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Random Pics Of Old China

ralphrepo

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#61
We're all familiar with Yao Ming, the 7 foot 6 inch Chinese ozone breathing star of US pro basketball fame. But before Yao's great grand parents were even born, another Chinese was already acknowledged as a "big" star in the western world.



Entilted Chang the Chinese Giant [c1870] Location & attribution not known [RESTORED] I removed obvious spot, defects, discoloring stain; adjusted constrast, unsharp masked the image, and added sepia toning (original is behind spoiler).

Chang Woo Gow (also listed under a variety of other similar names) was reportedly already 7 foot 9 inches when he 19 years old and began to tour the world, and eventually grew to a height that was an estimated 8 feet. Others claim that he was only medically measured at 7 foot 8 inches. He also claimed to have had a sister at home who was even taller than he. Unfortunately, a lot of his personal bio seems to be confusingly mixed with his stage managed bio, making a true account of him really hard to arrive at. Several examples of his picture cards attest to his birthplace being Peking. Others claim that he was born in a place called Fychow. Despite an extensive search of the internet, I have not been able to locate a Chinese town called Fychow. The closest place under Wade-Giles spelling (the predominant way of romanizing Chinese during the 1800's) would be Fuchow (also Foochow, or modern day Fuzhou). Again, it was probably a misread letter U that somehow became a letter Y in some document that was then retained as something of historic value. Still others have his birthplace as somewhere near Canton (modern day Guangzhou). Additionally, he supposedly was married to a Chinese woman named King Foo, who subsequently died. But King Foo (aka Kin Foo) is claimed by some sources as actually being only a fake show character invented by his managers as an adjunct to his act. Chinese women were hired to play the role of this dutiful "wife" and would appear on stage with him. Still other sources claim that King Foo was, in fact, his real wife; one Catherine Santley (of Liverpool) whom Chang met and married while performing in Australia. Mrs. Santley Chang was said to appear in Chinese costume in performances with Chang, and use the stage name of King Foo. Perhaps the truth is some, all, or none of the above.

Chang purportedly was fluent with an astonishing 26 languages. This for me is rather hard to believe, and I suspect it to be only a stage fact. However, it was clear that he was at least conversant in several European languages, and was remembered by others as an avid reader. He traveled through just about all of the known world and had put on sell out performances. At one point, he returned to China, but was soon enticed by PT Barnum to return to the show world. Barnum reportedly paid him anything from $500 dollars a month, upwards to $600 dollars a week again, depending on what you read. Either way, it was a princely sum for most people in the 1870's. In the course of my net research into Chang, I came across two posts in a Genealogy Forum, and I'll quote both of them verbatim. Note: I have no way of knowing how accurate any of these statements are:

Chang Wor Gow

Chang was born in 1841 in the port of Fy-chow, now in Canton Province, China. He returned to China in the 1880’s from Australia, having married there his Liverpool-born wife, Catherine SANTLEY with 2 sons Edwin and Ernest. I believe the two sons were teenagers when both parents died with in 4 months of each other in 1893. I also believe Chang had been previously married to a King Foo, 'The Fair illy' prior to his marriage to catherine SANTLEY, perhaps their were children born within this marriage. Chang was around 8 1/2 foot tall and classed as one of the tallest men in the world accordingto his time. All information and help would be greatly appreciated. Catherine SANTLEY is my GGG Grandfathers step sister. Karen

Source: http://genforum.genealogy.com/china/messages/580.html

Karen, I have lots of information about Chang Woo Gow. My gg uncle James Marquis Chisholm, a musician of some note, toured China in the early 1860's, met Chang Woo Gow and was apparently fascinated with his height. Have a look at www.ashleighhotel.com/chang.html Anyway, my gg uncle took Chang to London where he 'exhibited' Chang at the Egyptian Hall in 1865. Chisholm wrote music for this exhibition - The Great Chang Polka and others. You're right about Kin Foo but she was apparently only his stage-wife. Email me direct - [email protected] I have not only the music Chisholm wrote, but a copy of the front page of the sheet music from 1865. Chisholm wrote a series of articles for the Glasgow Herald in 1865 and later these were published into a book. One chapter goes into much detail about the negotiations with Chang's family and the villagers, to allow him to be taken to London. One condition was that a coffin always travelled with Chang because there would be no coffin suitable for that great height of 7'9". Look forward to hearing from you. Marj

Source: http://genforum.genealogy.com/china/messages/620.html
The messages above were originally posted in 2002, and no other responses have been added to that thread since. If anyone has any more information on this fascinating character, please help us fill in the blanks. Also, the following appeared in a copy of Modern English Biography Vol 4, Supplement vol 1 [1908] (title is download link)
CHANG WOO GOW Or CHANG TU SING (son of a giant who d. 1863). b. Pekin 15 March 1847; exhibited himself as the great Fychow giant at Egyptian hall, Piccadilly, London 25 Sept. 1865, when he measured 7 ft. 8 inches in height; the queen presented him with a gold watch weighing 2J Ibs. 1865 ; exhibited at Paris exhibition 1878 and Royal Aquarium, Westminster 1880; exhibited at the Oxford music hall, London, Feb. 1883, when he appeared on the stage with a dwarf named Tiny Mite standing on the palm of his hand, he was then 8 feet in height, 26 stone in weight and 62 inches round the chest; returned to England from a 4 years' visit to China, April 1891. d. of heart failure at his residence, Moyuen, Southcote road, Bournemouth 5 Nov. 1893. bur. in nonconformist burial ground, Bournemouth cemet. Buck- land's Curiosities of natural history, 3 s. 2 ed. ii 10-8 (1868); Strand mag. Oct. 1894 p. 435 prt.; I.L.N. 30 Sept. 1865 p. 304 prt.; Harper's Weekly 1865 ix 677 prt.; Pall Mall budget 13 April 1893 pp. 560-1, 4 prts.; Certificate of registrar general.

And finally, in a book about such personalities, I found these pages:

(Click image to enlarge and read)

Sources:
http://www.ashleighhotel.co.uk/chang.html
http://thehumanmarvels.com/?p=957
http://www.stevequayle.com/Giants/Asia/Asia.html
 

ralphrepo

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#62
During the unfortunate war years, when Chinese territory was taken by Japan, the Imperial Japanese Army had occupied a substantial amount of the land along the eastern coast of China for a number of years. Since photography itself knows no allegiance, many photos of course, would be taken by IJA soldiers. Some recorded their startling cruelty and inhumanity to their fellow man; less well known images simply documented mundane daily experience. Many would be the kind of pictures that soldiers (of any flag) take to show their daily surroundings to those waiting back home for their safe return.

Below is probably such a picture. Found on a Chinese web site dedicated to the war years, it seems to have been taken from a private Japanese photo album. The original picture wasn't scanned, but was directly photographed with a digital camera from an opened album page. One corner of the photo bore a picture retainer (used to hold a photograph onto the display page) typical of home albums during the mid 1900's, and the resultant photograph was clearly evident of Barrel Distortion (a defect phenomenon of modern camera lenses where the middle of the picture seems to bulge outwards toward the viewer), where the camera is held too close to an object being photographed, in this case the album page.



The picture was not titled, location is not known [c1940s] there was no attribution. [RESTORED] I cropped the image, repaired the bottom left corner that was covered by the photo retainer, adjusted the tone and contrast, then sepia toned it (original is behind the spoiler).

This is a very interesting picture of the Chinese civilian's adaptation to prevent bomb damage. Several of the buildings bore bamboo bomb shields; that is layers of bamboo built elaborately into a mesh atop buildings, with the intent to prematurely detonate falling bombs. This would limit the sustained damage to the outside of a home or building. Otherwise, a bomb would crash through the roof and explode inside, often collapsing a structure and killing all of its inhabitants.

There is also a Swastika painted on one roof (right of photo). The meaning for which is not known to me. Did the dwelling below hold members of the Nazi party, that is German allies of the Japanese, painted there so that the IJA would not bomb it by mistake? Perhaps it was a German embassy or consulate? No way to tell. If anyone knows the history of this photograph, please feel free to add to our collective knowledge.
 

ralphrepo

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George Lacks was another Life Magazine staffer in the right place at the right time, witnessing the turbulent changes wrought on Chinese society immediately after world war 2. He helped provide an important part of the visual chronicle of Chinese Communist forces finally ousting the Nationalists, and China becoming the People's Republic in 1949. Before that however, in March of 1946, he was in Mukden (present day Shenyang 瀋陽 ) photographing the social casualties left by the war. After the Imperial Japanese Army surrendered to either Chinese or Soviet forces, a small portion of their civilian population was lucky enough to have been repatriated back to Japan. The majority of Japanese civilians living in northern China however, were literally abandoned in place by their fallen government and defeated armies. Hunted by the Soviets and hated by the Chinese, Manchurian Japanese paid the price for the previous excesses of their brutal military governance. Many were hunted down and killed outright, their shops and homes burned, and their property looted or seized by angry Chinese mobs. Those Japanese expatriates that survived only did so on their wits and an extraordinary amount of luck.

In a flashback sequence during Jackie Chan's new movie Shinjuku Incident 新宿事件 [2009] Chinese villagers discuss the historic fact of Japanese children being left behind in China, as a plot device (ie pretending to be one of these children for the purpose of being allowed to emigrate to Japan).

Japanese War Orphans in China

Before 1988, Ran Fanjun's life was just like that of every other ordinary Chinese. In the town of Fushun in northeast China's Liaoning Province, where he was born and brought up, he was the head of a local waterworks. Besides a successful career, he had a loving wife and son. And they lived harmoniously in a typical Chinese "three-generations-under-one-roof" family, with Ran's parents, brothers and sisters. But everything changed suddenly one day, when he was told by the local police that he was actually a Japanese orphan adopted by his Chinese foster parents. He learned that his own father, a Japanese soldier, died during World War II when Japan invaded China and turned northeast China into a puppet Manchuria state. In 1945, the year Ran was born, China won the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45). Ran's own mother entrusted him to the care of his foster mother before she fled back to Japan.

Japanese orphans

Ran's experience was not unique. Thousands of Japanese orphans were left behind in China at the end of World War II. While some of them were offspring of Japanese soldiers, most of them came from families that were organized by the Japanese imperialist government to migrate to northeast China. According to incomplete statistics, more than 4,000 of the Japanese orphans were adopted by Chinese families. According to Zhang Zhikun, deputy director of the Institute of History of the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, the foster families were scattered in almost every Chinese province while 90 percent of them gathered in the northeast provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang, and the northeastern parts of North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Many of the Japanese orphans had been adopted by the comparatively well-off families in China. Zhang now leads a research group focusing on the issue of Japanese orphans. As part of the research results, a book titled Investigation and Research on Japanese Orphans was published by the Social Sciences Academic Press earlier in August.

"I did hesitate a little after we learned that it was a Japanese child," said Zhang Zhilan, Ran's foster mother. "I hated the Japanese army very much. They were so atrocious, killing Chinese civilians as if they were chopping a tree. But looking at the newly born infant, I made up my mind. If I was not going to raise him, he would soon die. After all, the child was innocent." Zhang Zhilan decided that adopting a child would not cause too much extra economic burden. The 26-year-old had got married a few years earlier but had not given birth. But for many other foster families, which already had four, five or even more children, it did aggravate the burden. With no exception, however, the Japanese orphans were taken good care of by their foster parents. In many circumstances they received extra attention from their foster parents. After Zhang Zhilan adopted Ran Fanjun, she gave birth to several boys and girls. Ran Fanjun's sister, Ran Fanchun, recalled: "In my memory, my mother never treated us impartially. She was very lenient to my eldest brother and, at the same time, very strict with me, my brothers and sisters. The contrast was so dramatic that sometimes I could not help wondering whether we were adopted."

And the Japanese orphans were never discriminated against because of their Japanese origin. Many Chinese parents kept the secret deeply in mind. For Zhang Zhilan, patching up the secret was not very difficult, since she adopted Ran Fanjun right after his birth. She even kept his umbilical cord, which helped silence suspicion that he was Japanese several times. Even when Ran Fanjun's foster father passed away in the early 1980s, the secret was not unsealed. Zhang had thought that she would keep the secret till the day that it was completely forgotten, as if it had never existed.

Difficult decision


In 1981, the Japanese and Chinese governments reached an agreement that they would work together to solve the problem of Japanese orphans in China. All Japanese orphans who could be identified were organized to look for their original families and relatives in Japan and were allowed to return to their homeland. But for the orphans, most of whom had never been informed of their genuine identities, it was extraordinary. They needed to get back from the shock they had just experienced quickly and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both choices. On the one hand, the chance of settling down in Japan was alluring. As one of the most developed countries in the world, it appeared, or at least they expected, that they would have better lives there. Plus, it would certainly provide better educations for their children. On the other hand, returning to Japan meant a long departure from their foster parents, brothers and sisters, with whom they had lived together for nearly half a century, and from whom they probably had never thought to depart.

Between 1981 and 2000, according to Guan Yaxin, Zhang Zhikun's colleague at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, 2,121 Japanese orphans went back to Japan to look for their parents and relatives. A total of 666 of them finally found their original families. Those who failed to find their families were also allowed to settle in Japan. Though the decision was difficult, most Japanese orphans chose to return to Japan. According to the Japanese Ministry of Labor, 2,476 orphans 90 percent of the total had returned to Japan by August 2004. Ran Fanjun also made the choice that most people did after meditating for two tormenting days. The following days the family was surrounded by an atmosphere of oppression and sadness. Everything went on the track silently. Ran Fanjun went through the required procedures of returning to Japan, with his foster mother's acquiescence. But no one had the courage to talk about the matter. It was difficult to say anything. Even today, after Ran Fanjun has been resettled in Japan for 16 years, he has still kept contact with his foster family by making phone calls. But the pain persists in his heart and the hearts of his foster families. "My mother fell ill at least once a year after my eldest brother left. My eldest brother told me that he would feel heartache every time he thought of us," Ran Fanchun told China Daily. She said during the past 16 years her family had never talked about the matter officially. The interview with China Daily was the first chance that she and her mother could tell the story that they had repressed deeply in their hearts. During the interview both the mother and daughter wept several times.

Impoverished life

Sadly, in his homeland Ran Fanjun did not live the life that he once fancied. He was already 46 when he first arrived in Japan in 1989, and he could not speak Japanese at all, so it was very difficult for him to find a decent job. He ended up doing physical labor, his salary barely making both ends meet. He is only gratified that his son, 30, now studies at a university in the United States. According to Zhang Zhikun, most of returned Japanese orphans shared similar experiences with Ran Fanjun. Most of them lived an impoverished life, at the bottom of Japanese society with stipends from the Japanese government. Worse, after staying in China for so many years, it was almost impossible for them to get used to Japanese society. Most of them were only several years old when they were abandoned in China, so they retained hardly any memory of Japan. Although some psychiatrists reported that they still bore some traits unique to the Japanese people, that was only valuable to psychological study. Those traits were displayed distinctively in their daily habits but did little to help them enter the mainstream of their country of origin. According to Zhang, many Japanese regarded the orphans as Chinese and would look down upon them. Some Japanese orphans intended to return to China, but their hukou, or registered permanent residence, had already been cancelled. The condition was especially bad for those who received little education in China.

Zhang Fenghuan, who was born in 1942 and was adopted at the age of 3 by a Chinese family in Fushun, is a typical example of those people. In 1988, she got permission by the Japanese government to go to Japan to look for her relatives. But her brothers and sisters refused to admit that she was their sister. She had to stay in special camps the Japanese government set up for homeless returned orphans. Her experience there was uneasy. Having no friends, she felt lonely. Penniless, she would steal daily necessities such as bicycles in the nearby Japanese neighborhood. Because of that, some of the returned orphans like Zhang were discriminated against by their compatriots. "The Japanese always threw eggs at us, yelling at us: 'Go back to China,'" she said. She decided that she could not bear such a life any more. In the winter of 1989, she returned to Fu-shun. To buy the air ticket, she said, she saved money for six months. Now she still lives in a shabby neighborhood with her Chinese husband, who is paralyzed from the waist down because of cerebral hemorrhage, and her eldest son, who was laid off several years ago and is still unemployed. Strictly speaking, she is an illegal Japanese settler in China, though she has been living in the city for 50 years. She joked that she is a "blind flower," a word referring to those migrant workers in cities coming from the rural regions. Every month she receives a stipend of 30 yuan (US$3.7) from the Japanese government. "The sum," she complained, "is negligible." Worse, that is not the sum she would get. To qualify to receive the stipend, she paid more than 100 yuan (US$12.3) every year to go through the procedure. "The Japanese government should think more of us," Zhang Fenghuan said.

Foster parents

Zhang Zhilan is fortunate in that, although her eldest son has left, she still has two daughters and two sons who support her both mentally and economically. But many others, whose adopted child is their only child, are not so fortunate. The Chinese tradition is that when the parents turn old and cannot support themselves, their children should shoulder the responsibility. However, with their only child away in Japan, many Chinese parents, most of whom are in their 70s or 80s, no longer have any close relative living near them. Li Shuxian, 81 and suffering from uremia, lives on her own since her adopted daughter, Xu Guilan, returned to Japan in 1990. Li has gone to Japan twice to visit her daughter. Most of the time, the sea separates her from her beloved daughter and granddaughter. She feels so lonely that sometimes she wakes up at midnight and could not fall asleep again. Few Japanese orphans took their foster parents together with them to Japan, though the Japanese government allows them to do so in cases when Japanese orphans are the only children of their foster families. In some extreme cases, the Japanese orphans just cut off contacts with their Chinese parents after they went back to Japan. Last month many Chinese media reported that a Japanese orphan, Noita Shouzou, treated his foster mother, Li Xiurong, who now lives in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, like a stranger after he returned to Japan in 1994.

In the past 11 years, he never made a phone call. In 2001 Li fell ill as a result of serious cerebral hemorrhage, but the Japanese orphan and his 14-member family, whom he brought to Japan from China, never visited her. "There are also objective reasons that discourage returned Japanese orphans from visiting their Chinese foster parents," Zhang Zhikun said. First, since many Japanese orphans and their families do not live good lives in Japan, they would feel ashamed to come back to China. More important, many of them, living at the lowest living standard, could not afford the travel. What's more, Japanese policies stipulate that during the period that they are not in Japan, their living stipends would be cut off.

Staying in China

More than 100 others chose to stay in China with their foster parents because they felt they love China so much that they could not be separated from it. An example of that is Wu Yun, who was abandoned in China by her Japanese parents at the age of 7 in 1945 and was adopted by an Inner Mongolian family. In 1981, she was reunited with her brother in Japan. But she declined his invitation to settle down there and returned to China. Now she is the deputy head of the local People's Congress of Tongliao, a city of Inner Mongolia. Her story was adapted into a TV drama titled The Days of Departing from Hiroshima, which was a hit on China Central Television (CCTV) in the early 1990s. According to Zhang Zhikun, currently there are still several hundred people whose Japanese orphan identities have been admitted by the Chinese government but have not been officially certified by the Japanese government. Since 2001, nearly 2,000 returned Japanese orphans have filed suits in many Japanese cities, charging the Japanese government with failing to repatriate them early enough and asking for compensation. Zhang urged the Japanese government to try harder to solve the orphan problem. He also noted that historians should carry out further study of the special group of Japanese orphans and their foster families. During the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the Japanese army killed 35 million Chinese. The Chinese parents, Zhang said, showed their generosity by opening their arms to the enemy's children. "It is historians' responsibility to record that episode of history, to let the world know the great charitable acts of the Chinese parents, to let the world know that love could go beyond hatred," he said. Looking back on history, he said, we could see that all the cruelties were caused by war. "There should never be war again," Ran Fanchun said.

(China Daily September 6, 2005)
Source:http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/141004.htm


Entitled Girls standing outside of their homes Mukden China [1946] G Lacks [RESTORED] I removed obvious spots, defects, and the huge annoying LIFE logo at the bottom right; overall tone was darkened and contrast, along with a sepia tone, was added (original is behind the spoiler).

As previously stated, war can bring out the best or the worst in people. Those caught on the periphery may sometimes find themselves in situations that compel them to do things which, under normal circumstances, no one would ever dream of. Thousands of woman caught on the wrong side of the harsh war time economics thus turned to prostitution. The shame and humiliation perhaps mitigated by a fragile loved ones' full belly, or a sick parent's continued medical care. In the desperate days immediately after the war, entire streets or alleys of Mukden, devoted to the flesh trade, were found staffed by both Chinese and the newly downtrodden Japanese woman.

***Sidebar*** Devils on the Doorstep 鬼子來了 [2000] (black comedy originally banned in the PRC), briefly alluded to the desperate situation of post war China's stranded Japanese women. Near the end of the movie, in a brief, yet powerfully poignant scene, two Japanese women, cowering in the shadows, furtively approached the movie's protagonist and offer themselves to be his wives. The implicit message was, that they were willing to be obedient and sexually servile if he would only shelter them from other, vengeful and often deadly Chinese.
 

ralphrepo

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George Silk was also a LIFE Magazine staffer, working for them 30 years (LIFE for some reason, seemed to have had an overabundance of photographers named George). He extensively covered many aspects of the second world war, at one point being even captured by the Germans, and then fortunately escaping. He was also the first photographer to document Nagasaki after the atomic bombing. Immediately after the war, he was in China recording the poor social conditions and the lack of resources and its devastating effects on the Chinese populace.



Entitled During the famine, young child dying in the gutter China MAY [1946] G Silk [RESTORED] I cleaned a few spots, adjusted contrast and darkened tonality for stronger visual impact, and added a sepia tone. The original is behind the spoiler, and can also be viewed at the original link HERE.

Whether one reads Anderson's Little Match Girl or sees Takahata's anime adaptation of Nosaka's Grave of the Fireflies one cannot help but be thunderstruck with compassion over the plight of impoverished children, and of China it was no different. In the desperate and unforgiving times of the post war period, China was devastated and its streets overflowed with those least able to fend for themselves. Too young to steal food with sustainable reliability and too old and too many to elicit the short supply of compassion of a war numbed society, child orphans were left to scrape a daily existence from whatever they begged or fought for. More often than not, they lost that fight.

This is not a pleasant image, and indeed I was conflicted about even submitting it. However, in the final analysis, painful as it is, it remained an important historic document of the plight that wars bring to people, and the suffering that it engenders. We as a society today cannot help those that have already succumbed to the grinding poverty effects induced by previous wars. However, before we start any new ones, the least that we can do is remember those thousands of starved children, before we in our eager belligerent hubris, inadvertently create more.

Sources:
George Silk
Grave Of The Fireflies
 

ralphrepo

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Thomas C Chamberlin was a noted geologist and educator. He founded the famous Journal of Geology in 1893, and was its editor for many years. The journal is an exceptionally well referenced title that remains in publication to this day. His work in US geology is widely recognized as being the bedrock of our current understanding in North American glaciation. He also served as the president of the University of Wisconsin. In his permanent collection of papers held at his alma mater, Beloit College, there is also a large body of photographs that he took whilst traveling on a geologic survey in China.



Entitled Mouth of Coal Mine in Mountain Ridge West of Ta Chu China MAR [1909] TC Chamberlin [RESTORED] I removed the majority of scratch and spot defects (many remain) and discoloration; adjusted tonality, added contrast and a sepia tone. The original is behind the spoiler 1 and can also be viewed HERE

Mining in China has been a source of livelihood for probably thousands of years. To this day, it remains one of the most dangerous and risky professions the world over, but especially so in China, where there is comparatively little oversight and many illegal operations. During the early 1900's, Chinese coal extraction for most small village operations didn't differ much from the process of today. People needed to climb into a hole and manually extract chunks of coal, using whatever tools they had on hand. A shed (seen in the above picture) generally housed the entrance to the mine. Digging was supported by a constant trail of tunnel retention structure construction; as a tunnel was dug deeper, wood or bamboo supporting columns and cross braces (to prevent deadly cave ins) were erected. Light was supplied by dim oil lamps. The mines were hot, wet (subject to frequent floods) and physically draining; serious injury and death were common.

Excerpt from an article in The Scientific Monthly, Vol V, July to December 1917 New York, The Science Press 1917 (Title is PDF download link) :

In the coal fields near Ping Hsiang there are numerous native mines on both sides of the range. These native mines are a sore grievance to the Ping Hsiang colliery because of drainage conditions. The native mines are always located where the coal seams pinch out at the surface, and are always comparatively shallow, seldom extending more than a few hundred feet into the mountain. Their slanting shafts quite thoroughly collect most of the surface waters which are held above the clay strata overlying the deeper drifts of the large colliery. The upper levels of the colliery naturally approach nearest the surface at the localities where the coal seams outcrop. The result is that the surface waters collected in large quantity by the native mines are drained off to a great degree by the upper levels and drifts of the colliery and these highest parts of the colliery are consequently the wettest by far. The native mines are frequently however in a state of practical flood. The description here given is based on an extensive investigation covering upwards of 200 native mines, undertaken by Mr. M. Esterer, of the Ping Hsiang Colliery.

In digging shafts and laterals, the native miner avoids rock so far as possible, though he has copied foreign methods of drilling and blasting. The diggings are largely in the seams and consequently have many tortuous and narrow passages. The shaft of the native mine follows the vein from the surface, usually at an inclination of from 20 to 60 degrees. After a varying distance the shaft or drift becomes horizontal and then rises, still following the vein. The result is the formation of an elbow towards which the water flows from both directions. This necessitates constant pumping to keep the passage open, and even then the water stands from one to two feet deep for a variable distance. Through this water every person must walk on entering and leaving the mine. Pumping is effected by manpower, as machinery is never used. A long section of a large bamboo, 6 to 8 inches in diameter, is cleaned out, making a circular smooth pipe. Into one end of this a crude valve is fitted and into the opposite end is introduced a piston with valve. This pump is laid along the slanting floor of the shaft and operated by a coolie who sits at its upper extremity. The water is caught in a small pool lined with clay from which it is pumped by a second similar apparatus at a higher level. A sufficient number of these relay bamboo pumps are provided to reach the surface.

As the shafts are never vertical and all work is done by man- labor, some special means is necessary for transporting the coal to the surface. Bamboo or plain wooden ladders with the rungs characteristically close together, so that each step is not over 6 to 10 inches, are laid against the sloping floor and secured by pegs or bamboo withes. The upright side pieces of these ladders are very close together, leaving not more than 6 to 8 inches for the feet to tread. Coal, earth and rock are scraped into small baskets which are pulled by ropes by a coolie who mounts on the rungs of the ladder, with the basket sliding on the sidebars after him. The coal is deposited in a heap at the pit mouth and carried thence in baskets by coolies again to Ping Hsiang or some point on the river where it can be placed in junks.

The native mines are insufferably hot, due to the entire absence of any ventilation system, to the small caliber and single bore of the shafts, and to the large number of persons at work in the mines at once. The average is 30 to 35 degres Centigrade. This temperature, with the darkness and abundant moisture, favors the growth of parasites such as the hookworm, which here finds ideal conditions for propagation. Some of these mines have a daily output of 30 to 40 tons, but most are much smaller.

Source: http://books.google.com/books?id=3O...ine+china+The+Scientific+monthly&lr=&as_brr=1
***Sidebar*** I have not been able to figure out where Ta Chu is. If anyone has any clue, please be so kind as to enlighten the rest of us. TIA -detect
 

ralphrepo

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Ernest Henry "Chinese" Wilson was an explorer botanist who traveled extensively to the far east between 1899 and 1918, collecting seed specimens and recording with both journals and camera. About sixty Asian plant species bear his name. One of his most famous photographs (below) has traditionally been mistakenly attributed to another legendary Asian botanist (Joseph Rock). However, the photograph itself also begs controversy.



Entitled Men Laden With Tea Sichuan Sheng China JUL [1908] EH Wilson [RESTORED] Very little retouching except for a few scratches and spots. Minor contrast and sepia tone added. The original resides in Harvard University Library's permanent collection, and can be found using their Visual Information Access (VIA) Search System by using the title. Under the spoiler is a cropped reprint that appeared in The Cambridge Illustrated History Of China [1996] P Buckley Ebrey p196.


Wilsons personal note... said:
Men laden with "Brick Tea" for Thibet. One man's load weighs 317 lbs. Avoird. The other's 298 lbs. Avoird.!! Men carry this tea as far as Tachien lu accomplishing about 6 miles per day over vile roads, 5000 ft
A simple look at these porters reveals, from their lean bodies, that they appear to routinely undergo physical strain. Neither of them look to be particularly superhumanly strong. Should we then believe that these men were capable of load bearing approximately 300 pounds over rough terrain at high (5000 feet) altitude? That is the controversy. I suspect that Wilson made a mistake; either miscalculating a conversion from Chinese Imperial to European weight measure, or that he believed an inflated figure offered him by a less than honest native. However, others purportedly shared the same beliefs that some porters did in fact, carry upwards of 300 pound loads. In a rare 2003 interview with several retired former porters, still alive and in their 80's (see excerpt behind second spoiler); they stated that while the average was really more between 60-110 Kg; they acknowledged that some (only the very strongest) could shoulder a superhuman 150 Kg load; someone like Chang Woo Gow, or one of his kin, perhaps?

The Burden of Human Portage

As recently as the first decades of the 20th century, much of the tea transported by the ancient Tea-Horse Road was carried not by mule caravan, but by human porters, giving real substance to the once widely-employed designation ‘coolie’, a term thought to have been derived from the Chinese kuli or ‘bitter labour’. This was particularly true of smaller tracks and trails leading from remote tea-picking areas to the arterial Tea-Horse routes, both in Yunnan and in Sichuan. Perhaps because this human portage played a less economically significant role than the large – sometimes huge – yak, pony and mule caravans, and perhaps because there is little or no romance attached to the piteous sight of over-burdened, inadequately-clad and under-nourished porters hauling themselves and their massive loads across muddy valleys and freezing mountain passes, less information is available to us concerning tea porters than about tea caravans.

Fortunately some black-and-white images of these incredibly wiry, tough, hard-bitten men have come down to us from Sichuan, as well as at least one 150-year-old French-made lithograph from Yunnan, in addition to some rare oral accounts describing the immense difficulties these hardy wretches had to face. In the latter category, as recently as 2003 China Daily carried an interview with four former tea porters in Ganxipo Village, near Tianquan County to the southwest of Ya’an. Now in their 80s, these veterans recall hard times before the completion of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway in 1954 when they would carry almost impossibly heavy loads of Sichuan Pu’er tea over a narrow mountain trail across the freezing heights of Erlang Shan (‘Two Wolves Mountain’) to Luding and onwards, across the Dadu River, to the tea distribution centre at Kangding.

According to 81-year-old former tea porter Li Zhongquan, tea was carried by human portage all the way from Tianquan County to Kangding, a distance of 180km (112 miles) each way on narrow mountain tracks, much of the way at dangerously high altitudes in freezing temperatures. According to Li, an able-bodied porter would carry 10 to 12 packs of tea, each weighing between 6 and 9 kg. To this had to be added 7 to 8 kg of grain for sustenance en route, as well as ‘five or six pairs of homemade straw sandals to change on the way’. The strongest porters could carry 15 packs of tea, making a total load of around 150 kg (330 imperial pounds). ‘The grain lasted no longer than half the journey’, Li remembered, ‘and you had to replenish your food supply at your own expense’. As for the multiple pairs of straw sandals: ‘these would be worn out quickly, as the mountain path was extremely rough’.

To make the portage of such heavy loads possible, and to help guard against the ever-present danger of overbalancing and falling into one of the many deep ravines skirted by the narrow mountain trail, tea porters carried iron-tipped T-shaped walking sticks both to assist in struggling over the steep, rocky path, and to rest the load on, without taking it off their backs, when they paused for breath. A surviving section of the old stone path near Ganxipo Village bears testament to the almost unimaginable difficulties faced by the tea porters in the past; small holes dot the stone slabs of the path at regular intervals of a pace or so, indicating where, over centuries and perhaps even millennia, the porters struck the rock with their iron-tipped sticks as they made their laborious way to and from Kangding.

It is possible to identify the T-shaped walking-and-support sticks used by the tea porters in black and white photographs from a century or more ago, including one taken by the American explorer and botanist E.H. Wilson, who helpfully appends the information: ‘Western Szechuan; men laden with “brick tea” for Thibet. One man's load weighs 317 lbs [144 kilos], the other's 298 lbs [135 kilos]. Men carry this tea as far as Tachien-lu [Kangding] accomplishing about six miles per day over vile roads. Altitude 5,000 ft [1,500m] July 30, 1908’.

For the tea porters of Ganxipo Village, the hardest part of their journey was the climb over Erlang Shan. The precipitous mountain trail was so narrow that it was only wide enough for one person to pass at a time. According to Li Zhongquan: ‘one misstep, and you were gone – we had our sandals soled with iron to get over the mountain’. Li also remembers when: ‘one of us was sick and fell dead on the mountain top in winter. We had to leave him there until the snow thawed in spring, when we carried the body down home’. The porters carried tea from Tianquan to Kangding, and returned with loads of medicinal herbs (especially Cordyceps sinensis of Chinese caterpillar fungus), musk, wool, horn and other Tibetan products. The four porters interviewed in China Daily did not know for sure when the tea portage trade had started in Ganxipo, but Li was certain that ‘my grandpa’s grandpa was a porter as well,’ and that the whole village had offered porter services for generations.

Source: http://www.cpamedia.com/trade-routes/tea-horse-road-historical-perspective/
I personally am six feet; had been in the military (I weighed 175 lbs at the time), and had once passed the New York City Fire Department physical exam (both examples known to be physically invested), so I've personally experienced and also seen others carry loads. The load bearing requirements for both those endeavors are generally considered to be extreme, but they come nowhere near that of 300 pounds. Just walking alone for a few kilometers on a flat surface with 40 Kg worth of material on your back, I can attest is already exhausting. To imagine tripling that weight, walk for over 180 kilometers over mountain trails, and breathe rarefied air? I would say it's downright impossible. Considering all of the above, I myself highly doubt that typical carry loads was anywhere near 300 pounds. This of course leads to another question. A look at the first spoiler will reveal a page from a noted historical text, that repeats the stated weight of 300 pounds (in Chinese, as 136 Kilogram). The author (Buckley-Ebrey) of the text obviously took Wilson's label at face value and without question. This may have helped to perpetuate a mistake, mistruth, or rendered perceptually common that which was only a case of an extreme example. This is a perfect reminder that like anything else, we need to treat history too, with a high index of suspicion. We need to ask questions if something doesn't seem right, reasonable, or just not humanly possible.
 

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The Ming Tombs have not always been a very popular attraction. For hundreds of years, they basically sat with little interest by the general population. To date, only one of the 13 known tombs has been excavated (and even that was a disaster). Except for a few passing westerners who took pictures of the Disney-esque over sized stone animals, the whole complex was widely and generally ignored. If that wasn't bad enough, during the mid 20th century, upheavals within the PRC caused the one known opened underground necropolis (that of Emperor Zhū Yìjūn 朱翊鈞 aka Wanli) to be ransacked and almost destroyed by political extremism.

A notation from Wiki's page:

Dingling (Chinese: 定陵; pinyin: Dìng Lìng; literally "Tomb of Stability"), one of the tombs at the Ming Dynasty Tombs site, is the tomb of the Wanli Emperor. It is the only one of the Ming Dynasty Tombs to have been excavated. It also remains the only imperial tomb to have been excavated since the founding of the People's Republic of China, a situation that is almost a direct result of the fate that befell Dingling and its contents after the excavation.

The excavation of Dingling began in 1956, after a group of prominent scholars led by Guo Moruo and Wu Han began advocating the excavation of Changling, the tomb of the Yongle Emperor, the largest and oldest of the Ming Dynasty Tombs. Despite winning approval from premier Zhou Enlai, this plan was vetoed by archaeologists because of the importance and public profile of Changling. Instead, Dingling, the third largest of the Ming Tombs was selected as a trial site in preparation for the excavation of Changling. Excavation completed in 1957, and a museum was established in 1959.

The excavation revealed an intact tomb, with thousands of items of silk, textiles, wood, and porcelain, and the bodies of the Wanli Emperor and his two empresses. However, there was neither the technology nor the resources to adequately preserve the excavated artifacts. After several disastrous experiments, the large amount of silk and other textiles were simply piled into a storage room that leaked water and wind. As a result, most of the surviving artifacts today have severely deteriorated, and replicas are instead displayed in the museum. Furthermore, the political impetus behind the excavation created pressure to quickly complete the excavation. The haste meant that documentation of the excavation was poor. A severer problem soon befell the project, when a series of political mass movements swept the country. This escalated into the Cultural Revolution in 1966. For the next ten years, all archaeological work was stopped. Wu Han, one of the key advocates of the project, became the first major target of the Cultural Revolution, and was denounced, and died in jail in 1969. Fervent Red Guards stormed the Dingling museum, and dragged the remains of the Wanli Emperor and empresses to the front of the tomb, where they were posthumously "denounced" and burned. Many other artifacts were also destroyed.

It was not until 1979, after the death of Mao Zedong and the end of the Cultural Revolution, that archaeological work recommenced in earnest and an excavation report was finally prepared by those archaeologists who had survived the turmoil. The lessons learned from the Ding Ling excavation has led to a new policy of the People's Republic of China government not to excavate any historical site except for rescue purposes. In particular, no proposal to open an imperial tomb has been approved since Dingling, even when the entrance has been accidentally revealed, as was the case of the Qianling Mausoleum. The original plan, to use Dingling as a trial site for the excavation of Changling, was abandoned.


The original title is not known. However, the picture is recognized as being that of the ShenGong ShengDe Stele (inscribed tablet) Pavilion, that is an integral part of the Sacred Way (aka Spirit Way) of the Ming Tombs just outside of Beijing PRC. The image seems to have been taken c1900, and attribution is not known [RESTORED]. I retouched out the obvious spots and defects, evened the tone of the sky, adjusted contrast and tone. The original unrestored image, found on LIFE magazines' free archive search via Google, can be seen behind the spoiler.

The ShenGong ShengDe Stele Pavilion (aka the Tablet Pavilion) is the third structure that one would encounter upon entering the Ming Tomb complex (The first being the Stone Memorial Archway, and the second being Dahong Gate). Beyond it lies the long walkway with the famous statues of stone animals and Ming ofiicials. It is also known as the Stele Pavilion of Divine Merits and Sacred Virtue of Changling. The pavilion was completed in 1435 during the 10th and last reigning year of Ming Emperor Zhū Zhānjī 朱瞻基 (ruled 1425-1435). It was originally of wood construction, but after a roof collapse the structure was replaced with one of stone, completed during the 52nd year of Qing Emperor Hónglì's 弘曆 (aka Qianlong) reign, in 1787 (ruled 1735-1796). The pavilion houses a 50 ton stele, with an inscription composed by Ming Emperor Zhū Gāochì 朱高熾 (aka RenZong, ruled 1424-1425). The text lauds the great achievements, merits and virtues of his predecessor, Ming Emperor Zhū Dì 朱棣 (aka Yongle, ruled 1402-1424), that was buried in the Changling Tomb. The back and side of the stele also bears poems by Qing Emperors Hónglì 弘曆 and Yóngyǎn 顒琰 (aka Jiaqing, ruled 1796-1820). Four white marble HuaBiaos (ie ornamental pillars) outside form a quadrangle; the pavilion is positioned in the middle of the four pillars, in a direct line with the seven kilometer long path known as the Sacred or Spirit Way.

Luckily, China and it's people have awoken to the value of preserving its history, and cultural locations like the Tombs have been safeguarded from further decay. There is little rush to open up any of the other sealed underground vaults until the PRC government is assured that the contents, once removed, can be fully protected. In one sense, I lament that I won't be around to see it. But on the other hand, my children, or their children; and indeed, the Chinese people as a whole, would have the benefit of a recovered culture that would better withstand the rigors of time. That's probably the best outcome that any historian can wish for. Behind the last spoiler, a closer view of the pavilion from various points in time:

 

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While trolling through the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog pages of the US Library of Congress, using a general search term of "China" I came across this very interesting image. Like any municipality, there is a thin line between law and order versus crime and chaos. Law enforcement in late 19th century Canton (modern day Guangzhou) used whatever means necessary in order to hold that line and protect life and property. The photo was taken by an unidentified work for hire photographer for the Underwood and Underwood Company (one of several stereoscope image businesses that provided western civilization with a visual taste of the late 1800's to early 1900's world at large).



Entitled Bridges by which the night police of the roofs cross the streets, Canton, China [1900] Underwood & Co. [RESTORED] It is listed in the US LOC under Reproduction Number LC-USZ61-929. It is from half of a paired stereoscope image. I made the usual corrections of spot and defect removal, contrast and tonal improvements, along with removal of the arched upper border (typical of stereoscope images). The original is behind the spoiler and can also be viewed by clicking the title.

This is a rare image. In all the years that I've been looking at photographs, I do not remember having encountered a photograph of what is essentially an overpass walkway in a 19th Century Chinese city. If one is to take the wording of the image as gospel, then it seems that there was a dedicated nightly police squad that patrolled the rooftops of Canton. This obviously points out that if the police took the time and efforts to set up such an elaborate defense system, then one has to assume that rooftop break ins were routine. Thus, it was enough for Qing officials to justify the expenditure of building overpasses for their officers to do nightly rounds on. In the middle of the photograph, at the end of the long line of roofs appears what looks like several individuals. Police? Thieves? Western photographers? If anyone finds another example of this, or a historical discussion; please post a link.
 

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#69
Carlton Harlow Graves was the owner of CH Graves Company (one of his many business titles), another one of several stereoscope picture view companies that imaged the world extensively in the hopes of bringing esoteric views to jaded westerners. He eventually sold out to Underwood & Co. in 1910, and it is presumed that his work then went to Keystone View when Underwood itself was later sold to them. CH Graves Company also used the work of other paid photographers, and Herbert Ponting is suspected of being Graves' actual source of China images.



Entitled Chinese children at play the dragon's head [1902] CH Graves (but likely H Ponting) [RESTORED] I retouched out some minor spot and scratches, adjusted the tone and contrast, and finally added a sepia tone. The image is from the right of a stereoscope pair. The originals (two in this case) can be seen under the spoiler. The earlier one is attributed to CH Graves in 1902, while the later one, presumably reprinted and sold when Keystone View Co had possession of Graves collection, listed only the title without any attribution.

I simply love this picture. Early 1900s Chinese children were hardly ever at ease enough to unabashedly play in front of a western photographer. They're either too scared, shy, or mesmerized by the photographer's operation to ever engage in what they would otherwise do normally if the westerner wasn't present. Like all kids one would expect them to be playing, and this rare image successfully captures that. In a collaborative effort, five boys acrobatically form the head of a dragon. This provides ample evidence that traditional folklore and myth was already inculcated into the Chinese psyche at an early age, enough that Children use the imagery from them to acrobatically create imaginary creatures during their frolic and gambol.
 

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Italian Lieutenant Ernesto Burzagli was a young naval attache at the time, and had been posted to the far east, traveling as an observer with Japanese forces as they swept up the Liaodong Peninsula (then spelled Liao-Tung) in their route of the Far East Forces of Tsar Nicholas the Second, during the Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905. Luckily for us, Burzagli was also an avid photographer, using what we would call cutting edge equipment for those times. Burzagli later rose to the rank of admiral, and was also an important figure in Italian politics until he fell from grace after the rise of Benito Mussolini.



Entitled simply as Bodoi (4) [RESTORED] From other notes and photographic evidence, the image was taken on 02 JAN 1905, after the Japanese navy successfully besieged Port Arthur (Lushun, or known today as the western end of Dalian) and Dalny (Dalian). The picture was taken in the northwest areas just outside of Dalny. From other pictures in the collection, it appears that Japanese forces were inspecting and occupying abandoned Russian defenses. I removed obvious spots, stains, and discoloration; evened the tone of the sky, and added a sepia tone. The original can be seen behind the spoiler.

This is a very interesting shot in that it is a rare example of the use of a swing lens panoramic camera. Previously, most attempts at panoramic views involved the sequential taking of photographs from the same location with each subsequent view adjusted a bit to the left or right, but just barely overlapping the view of the previous image. After all the images are processed, the images are then stitched together in sequence, creating a panel that shows a continuous panorama, albeit with a somewhat perspectively disjointed view. A swing lens camera avoided the disjointed perspective by ingeniously recording the panoramic image continuously (instead of continually) on a curved surface (instead of a flat plane like that of a regular camera). The resultant picture usually evidences a telltale central bulge in which the mid portion of the panoramic view seems to curve toward the viewer, whilst the ends on either side seems to recede away. If one were to visually see the same wide angled view with their own eyes, one would start by looking to one's side (over one shoulder) and then turning one's head until you're looking to the opposite side (over your other shoulder). This effectively mimics a swing lens camera's angle of view. The camera's lens would start from one side of the panoramic view and rotate around a central axis until it ends at the other side of the panoramic view, much like a person turning one's head. This made it possible for some early examples of photographic antics, as a slow lens rotational speed during the exposure allowed a person standing on one end of the panoramic view, after having been already recorded onto film, to quickly run to the other side of the panoramic view before the lens views it, and thus be recorded again. In the final photograph, the subject would be seen twice (once on each end of the film image).

*** Sidebar *** On a personal note, swing lens cameras are blast to work with. I've had the joy and pleasure of owning both 35MM and 2 1/4 swing lens panoramics, and the images that one gets from them are simply stunning. I'm personally hoping that someone out there will manufacture a reliable digital version, and in the 20+ Megapixel count range (though it would probably cost an arm and a leg, or at least a second mortgage, LOL...).
 

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#71
Hedda Morrison was a tremendous resource for images from the latter part of the Republican China years, photographing extensively with a 2 1/4 Rolleiflex Twin Lens (my personal roll film favorite) during her 13 year stay in China (from 1933 - 1946). Coincidentally, she then married into the family of and bears the name of another very famous China photographer; she married George Ernest Morrison's son, Alastair in 1946. Besides photography in China, she was also known for a large body of image work in Malaysia and Australia (where she died in 1991). Her husband, generously donated her life's work, divided between Harvard University and Australia's Power House Museum of Science & Design.



Entitled Young mother carrying a child on her back in the market, Hong Kong Island [c1946] H Morrison [RESTORED] Minor spot repairs, contrast adjustments and a final sepia tone. The original is behind the spoiler, and resides in Harvard University's Hedda Morrison Photographs of China collection, and can be found by their VIA search engine.

A simply delightful shot of a young woman with a baby carried in the traditional manner of Chinese village women, using a Mei Tai. Many of the modern and newly manufactured baby slings don't come close to the simplicity that Chinese mothers have long discovered in a simple square piece of cloth.

The mei tai and other Asian-style baby carriers

Traditionally, the Chinese mei tai was a square or nearly square piece of cloth with parallel unpadded straps emerging from the sides of each corner. It was traditionally secured by bringing all the straps together in a twist with the ends tucked. The mei tai did not become well-known in the United States until 2003, when several designs that added padding, a longer body, longer top straps and a more "wrap like" tying method were created and made popular. A variation on the traditional mei tai was popularized in Australia in the 1960s. There are now hundreds of different brands of mei tai available with a variety of features, but the longer straps, taller body and wrap-style tying method are found in almost all of them. Mei tais are suitable for front or back carries with children ranging from birth to as heavy as a parent can support (usually between 35 and 45 pounds is the upper limit of comfortable wearing, but in emergencies and demonstrations, small adults have been worn. Wraps can be used through the same weight ranges.)

The podaegi (also spelled podegi and pronounced po DEG ee with a long "o", a hard "g" similar to the "g" in "golf" or "go" and a long "e") is a Korean carrier with a medium to large rectangle of fabric hanging from a very long strap. Traditionally the rectangle is quilted for warmth and wraps around the mother's torso, while the straps are wrapped snug under the baby's bottom and tied around to the front to support and secure the baby on the mother's back. Western interest in the podaegi style has led to new wrapping methods which do go over the shoulders, and to narrower "blankets". Variants of this shape include the Hmong carrier and the Chinese bei bei. The structure is similar, but usage can be very different. Hmong carriers and bei beis are both customarily used with over-the-shoulder wrapping and often have stiff sections which help provide head support or block wind, but their traditional, minimally padded or unpadded narrow straps limit their popularity among Western users. Western variants with more strap padding, less stiffener and other modifications are emerging.

Traditional babywearing in Japan was done with a wrap carry, using an obi (sash). In the 1940s, a carrier known as the onbuhimo became popular. Similar to the Hmong and Mei tai carriers, the onbuhimo has long top straps and a rectangular body. But at the bottom of the rectangle, loops or rings allow the top straps to be threaded through and tightened, while the straps are tied at the waist. The body is much smaller than the bodies of most mei tais and other Asian-style carriers, and the onbuhimo is traditionally used on the back. Variations may have stiff headrests or padding in the body.

Variations of these basic shapes can be found elsewhere in the world. Mei-tai-like carriers were used in places as diverse as Sweden and Africa.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_sling
 

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In the closing days of the Qing empire, a Polish rail engineer Joseph Skarbek, working under the auspices of the French Society of Colonial Engineers, participated in building a rail link between Kaifeng and Luoyang, in Henan province. He spent three years (1906 - 1909) on his job, but while there also indulged in a personal passion for photography. He ultimately produced approximately five hundred glass plate negatives (no small feat for anyone who's ever worked with them) that covered things that he witnessed professionally (like the rail that he was working on) to the mundane slice of life that was rural Henan in the early 1900's. A small limited display of his images are at this LINK however, it is unfortunately in French (the 3 thematic links on the bottom will each show an index page with images, however). Another site called Zenfolio has better sized, but an even limited number of images. Another Link, also in French, had a great description of Skarbek's time in China is behind the spoiler:

Joseph Skarbek, d’origine polonaise, naît le 21 novembre 1879 en Dordogne, où son père travaille au bureau d’étude de la ligne de chemin de fer de Périgueux à Ribérac. Quand il perd père à sept ans, son éducation est prise en main par ses deux oncles qui l’orientent vers le métier de cheminot tout en lui transmettant leur passion pour la photographie. Il se spécialise alors dans la construction de voies ferrées et devient ingénieur.

En 1906, il a 26 ans quand la Société française des Ingénieurs coloniaux lui propose de partir trois ans en Chine centrale dans la province du Henan, entre 1906 et 1909. Mis à la disposition de la Compagnie Impériale des Chemins de Fer Chinois, il participe à la construction de la ligne Kaifeng-Luoyang. Les travaux qu’il conduit permettent de mettre au jour quelques sites archéologiques de l’antique civilisation chinoise dont le Henan est le berceau. Le chemin de fer reliant Luoyang, plusieurs fois capitale impériale, et Kaifeng, carrefour commercial foisonnant depuis la fin de la dynastie des Tang au Xe siècle suit une route qui emprunte la vallée du Fleuve jaune, région la plus anciennement peuplée de Chine. La ville de Zhengzhou, située à peu près à mi-chemin entre Luoyang et Kaifeng et dont l’origine remonte au moins au IIe millénaire avant notre ère, est aujourd’hui la gare de jonction entre les deux principales voies ferrées qui coupent la Chine d’est en ouest et du nord au sud.

Le segment de chemin de fer construit par Joseph Skarbek et ses collègues se trouve aujourd’hui au cœur du réseau ferroviaire chinois. Ces ingénieurs ont non seulement permis l’industrialisation de la vallée du Fleuve jaune mais également la découverte des vestiges des longues époques entre les Shang et les Song. Joseph Skarbek se passionne d’emblée pour cette région de Chine alors méconnue et pour sa culture. Il rapporte une riche documentation photographique, dont les photos exposées ici sont une sélection. Toutes ont été prises avec son appareil dit « jumelle » de type Mackenstein à chambre fixe et obturateur à rideau pour plaques de verre (format 9 sur 12 centimètres, recouvertes d’une émulsion de gélatino-bromure d’argent).

Au-delà de leur qualité artistique, ces clichés sont certainement les premiers témoignages modernes sur cette région visitée alors uniquement par de rares expéditions archéologiques : celles d’Edouard de Chavannes en 1902 et 1907 et du capitaine Henri d’Ollone en 1908. Joseph Skarbek va figer les dernières heures de l’empire chinois et les moments de vie de gens ordinaires suivant le rythme des saisons : costumes de fête pour la Nouvelle Année, scènes d’enterrement, théâtre villageois, fileuses de coton, égrenage du millet, marchands de tofu, perruquiers de rue ou restaurants ambulants.

Les 66 photographies exposées sont des agrandissements prêtés par la Bibliothèque Polonaise de Paris et réalisés à partir de la numérisation effectuée par l’Ecole Française d’Extrême Orient qui détient désormais les droits. Nous remercions ces deux institutions de leur gracieuse contribution.

Source:http://www.photographie.com/index.php?evtid=116276

Google's translation:

Joseph Skarbek, Polish origin, born November 21, 1879 in the Dordogne, where his father worked at consulting firm line railway Perigueux Riberac. When he loses father to seven years, his education was taken over by his two uncles who directed him towards the trade of railroad provide him or her passion for photography. He becomes a specialist in the construction of railroads and became an engineer.

In 1906 he was 26 years old when the French Society of Colonial Engineers asked him to depart three years in central China's Henan Province, between 1906 and 1909. Available to the Company of the Imperial Chinese Railways, he participated in the construction of the Kaifeng-Luoyang. The work he leads can uncover some archaeological sites of ancient Chinese civilization with Henan is the cradle. The railway linking Luoyang, several imperial capital, and Kaifeng, burgeoning trade hub since the end of the Tang Dynasty in the tenth century follows a route that follows the valley of the Yellow River, the region most-populated China. Zhengzhou City, located roughly halfway between Luoyang and Kaifeng, whose origin dates from the second millennium BC, is now the junction station between the two major railroads that intersect China from east to west and from north to south.

The segment of railway built by Joseph Skarbek and his colleagues are now at the heart of the Chinese railway network. These engineers have not only enabled the industrialization of the Yellow River valley but also the discovery of the remains of the long periods between Shang and Song. Joseph Skarbek is passionate outset for this region of China while unknown and culture. He relates a rich photographic documentation, including photos exhibited here are a selection. All were taken with their handset called "twin" type Mackenstein fixed chamber and shutter curtain for glass plates (size 9 12 cm, coated with an emulsion of gelatin-silver bromide).

Beyond their artistic quality, these photographs are certainly the first evidence that modern visited area then only by a few archaeological expeditions: those of Edward de Chavannes in 1902 and 1907 and Captain Henri Ollone in 1908. Joseph Skarbek will stabilize the final hours of the Chinese empire and the moments of life of ordinary people following the rhythm of the seasons festive attire for the New Year, scenes of burial, villagers stage, spinners of cotton ginning millet tofu shops, barbers and street food stalls.

The 66 photographs on display are enlargements loaned the Polish Library in Paris and made from the scan performed by the French School of Far East, which now owns the rights. We thank both institutions for their gracious contribution.


Entitled Chinese women in festive costume, Henan China [c1906] J Skarbek [RESTORED]. I removed obvious defects, adjusted contrast, and added a sepia tone (original is behind the spoiler).

According to Zenfolio's site, Skarbek's images of rural Henan are supposedly the earliest such photographic documentation for that region. Despite their mainly self serving purposes in China, one cannot deny that had Europeans not engaged China in such a fashion, many such photographs probably never would have been taken at all.
 

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The Sidney D. Gamble collection at Duke University continues to be a wealth of images that are both artistically compelling as well as providing a window into the past. It remains one of my personal favorites. Behind the spoiler, a short synopsis from the collections title page:

Sidney D. Gamble Photographs

From 1908 to 1932, Sidney Gamble (1890-1968) visited China four times, traveling throughout the country to collect data for social-economic surveys and to photograph urban and rural life, public events, architecture, religious statuary, and the countryside. A sociologist, renowned China scholar, and avid amateur photographer, Gamble used some of the pictures to illustrate his monographs. The Sidney D. Gamble Photographs digital collection marks the first comprehensive public presentation of this large body of work that includes photographs of Korea, Japan, Hawaii, San Francisco, and Russia. The site currently features photographs dated between 1917 and 1932; the 1908 photographs will be digitized and uploaded as part of future additions to the site.

Duke Writing 20, 2009: A Changing China through Photos

In spring 2009 two sections of Duke University's freshman writing class, Writing 20, used the University's on-line collection of photographs taken by Sidney Gamble as a window onto Republican China. Here we present captions developed by class members; these captions are intended to contextualize Gamble's photos in the dramatic changes that took place during this period.

Disclaimer The photograph captions are based on the handwritten and typed descriptions found on the original negative sleeves and believed to be the work of Sidney Gamble. The captions and photographs may contain language or stereotypes reflecting the cultural perspective of the era. This content is provided as part of the historical record and does not reflect the views of the Duke University Libraries.

Copyright and Citation The materials in this collection are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Texts and images from this collection may not be used for any commercial purpose without prior permission. Copyright in these images is held by Duke University Libraries and/or the heirs of Sidney D. Gamble. All rights are reserved, except as specified above. When use is made of these texts and images, it is the responsibility of the user to secure any necessary permissions and to observe the stated access policy, the laws of copyright, and the educational fair use guidelines. For permission from Duke University, insofar as Duke is able to give permission, please contact us.


Entitled: Jade Belt Bridge & boat, Summer Palace, taken on the grounds of the Summer Palace in Peking, China [c1924] SD Gamble [RESTORED] A few spots and other minor defects removed, contrast and tonal adjustments, with a final Sepia addition (original is behind the spoiler).

玉帶橋 or the Jade Belt Bridge (alternatively also known as the Camel Back Bridge) is probably the most famous of several bridges on the grounds of the old Qing Summer Palace. Thousands of contemporary tourist photos of it flood the net as its beauty remains timeless despite nearly two and a half centuries. Note, it should not be confused with the much older and longer Precious Belt Bridge, another span that was built during the Tang and restored in the Ming, that is located near Suzhou. According to Wiki:

The Jade Belt Bridge (simplified Chinese: 玉带桥; traditional Chinese: 玉帶橋; pinyin: Yù Dài Qiáo), also known as the Camel's Back Bridge, is an 18th century pedestrian Moon bridge located on the grounds of the Summer Palace in Beijing, China. It is famous for its distinctive tall thin single arch.

The Jade Belt Bridge is the most well-known of the six bridges on the western shore of Kunming Lake. It was erected in the years 1751 to 1764, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor, and was built in the style of the delicate bridges in the country-side of southern China. It is made from marble and other white stone. The ornate bridge railings are decorated with carvings of cranes and other animals. The clearance of the arch was chosen to accommodate the dragon boat of the Qianlong Emperor. As the Kunming Lake inlet to the neighboring Yu River, and when during special occasions, the emperors and empress and their dragon boat would specifically pass under this bridge.
Also within the collection, is a extraordinary and rare movie that Gamble and his companions took while in china. It is being hosted also on YouTube, and linked here (apologies to PRC viewers if YouTube is still blocked). The modern addition of a thematic soundtrack is rather banal. The moving images themselves bespeak loudly and IMHO, the music chosen is rather an annoying distraction. Still, the footage is a must see:

[video=youtube;RFtpjR6uYnI]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFtpjR6uYnI"[/video]

Part of the Sidney D. Gamble collection at Duke University Libraries:http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollec...
(Introductory text by The China Institute in NY):

Between 1924-1927, Sidney D. Gamble made three trips to Miao Feng Shan (Marvelous Peak Mountain), a popular Daoist pilgrimage site. Dedicated to the worship of the Goddess Bi Xia Yun Jun (Princess of the Clouds Before Dawn), the temple was located on a hill about 25 miles northwest of Beijing. Most worshippers made the arduous three-day journey in the spring. Pilgrims went either in groups organized by guilds or temple societies, or on their own as individual penitents. Although the primary purpose of the journey was religious, Gamble's visual record illustrates that these pilgrimages also served a lively social function. Upon his return to America, Gamble edited the footage shot on one of his trips into a short 16mm documentary. We have re-edited his film slightly, retaining his original titles, and adding music. In 1989, Pilgrimage to Miao Feng Shan was re-edited and a film score of traditional music arranged by Tan Dun was added. The film accompanied the first exhibit of Sidney Gamble's photographs China between Revolutions: The Sidney D. Gamble Photographs 1917-1932.
 

ralphrepo

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#74
Richard Nixon is widely acknowledged as being the first US president to visit China. However, he was only the first sitting US president to do so (that is, he visited China as an official part of his duties). Previous US presidents, both before and after serving in that office, had already beaten him to the punch. Eg. Herbert Hoover, before taking office, was in the foreign legation in Peking during the 1900 Boxer siege; while Ulysses S Grant, the 18th US President, visited China as a part of his world tour upon the completion of his second term.



This image has no title, and was likely taken by an anonymous Chinese photographer (at Qing government direction) in Tientsin, China [1879] during Ulysses S. Grant's visit there with notable Chinese Viceroy Li Hung Chang. [RESTORED] I cleaned up a few spots, adjusted contrast and added a sepia tone. The original can be seen behind the spoiler and is held by the Corbis Collection (another one of those greedy image houses that had laid commercial claim to history's photographs).

The image was originally devoid of any background, as it seem that it had been masked and then had its background stripped. This was often done as some photographic backgrounds were considered either too confusing to be reproduced faithfully in newsprint, or inappropriate for the story line (as decided by any random news editor) to be shown. Or, the original photo may have included minor underlings or servants that an editor wanted to eliminate. Grant undertook his world tour to drum up support after closing his second term in the wake of scandal. He was well received abroad, and in fact, was afforded a hero's welcome just about everywhere he went. While in China, Grant was asked to mediate competing land claims of the Ryukyu Islands between China and Japan.

A book entitled Grant's Tour Around The World written in 1880 by JF Packard, can be downloaded freely from Google Books ( 2 links: PDF or ePUB ). Behind the 2nd spoiler is a short excerpt, that includes the setting for what I believe to be for the taking of this photo:

Li-Hung-Chang strikes you at first by his stature, which would be unusual in a European, and was especially notable among his Chinese attendants, over whom he towered. He has a keen eye, a large head and wide forehead, and speaks with a quick, decisive manner. When he met the General he studied his face curiously, and seemed to show great pleasure, not merely the pleasure expressed in mere courtesy, but sincere gratification. Between the General and the Viceroy friendly relations grew up, and while in Tientsin they saw a great deal of each other. The Viceroy said at the first meeting that he did not care merely to look at General Grant or even to make his acquaintance, but to know him well and talk with him. As the Viceroy is known to be among the advanced school of Chinese statesmen, not afraid of railways and telegraphs, and anxious to strengthen and develop China by all the agencies of outside civilization, the General found a ground upon which they could meet and talk. The subject so near to the Viceroy's heart is one about which few men living are better informed than General Grant. During his stay in China, wherever the General has met Chinese statesmen, he has impressed upon them the necessity of developing their country and of doing it themselves. No man has ever visited China who has had the opportunities of seeing Chinese statesmen accorded to the General, and he has used these opportunities to urge China to throw open her barriers and be one in commerce and trade with the outer world.

The visit of the Viceroy to the General was returned next day in great pomp. There was a marine guard from the Ashuelot. We went to the viceregal palace in the Viceroy's yacht, and as we steamed up the river, every foot of ground, every spot on the junks, was covered with people. At the landing, troops were drawn up. A chair lined with yellow silk — such a chair as is only used by the Emperor — was awaiting the General. As far as the eye could reach the multitude stood expectant and gazing, and we went to the palace through a line of troops, who stood with arms at a present. Amid the firing of guns, the beating of gongs, our procession slowly marched to the palace-door. The Viceroy, surrounded by his mandarins and attendants, welcomed the General. At the close of the interview, the General and the Viceroy sat for a photograph. This picture Li-Hung-Chang wished to preserve as a memento of the General's visit, and it was taken in one of the palace-rooms. A day or two later there was a ceremonial dinner given in a temple. The hour was noon, and the Viceroy invited several guests to meet the General. Of Chinese there were several high officials. Among the Europeans were Judge Denny, Mr. Forrest, the British Consul; Mr. Dillon, the French Consul; Colonel Grant, the German and Russian Consuls, Mr. Detring, the Commissioner of Customs; Mr. Pethich, the Vice-Consul, Commander M. L. Johnson, commanding the Ashuelot, and the commander of the British gunboat the Frolic. The dinner was a stupendous, princely affair, containing all the best points of Chinese and European cookery, and, although the hour was noon, the afternoon had far gone when it came to an end.

Source: Grant's Tour Around The World, by JF Packard, 1880; Forshee & McMakin, Cincinnati, Ohio p711-713
More than 30 years later, remembering Grant's visit to China, and in one of the final official international acts of diplomacy by the Qing dynasty government, Rear Admiral Chin Pih Kwang of the Imperial Chinese navy, lands in New York City with a contingent of Chinese Navy "Blue Jackets" to lay a wreath at Grant's tomb (behind last spoiler):

 

ralphrepo

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#75
In one of China's oddest events, the European penchant for racing about the world once produced a contest that included the Qing Chinese capital as its starting point.

The Peking to Paris Race of 1907 was a spectacle for both Chinese and Europeans observers alike, and involved a distance of over 8000 miles. The prize was just one single bottle of Mumm's Champagne, not much in monetary terms, but obviously the winner will have had tremendous crowing rights. The idea initially sprang from a public challenge (behind 1st spoiler) issued by French newspaper Le Matin (1883-1944), with an initial response of 40 entries. However, it was thereafter officially canceled as only 5 teams were able to ship cars and appeared at the schedule start point in Peking. Nonetheless, the small group of viable contestants decided to run the race anyway, and the rest is storied history. Since then, there have been various reenactments of this special race, but none has yet retraced the exact route of the original.
...We ask this question of car manufacturese in France and abroad: Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Paris to Peking by automobile? Whoever he is, this tough and daring man, whose gallant car will have a dozen nations watching its progress, he will certainly deserve to have his name spoken as a byword in the four quarters of the earth...

Source: http://www.unmuseum.org/autorace.htm
http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x73/ralphrepo/PopularAsians/PekingToParisAutorace1907Image2edit.jpg

Entitled Peking to Paris Auto Race Peking, China [1907] attribution unknown [RESTORED] I removed spots and minor defects, cleaned the sky, adjusted contrast, and added a sepia tone. The original is behind the second spoiler, and is another commercially trapped image held by Corbis, one of the many stock image companies that have ripped off history to make their profits.

For anyone that wants to read a fascinating narrative and see other photographs about this extraordinary transcontinental event, you can freely download (from Google Books) a copy of:

Pekin to Paris: an account of
Prince Borghese's journey across two continents in a motor-car, 1908 written by Luigi Barzini (originally in Italian, translated into English), New York, Mitchel, Kennerley ( Links here: PDF or ePUB )

The race was hobbled by the total lack of infrastructure and poor almost nonexistent roads. All the vehicles had to be pulled over muddy obstacles and some were unable to even climb the steep hills, requiring Chinese laborers to be involved at almost every step. One team got lost in the Gobi Desert and nearly died. The race was ultimately won by Prince Borghese of Italy in 62 days. But even his team suffered what seemed to be insurmountable difficulties, as detailed in the above account. Behind the spoiler, an excerpt from the book:
The policeman had jumped down. He had not had our experience on the subject of old bridges, and was using his judgment with virgin common sense. He thought it necessary to observe cautiously, to get down into the torrent and look at the planks. He was saying to us : " Wait, wait," and was preparing to reconnoitre. . .

Prince Borghese gave the order to Ettore.

" Go on, slowly."

The car advanced on the planks, which trembled, cracked a little, swayed as so many others had done under the weight of our machine. We were not greatly alarmed. Yet during such crossings one always has an indefinable sense of suspense and expectation; one follows the progress of the machine intently, one concentrates upon it the whole force of one's thought, almost as though one could endue matter in its arduous task with the energies of mind, as if one could help, uphold, push, direct it by the powerful tension of one's own will. I do not remember that we ever exchanged a word at such times.

The front part of the car had already traversed more than half the bridge. It was drawing near to the inviting grassy bank on the other side. Every danger seemed over. . . . Suddenly we heard a frightful crash. The planks had given way under the weight of the hind part of our machine. They were sinking in, they were drawing us under, the whole bridge was opening out and crumbling. This collapse seemed to us, who were in the midst of it at that moment, almost like a cataclysm. The engine was silent. The car, at the same moment in which it stopped, fell in backwards with a sudden heavy movement, and knocked its body on the broken edges of the planks. Then, continuing its rotation with a continuity which made it impossible for us to grasp the situation, it raised its front wheels up in the air and plunged with its back towards the abyss, and, describing a huge see-sawing movement, took up a vertical position. In this manner it plunged deep into the torrent—to the very bottom of it—carrying all three of us down amid a terrible debris of broken, wrenched, smashed planks and beams. When it had reached such a depth that the main tank was in the water, it still did not stop, but continued its revolution upon itself and turned over. It would have fallen upon the seat, had it not been held up by a beam jutting out above it; and there it remained almost overturned, with its wheels up, and the top of the seat towards the ground, showing only its lamps and its radiator among the debris and the remains of smashed woodwork...

Source: Pekin to Paris: an account of Prince Borghese's journey across two continents in a motor-car, 1908, Luigi Barzini, New York, Mitchel, Kennerley, p 367.
 

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#77
Edward & Benjamin W. Kilburn of New Hampshire owned another one of the myriad number of Stereoview companies during the close of the 19th century. They were generally referred to and operated under the title of BW Kilburn Co., or as Kilburn Brothers. Amassing over 100.000 images (including some with many variations of one view site), they sustained a business from the 1860's until bought out by rival Keystone in 1909. Their products were principally focused on views of the United States (especially those of Yellowstone, or other natural surrounds). However, they are also credited with a collection that contained a substantial number of views from the Chinese interior.

http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x73/ralphrepo/PopularAsians/3c37104uedit004.jpg

Entitled The Wall of Peking guarded by the Russian artillery, Peking China [c1900] BW Kilburn Company [RESTORED] The image is from the right half of a stereoview card. I rotational corrected for a tilted horizon, increased the contrast, and added a sepia tone. The image was remarkably clean with very little spots or defects. The original is housed by the US Library of Congress under Reproduction Number LC-USZ62-137104, and can be seen under the first spoiler.

This is a fairly rare image as it shows Russian troops atop the walls of Peking. Most stereoviews images of the time unfortunately seemed to prefer capturing either American or British troops, and did not render records of other nationals to the same abundant degree.

During the close of the 1900 rebellion, the Russians (along with the Germans) reportedly were especially brutal and cruel during the post Boxer uprising mop up. They allegedly wildly raped women, killed almost every Chinese they encountered in villages determined as those of boxer sympathy, looted and then fired the homes of innocent locals. The Qing government, eager to placate the foreign powers that allowed it back onto the Forbidden City throne, literally went out of their way to provide official sanctions for these boxer "clean up" operations. Ultimately, it is suspected that thousands of innocent Chinese (along with perhaps a few hundred genuinely guilty boxers or opportunist criminals) were killed in the post rebellion period. Surprisingly, the most civil and relatively well behaved of the lot were the Japanese and the Americans.

In this photograph then, that Russian troops are on the Peking City walls calmly being photographed indicates that this picture was probably taken some time after the cessation of Boxer hostilities. Another confirmation comes from the consolidation of the various Russian artillery field pieces in close proximity on top of the wall. This reveals that they're being held in storage rather than actual deployment (where the expectation would be that they be spread out to facilitate quicker and smoother combat operations). Another indication is that the area seems to be "guarded" by a local, albeit only armed with an obsolete Gingal (also Jingal; a large cumbersome type of muzzle load musket), that generally needed two people to hold before it can be fired (see behind second spoiler).

From left to right: Japanese soldiers with captured Boxer Rebellion weapons including several gingals; hunter using gingal with young assistant; drawing demonstrating how to properly employ gingal for military use (drawing seems of modern origins); and showing how long the barrel lengths on gingals can be.
The image is that of a section of the Peking city fortifications. The greater part of the defensive wall was built in the mid 15th century. It had a length of 23.5 km, and bore a ground thickness of approximately 20 meters (inclusive of the counterforts). Its height reached 15 meters and it had a top thickness of 12 meters. It had nine inner (Tartar) city gates, with an additional seven for the outer (native) city; the Imperial City was ensconced within middle of the Tartar city, and finally the Forbidden City was nested within the Imperial City. Its outer perimeter is fully surrounded by a shallow moat. The outer wall had stood for over half a millennium. It was mostly removed in 1965 for urban renewal projects by Beijing authorities. Unfortunately, today there is very little that remains of the actual wall. (Map is behind third spoiler).
The photograph seems to have been recorded from inside of one of the towers, another being seen in the receding distance. At the bottom left is also the open doorless gate of a ramp providing access up to the wall. A similar gated ramp is also seen in the distance below the left of the wall. On the first buttressing counterfort, a group of pitched tents are seen. In the mid ground are three unadorned flag poles.

***Sidebar*** Vegetation easily grew on old Chinese fortress walls as wind scattered seeds commonly lodged into cracks and crevices. Additionally, these walls were typically only simple tamped earth structures covered by a hard brick or stone shell. Successive rains would saturate the earth, while the outer brickwork would prevent easy evaporation. This ensured that the earth within would remain a perpetually favorable and receptive environment for the propagation of roots. Unattended structures of this kind would quickly became overrun by foliage in a short number of years.
 

ralphrepo

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#78
Another interesting image from the Thomas C Chamberlin permanent collection held at Beloit College.

http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x73/ralphrepo/PopularAsians/LaborFactionFightsEdit002.jpg


Entitled Fight between labor factions at Kia Ting China APR [1909] TC Chamberlin [RESTORED] I cleaned up obvious spots and defects, added contrast, adjusted the tonal quality and added a sepia. The original can be seen behind the spoiler, or at TC Chamberlin's collection via this LINK.

I found this image noteworthy, as it is probably the first that I've seen of turn of the 20th Century violent Chinese labor unrest. It's one thing to read in a history book about workers being unhappy. It's quite another to see them going at each other's throats. Many laborers formed cliques in order to collectively protect similar interests. When one group got the better deal, it is easy to understand how such tensions resulted in physical altercation and violence. Western photographers typcially photographed pleasant scenery or views of grandeur. It is indeed rare to see that a westerner thought enough of Chinese labor anger to quickly take a photographic record of it. Given the unwieldy technology of the times, this was a seredipitous and impressive shot.

***Sidebar*** From the Romanization of Kia Ting, I haven't been able to figure out exactly where that is. If anyone has a better clue please give me an idea. TIA ;)
 

ralphrepo

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#79
Herbert Clarence White was one of a pair of missionary brothers that had visited and worked in China. While there, he produced a wonderful volume of photographs that were then published in a 1927 book collection entitled Peking the Beautiful (cover behind first spoiler). A copy of this rare volume is held by the New York Public Library collection, and can be seen in their online digital gallery. http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x73/ralphrepo/PopularAsians/090918TheMeridianGateEntranceToTheF.jpg


Entitled The Meridian Gate Entrance to the Forbidden City Peking China [1927] HC White [RESTORED] Spot and minor defect corrections, contrast and tonal adjustments were made to visually enhance image. Original is behind spoiler or can be seen at the NYPL Digital Gallery (linked above).

This has always been one of my favorite Forbidden City photographs. To me, the gentle chiaroscuro in the image exemplifies the quiet grace of Chinese culture, but at the same time, testifies also to the formidable strength and endurance of the Chinese spirit; a truly timeless image.

Built in the early 1400's the Forbidden City served as the imperial palaces of both the Ming and Qing Dynasties. After the end of the Chinese monarchy and in the early years of republican China, the entire Forbidden City was declared a national museum. During the Chinese civil war, many of its treasures were removed by Chinese nationalists to Taiwan for safeguarding, where they remain to this day (National Palace Museum of Taipei). It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. It is probably one of the world's best known monuments and is a favorite destination for tourists, Chinese and foreign alike. Its intense popularity remains a double edged sword though, as the high volume of visitors and commercialization of the site unfortunately also endangers it. Several years ago, a Starbuck's Coffee franchise was removed from its grounds after public outcry.

Several related PA Threads of interest for those that want to learn more about the Forbidden City and the Chinese Emperors. All threads have links to very informative Youtube videos, either in English or with English subtitles:

The Forbidden City
Chinese Emperors Across The Ages

China in Years Gone By
 

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#80
Dr Charles-Édouard Hocquard was a French military medical officer assigned to the Tonkin Annam area during the Sino-French war of 1884-1885. He witnessed many of the battles when French forces fought against native Tonkinese and their Chinese allies. He was also a photographer of stellar ability, rendering hundreds of images that allows a modern viewer a serious and detailed look into the past of that region, what is known today as the northern part of Vietnam (at the time, that area belonged to the Chinese and was coveted by the French for their colonial expansion). Not only did Doctor Hocquard concern himself photographically with French military and medical matters, he astutely and meticulously recorded the lives and social matters of the locals. He also authored one of the first serious French titles into the lives of the inhabitants there. His work, entitled War and Peace in Hanoi and Tonkin: A Field Report of the Franco-Chinese War and on Customs and Beliefs of the Vietnamese (1884-1885) (available free on Google Books but in French) was recently translated into English.

http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x73/ralphrepo/PopularAsians/Image1edit003.jpg


Entitled Soldat regulier chinois [c1884] CE Hocquard [RESTORED] The image is also often referred to as Black Flag Soldier. It was taken within an unrecorded location of the Tonkin region. I removed spots and minor defects, adjusted tone and contrast. The original is behind the spoiler and can also be seen at page linked to the title.

During the Sino-French war of 1884-1885, French military forces fought against the local Tonkinese and their Chinese allies. Liu Yongfu 劉永福, a Hakka Chinese, at the fall of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom 太平天國, took remnants of defeated Taiping forces from Guangxi China and fled across the Qing border into Tonkin 東京, the uppermost province of Annam 安南 (meaning pacified south, what we know of today as the northern part of Vietnam). Annam was a vassal state to the Qing; many Chinese however, at the time flatly considered Annam to simply be the southern most province of China.

After many years on the run as a bandit force, Liu Yongfu eventually consolidated his forces into what was then known as the Black Flag Army, conscripting mostly from the Zhuang people (presently recognized by the PRC as an ethnic minority of the Guangxi and Yunnan regions). Supposedly, the Black Flag Army got its name because of Liu's preference for using black command flags to signal his units. The Black Flag Army was notoriously brutal and fought the French successfully on multiple occasions, and had initially received the backing of the Empress dowager (since she needed any help she could get in the Chinese attempt to drive out the French). Over the course of the war, French and Chinese backed forces fought to a standstill. However, after the resounding defeat of Chinese naval forces in the Battle of Foochow, and the French capture of Formosa, the Qing eventually decided to cede Annam to the French as Chinese fears of Japanese expansionism was more profound (the imperial government feared that a protracted engagement with the French would drain resources and weaken their readiness to stand against Japanese colonial intent, especially in regards to Korea). Under a negotiated peace, Formosa was returned to China and Annam was given to the French. The Black flags were thus ordered disbanded. Many black flag soldiers reverted back to simple banditry. Liu Yongfu returned to China, where he received a military appointment in Guangdong under the Qing government.

In the photo above, the picture is often labeled as Black Flag Soldier. I personally doubt that any Black Flag or Chinese soldier would have easily obliged the French photographer by posing for a picture. Note, there seems to be another flag staff laying on the ground to the right background. I suspect that these were really captured items and Hocquard used them as props or illustrations.
 
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