Monthly Archives: June 2012

Amahs

Omnipresent in many of the portraits of foreign families, especially children, is the amah. Often unnamed, or simply captioned ‘Amah’ , these were the Chinese nannies and wet-nurses, servants who suckled or looked after children. They were indispensable additions to … Continue reading

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Large pots at a pottery, c.1870

Mass production is nothing new to China, which has always been the world’s most populous country.  Here (Bo02-049) large pots and blocks are being made, apparently in the thatched workshops.  It looks like the large pots were made in two … Continue reading

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Moving a block of ice over frozen water

Ice was cut during the winter in North China from ponds and rivers, and then stored in ice houses for cooling uses over the summer months. This photo (Ru02-34), with its curiously stagey composition (note that man peeping from behind … Continue reading

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Colonel Robert Ruxton, MBE OBE

Robert Minturn Clarges Ruxton 1876-1946, son of a Admiral William FitzHerbert Ruxton, joined the Essex Regiment in 1897, and began his association with China in 1900 when he was seconded to the First Chinese, or Weihaiwei, Regiment. This was the … Continue reading

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The Great Wall of China at Badaling

One of the world’s most famous structures, the Great Wall of China has been much photographed.  Surprisingly though for such a massive and extensive landmark, many visitors, including John Thomson in 1871, photographed the same section – around Badaling.  Here … Continue reading

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A game of two halves

Football can also bring photograph collections together.  In 2008, an enigmatic album of photos collected by Harold Edwards Peck, a policeman in the Shanghai Municipal Police, was lent to the Historical Photographs of China project and digitised.   Two years later, … Continue reading

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Festival floats in procession, Szemao, Yunnan Province, c.1896-1902

Frederic William Carey served in the Chinese Maritime Customs, from 1891 to 1928.  When stationed at Szemao in the province of Yunnan around the turn of the century, he studied the area and the multivarious tribes peoples, becoming an authority.  … Continue reading

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Silk filature or factory, Shanghai, c.1900

A filature was an establishment for reeling silk from cocoons.  There were many such factories in Shanghai and they must have employed several hundred children. Silk was of course a luxury item for the wealthy, and much exported.  This sobering … Continue reading

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