Shi Statue, Chinese Pavilion, World’s Fair


In April 1904, St. Louis opened the Louisiana Purchase Exposition to commemorate the hundredth  anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. Popularly known as the St. Louis World’s Fair, the exhibition showcased the city’s grand achievements and the wonders of technology, agriculture, art, history, and culture. Throughout the fairgrounds, gardens displayed beautiful landscaping, sculptures, and waterways that illuminated the power of combining art and technology. Other attractions included a 250-foot Ferris wheel and the Pike, the Fair’s one-mile midway with entertainment, fun houses, and global performers.

Many of the Fair’s buildings connected international attendees to cultures from across the world. This carved wooden guardian lion adorned the Fair’s Chinese Pavilion. A replica of the summer palace of Prince Pu Lun in Peking (now Beijing), the ornate pavilion was colorful with steep roofs, carved statues, and a pagoda. Inside the building, visitors could view art, artifacts, porcelains, jades, and silks from China. During the Fair, the prince visited the grounds and left the pavilion and its treasures for the Fair president. This piece of the pavilion is a reminder of the St. Louis World’s Fair and its role in sharing the then-modern, albeit stereotypical, wonders of the world.

Object Details

Categories: Agriculture, Arts & Culture, Business & Economy, People, Politics & Government

Date: 1904

Subject: Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 1904; Art; China

Contributing Institution: Missouri Historical Society

Accession Number: 2015-141-0019

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County: St. Louis

Region: St. Louis Metro

Type: Object

Latitude: 38.64719511572875

Longitude: -90.30336077734248