Our photo theme during the Spring Festival holiday is Enter the Dog: the funniest, cutest, weirdest, or otherwise most noteworthy images of our canine companions circulating around Chinese popular culture as we christen the Lunar New Year.
Woof. A looted dog named Looty is not happy in its new London digs. Our resident historian Jeremiah Jenne recalls this episode of China’s modern colonial history, relevant as we inaugurate the Year of the Dog:
A set of purloined Pekingese dogs were among the booty taken from the sacked gardens as part of the spoils of war. Soldiers discovered five little pooches cowering amidst the noise and the confusion and scooped them up before presenting them to their officers.
Let’s pause for a moment, on the eve of the Year of the Dog, to reflect on a group of soldiers not just looting priceless art and treasures, but also grabbing imperial puppies on the way out of town. That’s cold.
The five dogs were brought back to England, where they caused quite a sensation among upper-class canine enthusiasts.
Image source: Royal Collection Trust