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As a youth, the last emperor Puyi (1906–1967)—also known as the Xuantong Emperor (r. 1909–1911)—was fascinated with Western culture. Under the influence of his teacher, Sir Reginald Fleming Johnston (1874–1938), he developed an appreciation of foreign-made watches and acquired quite a collection during his time in Beijing, Tianjin, and Changchun. Among the valuable items he kept with him during his various exiles were a number of watches made overseas. This pocket watch is one such item.
The shell-shaped watch is made of silver with blue enamel. The cover is decorated with a painting of a Dutch woman holding a hoe surrounded by gold-striped iris and butterfly designs. The back of the watch has a gold swan.
Website version edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying