Monthly Archives: April 2012

Model Prison, Kweilin Fu, c.1900

The caption in Bishop Banister’s photograph album for this photograph (Ba03-20) is: Model Prison. Kweilin Fu, Kwangsi.  The prison is in the panopticon style, first designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham.  The photograph dates from around … Continue reading

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Chongqing 1920 重庆老照片

Chongqing, capital of Sichuan province is in the news at present. This photograph of a crowded narrow street there was taken in 1920 by British businessman Warren Swire. Many of our photographs of the city focus on the stunning, steep … Continue reading

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S.S. Shu Tung on Yangtze River

The hazards and drama of steaming through rapids and gorges in the Yangtze River is evident in this picture (Pa01-10).  The Shu Tung, built by Messrs. Thorneycroft and Co. in Britain in 1910, was a stalwart Upper Yangtze steamer, owned … Continue reading

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Sun Ke reading on a wooden chaise longue

Sun Ke (Sun Fo) (1891-1973), was a Nationalist politician and, briefly, in 1932, Premier of the Republic of China, as well as an educational reformer.  He was the son of Sun Yat-sen. In this informal portrait (Fu-n119) by Fu Bingchang, … Continue reading

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Boy with silk animal face hat, Kunming, 1945

Traditionally, animal face hats were made by a maternal grandmother for her grandson. The animal face – especially the large teeth and eyes – would frighten evil spirits away and so protect the infant. The fruit being sold at the … Continue reading

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Bioscoping in Shanghai, c.1923

In this East Meets West, tradition and modernity, studio tableaux, c.1923, two Chinese opera actors meet the celebrity of the day: Charlie Chaplin – or at least Tommy Crellin dressed up as Charlie Chaplin. So, in effect, three photographers in … Continue reading

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Egg and spoon race, Chefoo, Easter 1902

If some things Chinese were puzzling to foreigners, some things European may have seemed most odd to the Chinese.  How to explain the why and wherefore of an egg and spoon race? In the Commissioner of Customs’s garden at ‘Hillfields’, … Continue reading

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Grooved rocks at a sharp turn in the Yangtze River, 1914

Close up photographs of Yangtze River trackers at work pulling boats along the river and through rapids, are scarce, perhaps because the men often worked naked.  Nevertheless, decorum permitted an interesting detail (El01-49), as recorded in the caption in the … Continue reading

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C is for Changsha

A snapshot of a busy thoroughfare in Changsha, capital of Hunan province. The men are not sporting the ‘queue’, so this is a post-1911 shot, and the flat cap on the left dates it perhaps to the 1920s at least. … Continue reading

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