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Auguste Borget travelled to Canton, Hong Kong and Macao from 1838 to 1839, making textual and pictorial records along the way. The drawings of his voyage were published in the form of lithographs, together with his writings, in Sketches of China and the Chinese in 1842, after he had returned to France. This lithograph is one of the illustrations from the book. It depicts the Sea Screen Temple, a famous and splendid temple located on the island of Honam in Canton. In this lithograph, you may like to pay special attention to the pigs in the foreground, which were an eye-catching item for foreign travellers back then. In his book, Bits of Old China, William Hunter noted that the pigs were "kept and fed in illustration of the Buddhist tenet, not to destroy but to care for animal life". The artist also mentioned these pigs in his book. Other than the animals, Borget loved the atmosphere of the temple very much. He wrote "I have visited the great temple several times, the noise outside the temple was so great and the silence inside the temple was so solemn, that I believed myself transported to another world. I imagine that if I were shut inside the temple I would be completely cut off from the outside world."

Details

  • Title: The Sea-screen Temple at Honam, Canton
  • Creator: Auguste Borget (drawn)
  • Creator Lifespan: 1808 - 1877
  • Creator Nationality: French
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Date: 1838
  • Theme: Landscape
  • Second Artist Name (Lithographer): W. Eugene Ciceri (lithographed)
  • Second Artist (Lithographer) Nationality: French
  • Second Artist (Lithographer) Gender: Male
  • Second Artist (Lithographer) Birth and Death Date: 1813/1890
  • Physical Dimensions: w43.3 x h29 cm
  • Location in the artwork: Canton
  • Artist's Biography: Born in Issoudun, south of Paris, Auguste Borget started out as a banker. In 1829, at the age of 21, he moved to Paris to become an artist and shared an apartment with Honore de Balzac. He exhibited at the Salon from 1836 to 1859 and obtained a third-class medal in 1843. In 1836, despite attempts by family and friends to dissuade him, he embarked on a world tour and visited North America, South America, Hawaii and the Sandwich Islands, the coast of South China (1838-1839), the Philippines and India, returning to France in 1840. It is known that Borget met George Chinnery during his stay in Macao and that some of his works reflect the acquaintance. Today he is best known for his lithographs published in his book Sketches of China and the Chinese. His later years were spent studying scripture and undertaking charitable work in his native Issoudun and Bourges.
  • Type: Coloured lithograph

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