Arts treasures from William Shakespeare to David Hockney are to travel to China as part of a drive to showcase British culture backed by almost £6m of government grants.
And a further £3m is to be spent on boosting Chinese tourism to the UK and encouraging high-spending visitors to venture beyond London to attractions such as Wordsworth’s Lake District and Brontë Country in Yorkshire.
The initiative, announced by George Osborne during a week-long visit to the east Asian economic giant, is designed to boost bilateral trade and kickstart what the Chancellor hopes will become “a golden decade of UK-China relations”.
Highlights of the cultural programme include bringing the British Museum's blockbuster exhibition "A History of the World in 100 Objects" to China for the first time, backed by £750,000 of state funding.
Some £1.6 million will allow the British Library to mount exhibitions over the next four years featuring hand-written manuscripts and early editions of works from authors ranging from Shakespeare to Jane Austen and Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Tate's Landscapes of the Mind show of 100 artworks from 300 years of British landscape painting - including Hockney's Bigger Trees Near Warter - will be presented in China, backed by £1.3 million of state funding.