In 1861, Cixi's infant son Zaichun became Tongzhi Emperor, and, after ousting the regents appointed by the late emperor, assumed the regency. After Zaichun's death in 1875, Cixi engineered that her nephew succeed as emperor, meaning that she effectively controlled the Chinese government for over forty years.
For several decades, Cixi maintained "a delicate, but not always successful" balance between treaty obligations agreed shortly before her reign which allowed foreign missionaries access to inland China and her sympathies for the anti-Christian movements which arose as a result (Liu, Lydia He, The Clash of Empires (2006), p.142).
The idea of presenting Cixi with a bible on her birthday was proposed at the Shanghai Missionary Conference in February 1894, and a committee was quickly assembled to put the plan into action. The present lot is an almost exact duplicate of that presented to Cixi, with an exception of the binding: Cixi's bible was bound in solid silver boards, and then laid in a matching silver casket.
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