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"Arms of Liberty" Punch Bowl

1770

This porcelain punch bowl was made and decorated in China around 1770 for export to Britain and its American colonies. The design on the exterior of the bowl was intended to poke fun at those who had opposed the English politician John Wilkes (1727-97), a proponent of English civil liberties, parliamentary reform, and American rights. Wilkes was elected to the House of Commons several times, but was repeatedly expelled for attacking King George III and his loyalists. American patriots, including Boston’s Sons of Liberty, rallied to the cry of “Wilkes and Liberty!” and incorporated his name and likeness into broadsides, drinking bowls, cuff links, and other items.

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