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Listening to ChinaSound and the Sino-Western Encounter, 1770-1839$
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Thomas Irvine

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226667126

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226667263.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 11 May 2021

Sound and the Macartney Mission, 1792–1794

Sound and the Macartney Mission, 1792–1794

(p.109) Four Sound and the Macartney Mission, 1792–1794
Listening to China

Thomas Irvine

University of Chicago Press

This chapter follows the embassy’s journey in sound across China from its landing near Tainjin in late August 1793 to its departure from Beijing in late September. Soon afterward, the embassy was divided. Many of its personnel remained on the ships that had brought the party from England, now anchored at Chusan, and traveled in them to Canton; the rest, including Macartney and his immediate staff, traveled by river and over land to the trading city in the south. This chapter engages with specific soundscapes of the embassy’s journey in the north of China and its Manchu borderlands: of the river, the road, the city, and the court. Macartney and his men, accompanied at times by hundreds or even thousands of Chinese attendants, guards, and bearers, made their way first from the coast by river and then on horseback to Beijing, where they deposited their cargo of gifts. This chapter imagines the embassy as a Grand Tour of listeners. The embassy made music in China, and its members listened to Chinese music. As listeners in a faraway place, many of them attempted to meet the expectations of such new regimes of knowledge and hear “scientifically.”

Keywords:   embassy, Chinese music, Chusan, Canton, Macartney, Manchu borderlands, Grand Tour, regimes of knowledge

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