The commercial success of American merchant houses in Canton (present-day Guangzhou, China) and Manila (Philippines) brought extraordinary wealth to New England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, along with sophisticated tastes for Asian luxury goods. Among the least studied objects from this period are export paintings of Asian inhabitants, costumes, and occupations by Chinese and Filipino artists that are now in various American and Asian collections. It is my contention that many export watercolors attributed to Filipino artists are, in fact, Chinese copies based on Philippine originals. I examine the interregional connections between Manila and Canton that inform this intriguing phenomenon. Various collecting histories in Asia and America are investigated in light of the politics of constructing and transforming identities of self and others through travel souvenirs and trophies of trade.

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