The impact of Clark’s expedition extended far beyond its original ambitions. In Sterling Clark, Sowerby found a lifelong patron: over the three decades following the expedition, Sowerby continued to explore China’s wilderness and collect specimens, sending over 2,300 mammals and birds to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., all with Clark’s anonymous support. When Sowerby bequeathed his research files to the Smithsonian in the 1950s, a photo archive—including over 140 images made on the expedition—found its way into the public realm. With the centennial of the expedition and through the efforts of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, the story of the expedition has engaged people in China today: photographer Li Ju retraced the expedition’s route, rephotographing many of the sites a century later; historian Shi Hongshuai published the first Chinese translation and critical edition of Through Shên-kan; and a television series and feature film were made and aired on China Central Television in 2009 and 2010.
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