Ca. 1920. Oblong small folio album (ca. 26x33,5 cm). 50 card stock leaves. With 233 original gelatin silver photos, the majority ca. 7,5x12,5 cm (2 ¾ x 4 ¾ in); three small loosely inserted photos ca. 3,5x6 cm (1 ½ x 2 ½ in). No captions. Manuscript title in pencil on the first leaf “China, 1920.”. Period dark brown full pebbled cloth album fastened with a string; gilt-lettered title “Photographs” on the front board. Binding rubbed on extremities, a few images mildly faded, one photo with a minor tear, two photos have been removed from the album, but overall a very good album of interesting strong images.
An interesting album of 233 lively vernacular snapshot photographs taken on a trip across northeastern China shortly after the end of WW1. Most likely compiled by American travellers, the album shows the young Chinese Republic (est. in 1912 during the Xinhai Revolution) and its people during the Warlord Era (1916-28). The Beiyang Government controlled Beijing city, Ming Tombs and the Great Wall of China stayed neglected, and Japan occupied Tsingtao (Quingdao) and Tsinan (Jinan) in the former German Kiautschou Bay Leased Territory (modern-day Shandong Province). The images of Beijing show the Forbidden City (general views taken from a distance, close-up views of gates, pavilions, staircases, cisterns, the travellers posing next to the guardian lions and sitting on a bronze deer statue, ancient gates propped up by timber supports to keep them from falling, portraits of Chinese guards), the Summer Palace and the Kunming Lake (with the Seventeen-Arch Bridge, the Marble Boat pavilion, etc.), the Temple of Heaven and the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, city gates under repair, street views, etc. Over twenty photos show the Ming tombs complex north of Beijing – a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003 (gates, statues, and mausoleums). The images show the complex in a state of neglect, with the roads and squares overgrown with grass; seven photos show the travellers carelessly sitting on the ancient marble statues of guardian animals. Over twenty photos show the Great Wall of China (distant and close-up views of preserved and destroyed sections, the travellers having lunch on the wall with white linen table cloths and china tea sets, etc.). There are also several views of railway stations and tracks, steam engines, cars and passengers, and landscapes taken from a moving railway car. Three photos show the travellers posing next to the sign of “Tsi-nan” (Jinan, Shandong Province), about fifteen photos show the waterfront of Tsingtao (one featuring the “Grand Hotel”). There are also views of Chinese temples and pagodas, a Russian Orthodox chapel, scenes with soldiers, monks, peasants, a group of girls at a railway station, numerous portraits of the travellers (in the Forbidden City, having lunch on the Great Wall of China, posing with Chinese people and children, sitting in rickshaw carts, resting inside a railway car, standing next to the shop of one “Kwang Fah Yung, dealer in all
Price: $3,250.00 USD