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The Chinese LadyAfong Moy in Early America$
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Nancy E. Davis

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190645236

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190645236.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 25 January 2022

The Final Act

The Final Act

Chapter:
(p.238) 10 The Final Act
Source:
The Chinese Lady
Author(s):

Nancy E. Davis

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190645236.003.0011

With the arrival in New York of the celebrated Chinese junk Keying in 1847, Afong Moy’s presence as a well-known Chinese spectacle was again in demand. Chapter 10 tells us that after an eight-year hiatus, P. T. Barnum, America’s preeminent promoter, engineered her return. Coupled with Tom Thumb, Barnum recounted their origin stories in a seven-page pamphlet and presented them together at his American Museum in 1848. In characteristic fashion, in 1850, Barnum supplanted one Chinese female spectacle with another, a supposed Chinese woman of a younger age named Pwan-ye-koo. She presented in Afong Moy’s place in America and later in England. Foreigner Jenny Lind’s arrival in late 1850 captivated the American public, and Afong Moy—first a billboard for Chinese goods and then an objectified oriental exotic—was completely forgotten.

Keywords:   Keying, P. T. Barnum, Tom Thumb, American Museum, Pwan-yee-koo, origin stories, pamphlet, Jenny Lind

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