He taught at several American universities and UM respectively for 12 years, and served as the Department Head both at Susquehanna University, USA and UM. He authored or co-authored about 50 articles and book chapters in both English and Chinese, and is author, editor or co-editor of about 20 books.


Leslie B. Grigsby, Senior Curator of Ceramics and Glass at Winterthur (Delaware, USA), is responsible for 22,000+ ceramic and glass objects, displayed in 175 House Rooms and several galleries. She received her Bachelor Degree from the University of Illinois (USA) and her Post-graduate Diploma in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Manchester (England). 

Leslie has published extensively on ceramics and social life, and she contributed towards the exhibition catalogue The Dragon and the Eagle: American Traders in China… She lectures widely throughout the USA, Canada, the UK, China and Australia. She also serves as president of the American Ceramic Circle.


Debra Cuoco has been a paper conservator for special collections at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA since 2002. She splits her time between the Weissman Preservation Center of Harvard Library and the Baker Library conservation lab of the Harvard Business School.  Debra is responsible for the preservation and conservation treatment of paper-based materials, condition assessments, exhibition preparation, and management of the Baker Library preservation program. Debra earned a Masters in Art Conservation with a specialization in paper conservation from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada in 2001. She is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation and a Board Member of the New England Conservation Association.


John D. Wong’s research focuses on the flow of people, goods, capital and ideas. With a particular interest in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta area, he explores how such flows connected the region and its residents to the Chinese political centre in the north as well as their maritime partners in the South China Sea and beyond. Studying the China trade in the context of early nineteenth- century global exchange, his first monograph, Global Trade in the Nineteenth Century: The House of Houqua and the Canton System (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2016), demonstrates how China-trade partners sustained their economic exchange on a global scale long before Western imperialism ushered in the era of globalization in a Eurocentric modern world. A historian of transnational businesses, John received his Ph.D. in History from Harvard University. He also holds a BA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Stanford University. He worked for a number of years in investment banking and investment management and holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).


Co-presented with


For enquiries of the symposium’s content, please contact 3713 2502 or

Event Details

Sat 13 Apr 2019
9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty

Buy Tickets
$100 Maritime Museum/Asia Society Members, $150 non-members, Coffee and tea will be provided
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