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Objects of Addiction: The Legacy of the Opium Wars

November 8, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

 |  Free


November 8, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Categories:


Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy St
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States


Harvard Art Museums
(617) 495-9400
Black and white print showing free-standing columns against a cloudy sky.
Mo Ce 莫測, Chinese, Yuanming Yuan 圓明園, 1982. Woodblock print; ink on paper. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Yiling Mao (A.B. ’91, A.M. ’94) and Ping Mo (M.A.Arch. ’90), 2017.207.



This event does not require registration; see further details below.

In conjunction with the exhibition Objects of Addiction: Opium, Empire, and the Chinese Art Trade, Harvard faculty in Chinese history, business, politics, and law will take part in a roundtable discussion on the 19th-century Opium Wars and the legacy of the opium trade in U.S.–China relations.

Objects of Addiction: Opium, Empire, and the Chinese Art Trade (September 15, 2023–January 14, 2024) explores the entwined histories of the opium trade and the Chinese art market between the late 18th and early 20th centuries. These two commodities—acquired through both legal and illicit means—had profound effects on the global economy, public health, immigration law, education, and the arts that are reverberating still today.

Mark Elliott, Vice Provost for International Affairs; Mark Schwartz Professor of Chinese and Inner Asian History, Harvard University
Bill Kirby, T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies, Harvard University; Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Rana Mitter, S. T. Lee Professor of U.S.–Asia Relations, Harvard Kennedy School
Meg Rithmire, F. Warren McFarlan Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Mark Wu, Director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University; Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Free admission, but seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The lecture will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Doors will open at 5:30pm.

The Harvard Art Museums are now offering free admission every day, Tuesday through Sunday. Please see the museum visit page to learn about our general policies for visiting the museum.

This program is presented in partnership with the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Support for Objects of Addiction: Opium, Empire, and the Chinese Art Trade is provided by the Alexander S., Robert L., and Bruce A. Beal Exhibition Fund; the Robert H. Ellsworth Bequest to the Harvard Art Museums; the Harvard Art Museums’ Leopold (Harvard M.B.A. ’64) and Jane Swergold Asian Art Exhibitions and Publications Fund and an additional gift from Leopold and Jane Swergold; the José Soriano Fund; the Anthony and Celeste Meier Exhibitions Fund; the Gurel Student Exhibition Fund; the Asian Art Discretionary Fund; the Chinese Art Discretionary Fund; and the Rabb Family Exhibitions Fund. Related programming is supported by the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Series Endowment Fund. Additional support for this project is provided by the Dunhuang Foundation.

The Harvard Art Museums are committed to accessibility for all visitors. For anyone requiring accessibility accommodations for our programs, please contact us at am_register@harvard.edu at least 48 hours in advance.