'Pagoda anchorage, Foo Chow (Tea district)' Fuzhou, China
This celebrated anchorage, off Pagoda Island in the Min River, was at Mawei, about 12 miles east of Foochow and above the Min river narrows to the north-east. Though considered the cradle of Chinese seafaring it was only frequented by Western shipping as China began to open up in the 1840s, and became famous from 1866 with the first of the great annual tea races to London. Sixteen clippers loaded there that year, sailing in late May and early June on the 16,000 mile voyage: 99 days later, the 'Taeping' reached Gravesend first, followed by the 'Ariel' and the 'Serica'. The octagonal Luoxing (Falling Star) Pagoda was built of granite under the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). It is of seven storeys, 31.5m high and its centuries-old role as a mariner's landmark is indicated by the fact that it appears on charts of the great Chinese explorer Zheng He (1371 -1435). Today reclamation has incorporated the island in the southern part of Mawei on the north side of the river, with the Pagoda standing in a park. Butt's view, apparently looking north-west, includes a Western steam tug and apparently another small European ship lying at anchor as a hulk, with only her lower masts standing.
Lt. James Henry Butt
Original size: 123 mm x 174 mm
- Image reference: PT2079
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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