Reflected Glory in a Bottle

Chapter One TWO VICEROYS AND THEIR PROTEGES r • 4. n : Fig. 2. This photograph of Li Hung-chang undoubtly served as the model for the two illustrated snuff bottles. Li Hung-chang (1823-1901) On September 7, 1901, China's most famous statesman, Li Hung- chang, signed the Boxer Treaty in Peking, bringing to an end thirty years of personal diplomacy. Li had predicted his own future eminence when, as a young man of twenty on his way to Peking for the official examinations, he wrote, "The man grasps in his single hand a precious sword. His ambition is higher than a hundred-foot tower."' His motivation to become an official was accompanied by an equally intense desire for fame and fortune. The Taiping Rebellion gave Li an early opportunity to display his extraordinary talents, and with its successful conclusion in 1865, Li enjoyed the highest Imperial favor.