In the late 19th century, singer Chee Toy, the ‘daughter’ of the celebrated Chinese conjuror Ching Ling Foo, captivated US audiences, before returning as an even more impressive young woman.
The bond between the creator of beloved boy reporter Tintin and a prominent Chinese artist was a meeting of great minds.
Bret Harte’s 1870 poem The Heathen Chinee gained enormous popularity in America, crystallising anti-Chinese sentiment and becoming ‘the hallmark of the China exclusion movement’.
Shanghai-based Canadian artist Samuel Porteous drew inspiration from vintage adverts for three cigarette brands popular in 1930s China, one of which, he writes, hid a dirty secret.
Starting in 1898, the ‘Original Chinese Conjuror’ Ching Ling Foo took America by storm, his touring traditional Chinese magic act making him one of the highest paid entertainers in the country.