Ca. 1910. Oblong Quarto album (ca. 21x29,5 cm). 28 black card stock leaves. With 111 mounted gelatin silver photos, ca. 8,5x14 cm (3 ¼ x 5 ½ in), no captions, seven photos numbered in negative. Original black cloth “Badger” album by “The Henn Co., Milwaukee” (a white ink stamp on the inner side of the rear cover) fastened with a string. Overall a very good album with strong interesting photos.
Historically interesting album of original gelatin silver photos taken in Beijing and environs, by an American photographer, in the timeframe between the end of the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901) and the Xinhai Revolution of 1911. China rapidly moved into the sphere of American interests in the 1900s when the the US became its close neighbour with the annexation of the Philippines. After the Battle of Beijing (14-15 August 1900) when the troops of the Eight-Nation Alliance, including Americans, stormed and occupied Beijing, the interest in America for China and the Chinese grew.
The album is distinguished by its collection of 86 vivid and unusual portraits of Chinese people of different classes and lively street scenes, apparently taken in Beijing. Very interesting are eleven portraits of street beggars and homeless people (three – with young children), group portraits of street passers-by, water carriers, construction workers, elders drinking tea and smoking (opium?), young women, numerous street sellers (pottery, food, baskets, there is even a photo of a Chinese dealer of curio and antiques), peasants working on the fields, kids, portrait of a young noble Manchu woman in traditional costume and headdress, a Buddhist monk, a street barber attending his client, a camel rider, two photos of bound “lotus feet;” a scene of a Buddhist ceremony featuring monks (one wearing a deer mask) and Chinese officials, several market scenes, etc.
The album also includes ten photos of the sculptures of Buddha and Chinese deities (including a stone sculpture of laughing Buddha half-buried in the ground) and fifteen views of Beijing, including an interesting panoramic view with a residential quarter in the foreground and the towers of the Old Beijing city wall in the horizon, photos of the Emperor’s Throne in the Forbidden city, Summer Palace (the Tower of Buddhist Incense and the Kunming Lake, the Long Corridor, Jade Belt Bridge), ruins of the Old Summer Palace, the Ancient Observatory, Dongbianmen (Southeast) watch tower (showing the damage after the bombardment during the Battle of Beijing), the roof of a Five-Dragon Pavilion and the Nine-Dragon Wall in the modern-day Beihai Park (former Imperial Gardens) etc. Overall an excellent collection of early vivid and unusual portraits and street scenes in Beijing and environs taken in the last years of the Qing dynasty.
Price: $3,500.00 USD