In 1784 the first American ship sailed to China and began a lively trade relationship. This exhibition celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of that voyage and explores the relationship between Chinese craftsmanship and the taste of wealthy Philadelphians through nearly 300 decorative art objects commissioned for export to the city. Jean Gordon Lee, Curator of Far Eastern Art, drew upon 15 years of research to organize the show, which was supported by the bequest of Frances C. Gaskill and grants form The Pew Memorial Trust and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Notably, "The Canton Connection: Ships, Captains, and Cargoes" (July 1-September 16, 1984) also displayed a selection of ships' manifests, maps and documents of shipping routes, views of Canton Harbor, and exchange goods demonstrating the nautical aspects of the China trade in conjunction with the exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Documentation of correspondence and a contract between the PMA and the Martime Museum are included in this subseries.