Objects from the Chinese Joss House and Theater, Chicago World’s Fair, 1893

The fortune telling sticks were in the Chinese “Joss House” [temple] at the Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition (WCE) of 1893. They were sold to the Field Museum in 1894 by the Chicago-based merchant Hong Sling, manager for the Wah Mee Exposition Co, the group who built the Chinese theater/temple.

The junk was one of four from the Hall of Transportation that came to the Field Museum in 1893
As far as we know, the pieces shown here and on the World’s Columbian Exposition page are the only surviving Chinese objects from the WCE. All are now in the collection of the Field Museum. Photos by and courtesy of Ben Bronson.