"But first, ...thirty stokes with the big paddle!!!" is often heard on Chinese period dramas, ostensibly depicting how the Qing courts of yesteryear meted out punishment, or how judges "encourage" a criminal to confess. Bastinado(also Bastinade) is the whipping, flogging, paddling, or caning of a person's feet, legs, or buttocks while they're held supine on the ground, or face down across a punishment rack. This was but one of the many corporal punishment techniques that the Qing routinely dealt out in order to maintain civil obedience.
Entitled Chinese punishment whipping a lawbreaker [c1900] Attribution Unknown [RESTORED]. The photograph was cleaned of defects, and had contrast and tone adjusted. The original is behind the spoiler. It was found on Corbis, one of the commerical stock house online catalogs that has been hoarding history.
The Bastinadoist(ie the one who delivers the repeated blows) is someone who is specially trained to inflict slow but grinding punishment, even up to the point of death after many hours of torturous paddling. The technique was readily described and amply pictured in various prints that detailed Chinese culture to Europeans. Examples are behind the second spoiler:
The first picture appeared in a book entitled The Punishments of China, a book of 22 engravings printed in 1804; the second is entitled Punishment of the Bastinado and appeared in Thomas Allom's China, Its Scenery, Architecture, Social Habits &c Illustrated, published in 1859
Emil Rusfeldt was considered a member of the second wave of western photographers whose photographs of China have been said to represent the embodiment of that era (his compatriots were William Saunders and John Thomson). Working out of a studio called the Hong Kong Photographic Rooms (a sort of historic way station for many of those noteworthy China photographers), Rusfeldt produced a wide ranging record of those times.
Entitled Flower Boats Canton [c1871-1874] E Rusfeldt [RESTORED] I did the usual spot and defect removal, tonal and contrast adjustments, with a final Sepia tone. The original is behind the spoiler.
I found this pic on a personal Flickr page. The page owner, someone named Etherflyer, had apparently scanned the image from a book called Imperial China: Photographs 1850 - 1912. The picture shows several of the many Flower Boats that had stationed themselves in the waters of old Canton. A euphemistic term for bordello, these were essentially floating houses of prostitution that offered up dinner, music, and carnal entertainment along the banks of the many rivers that coursed through Canton. At one point thousands of these ornate, palatial boats prospered in that busy port city. Other works that documents the trade are behind the second spoiler:
"...The sampan sellers provided all sorts of other services, too. Barbers served both the Chinese and Westerners. Many boats provided coal, charcoal, and firewood for fuel, while others specialized in ships’ supplies. Many others raised ducks on nearby farms and supplied eggs and duck meat to the ships. The “flower boats,” or floating brothels, were also a conspicuous sight in the harbor. The women on the boats lived in near slavery to their procurers, who could be hong merchants or compradors who paid off the officials to allow the trade. Even though it was illegal for women to enter the factories, compradors could smuggle them in secretly.
The flag on the colorful boat in front says “Heavenly Women,” indicating that it is a “flower boat” or floating brothel. The prominent Anglican church and the American steamship Spark, owned by Russell and Co., are lined up behind it. Chinese officials banned Western women from the factory quarters, but several did arrange secret visits. Meanwhile, the foreign and Chinese men found many women to serve their needs in the harbor..."
“Loading Tea at Canton,” ca. 1852 by Tinqua
Peabody Essex Museum [cwC_1852c_E83553]
Entitled A Street of "Flower Boats," places of Amusement and Debauchery, Canton [c1910] Underwood & Co.
Stereoview shot of Flower boats anchored together, forming a street that customers could then walk from boat to boat. In addition to the Flower boats, small boats and floats of various kinds, involved in a variety of trades, were often lashed or anchored closely together. This claustrophobic closeness of quarters portended disaster, attested to by a passage in the Memoirs of Robert Dollar  WS Van Cott & Co., San Francisco, Pg 122. In it, he writes:
A few days before our arrival in Canton there had been a disastrous fire in what are called the "Flower Boats," which are used as places of ill repute. There are a great number of them made fast in rows about fifty feet apart, extending out into the water about two hundred feet. The boats are broadside on the shore and each row is made fast, side by side, the whole secured by chains and anchored at the outer side to keep them in position. A lamp exploded in one of them near the shore and the fire speedily spread. first along the shore then out, so that the inmates had the choice of being burned or drowned. It was reported that six hundred girls and two hundred men lost their lives, but the bodies recovered exceeded one thousand. Strange to say. the police prevented any one going to the rescue and the victims died like rats in a trap.
No place in the world has as many boats as Canton. The number of people living in them is estimated now at seven hundred and fifty thousand. In the evening there is a solid mass of them about two hundred feet wide and six or seven miles long. Every small boat has one family at least living on it, and the large ones have several. Each family averages four children. The boats are their homes, and they make their living by carrying passengers and freight of all kinds. A great many of the boats are stern wheelers, the motive power being men on a tread mill. They run from twelve to. forty men propelling each boat, and they seem to make seven or eight miles an hour. The river is so crowded with boats of all kinds and descriptions that it is with great difficulty a stranger can navigate through them, but like people in a crowded city street the natives get on without many mixups...
And finally, some postcards of Flower Boats, found onChina Postcard's fabulous Flickr site. This generous netizen has a uploaded a tremendous set of China related period postcards, many of which are rarely seen elsewhere. If you have time please check out his fantastic collection.
Here's another John Thomson classic (albeit with extensive restoration), found again within Wellcome's fantastic collection of his work. Thomson has continued to enthrall people after a century; his work has recently returned to China, where many Chinese for the first time are seeing the essence of their forebears through his eternal artistry.
Entitled (Front View) Example Of A Coiffure On A Tartar Or Manchu Female, who is wearing a long sleeved quilted garment. The hair is wrapped around a flat strip of wood. Peking, Pechili Province, China  JThomson [RESTORED] Extensive repair work to the sleeves and face, the background was simply stripped, adjustments in contrast and tonality.
This girl actually appeared in several of Thomson's pictures. It was apparent that he spent some time in photographing a team of Manchu models both in their natural surrounds and in front of a portable backdrop. In essence my personal suspicion is that his process was remarkably similar to a modern day photo shoot. Of course, he didn't have electronic flashes or digital film, but instead had to look under a dark cloth at an upside down reversed image on dim matte glass plate. Photography in those days was genuinely a monumental undertaking.
Larry Burrows was a Life Magazine photographer who quite literally gave his life to his work. While on assignment covering the south east Asian conflict, his helicopter was shot down in Laos in 1971 and he (along with several other journalists) was killed. In 2008 scant remains found at the crash site (discovered in 1998 by a US remains recovery team working in Laos) were collectively interred at the Newseum in Washington DC. It is uncertain whether the remains actually belonged to Burrows, his companions, or to the seven South Vietnamese soldiers or crew of the ARVN helicopter (see first spoiler).
War photojournalists to be interred at Newseum By Richard Pyle - The Associated Press Posted : Tuesday Apr 1, 2008 17:01:08 EDT
NEW YORK — Ten years ago this week, a U.S. military search team digging into a steep mountainside in southern Laos found camera parts, film, broken watches and bits of wreckage — proof that a South Vietnamese helicopter had been shot down there in 1971, a UH-1 Huey that was carrying four top-rated war photographers and seven Vietnamese soldiers. Only scant traces of human remains were found, but a sealed capsule containing those remains finally is about to be interred in a place of honor. On Thursday, family members, diplomats from five countries and aging veterans of the wartime Saigon press corps will dedicate the capsule at the Newseum, a $439 million Washington, D.C., museum devoted to the history and practice of journalism. The unusual burial comes a day before the formal dedication of the Newseum’s Journalists Memorial gallery, a special showcase of sacrifice in the glass-walled edifice near the U.S. Capitol.
At the Associated Press bureau in Saigon on Feb. 10, 1971, I received the first report over a shaky military phone line that four photojournalists had been shot down in a helicopter in Laos, with no apparent chance of survival. The news was shattering. They were the AP’s own Henri Huet, 43; Larry Burrows, 44, of Life magazine; Kent Potter, 23, of United Press International, and Keisaburo Shimamoto, 34, a freelancer working for Newsweek. The toll of dead and missing Vietnam war correspondents already stood at 50 and would reach 74 at the war’s end in 1975 — the most news media casualties of any conflict in the 20th century. It wasn’t the first multiple loss for the Saigon press corps, but the deaths of four of its most respected members at once was an almost incomprehensible blow, even for journalists who understood the hazards of war.
Burrows, a tall, gaunt Londoner, was widely considered the war’s premier photojournalist, producing dramatic camera essays for Life, although he liked to say he preferred taking pictures in quiet art museums. Huet, born in Vietnam of a French father and Vietnamese mother and raised in France, had made the war his metier, spending more time in combat than many troops. Like Burrows, he had won the prestigious Robert Capa award, for “superlative photography requiring exceptional courage and enterprise.” He also was the most popular member of the AP’s Saigon staff. Potter, who had distressed his Philadelphia Quaker family by opting to become a war photographer, was the youngest-ever member of the Saigon press corps when he arrived in 1968 — brash, ambitious and already recognized as a promising talent. Shimamoto, born into a Japanese journalist’s family in pre-World War II Seoul, was a seasoned freelancer, in and out of Vietnam since 1965. “He had that in his blood,” said his older brother, Kenro, a former foreign correspondent.
The four were covering Operation Lam Son 719, a massive armored invasion of Laos by South Vietnamese forces to interdict the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the jungle road network by which North Vietnam fed troops and weaponry to southern battlefields. Congress, mindful of political backlash from the previous year’s U.S.-Vietnamese incursion into Cambodia, restricted U.S. forces this time to an aerial support role. American officials, worried that compromised secrecy had set a stage for disaster, dredged up an obscure law barring civilians from crossing international borders on U.S. military aircraft. The combined effect was to deny journalists access to the battlefield for the first time in the war.
Thus Burrows, Huet and the others jumped at a chance to accompany the field commander, Lt. Gen. Hoang Xuan Lam, on a flying inspection tour of the Laos front. Dozens of other correspondents, camped out at the border, would have to wait for another day. Lam’s first stop at a hilltop artillery base went routinely. But on the second leg, his helicopter became separated from the other four, which then strayed into what U.S. officers later called the heaviest concentration of enemy air defenses ever seen in Indochina. Two of the four choppers took direct hits from the North Vietnamese guns and plunged into the jungle. The other two managed to escape. In Saigon, we realized immediately there was no chance of anyone reaching the crash site in such wild, hostile territory any time soon. But as AP’s bureau chief, I felt a special responsibility — and promised myself that if that ever became possible, I wanted to be the one to go there.
A solemn return
I couldn’t have known that 27 years later, AP colleague Horst Faas and I would stand on that hillside, watching experts from the U.S. Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command dig camera lenses from the ground and sift dirt through screens to find bits of human bone. In 1992, 17 years after the fall of Saigon, Washington had restored diplomatic relations with the communist governments of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, enabling the U.S. to begin searching in earnest for some 2,500 Americans still missing in Indochina.
Two years later, MIA investigator Bill Forsyth first learned of the Laos crash from James Newman, a former U.S. helicopter pilot who had seen it happen. Forsyth also was surprised to find an American name that was new to him. As the crash had no connection to U.S. military activity, Kent Potter was not among the 40-plus American civilians listed as missing in action. Based on Forsyth’s discovery, the incident became case No. 2062 on the joint command’s list of pending investigations. In 1996, after a series of failed tries, the crash site was located; the excavation followed two years later. Because of the passage of time, the traces of human remains that were unearthed — those now being dedicated in the Newseum capsule — could not be positively linked to any of the 11 people aboard the helicopter. But the Army’s Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii declared the case closed on the basis of “circumstantial group identification,” a common procedure in military air losses.
The next step was burial, and in 2003, JPAC proposed interment at the U.S. National Cemetery in Hawaii, where the grave of famed World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle offered a precedent. But that plan encountered obstacles, not least the priority demand for space for WWII veterans. It was then that the Newseum’s directors in Washington stepped forward, agreeing to inter the crash remains at the new Pennsylvania Avenue facility, then under construction as a successor to an Alexandria, Va.-based Newseum. They made arrangements with the Hawaii MIA command to legally acquire the remains.
It is not unknown for museums to house human remains. Prime examples include Les Invalides, the French army museum where Napoleon is interred, and the Smithsonian Institution, where a stone sarcophagus contains the bones of its founder, James Smithson. The latter is just across Washington’s Mall from the Newseum, which opens to the public April 11. Along with the four photographers, the Vietnamese soldiers who perished with them will be recognized at the ceremony: Col. Cao Khac Nhat; Lt. Col. Pham Vi; Sgt. Tu Vu; 2nd Lt. Le Trung Hai; 2nd Lt. Le Ue Tin; Sgt. Nguyen Hoang Anh, and one unknown. As with any eulogy of war correspondents, the question arises: Why did they go there in the first place? What induces men and women to risk their lives just to tell a story with a pen and notebook, or a camera? The answers may be as varied as the 1,843 names etched on the glass walls of the Newseum’s Journalists Memorial gallery, dating back to 1837: adventure, career opportunity, curiosity, camaraderie, or the noble idea of trying to discourage war by telling the world what it’s like. While we cannot ask the four who perished over Laos their reasons, we can say nobody understood the dangers better than they, yet nothing would have kept them from getting aboard that helicopter.
Entitled Wretched shacks of refugees from Red China, on a hillside above Hong Kong China  L Burrows [RESTORED] Very clean image, contrast and tonal adjustments, lightening the upper tier houses to create perceptual distance, and elimination of the bottom right logo. The original is behind the second spoiler or can be see at Life's Google link by clicking on the title.
A previous picture I had posted [ame="http://www.popularasians.com/forum/showpost.php?p=745740&postcount=46"](link)[/ame] in this thread attested to the human misery brought on by uncaring governments on both sides of the border during the April 1962 exodus from the PRC into Hong Kong. In this image, taken one month later, Life Magazine's Larry Burrows continued to follow and chronicle the lives of those refugees lucky enough not to have been turned back into China (which was undergoing a state induced famine at the time) but were consigned to a life of squalor at the margins of Hong Kong society.
thank you thank you. I have scan thru the pictures and the descriptions. I feel sad and happy at the same time looking at the pictures. Sad because Chinese ppl had gone thru so much and not enough information was there to tell our generation of the history behind China. Happy because I feel proud to be a Chinese and I can feel for the pictures as if I am there with them, pain or joy I can feel it with them. Thank you very much. Thumbs up to you and keep it up.
I really like the Chang Moo Gow story, 6 languages!!! really!?!?? I can't even handle 2
From a [ame="http://www.popularasians.com/forum/showpost.php?p=741347&postcount=40"]previously noted[/ame] private collection discovered on Picassa Web Albums(Google's free picture gallery) as hosted by generous netizen Joe. He has a collection of images that (from what information I could gather on his gallery), seems to have been taken by one I.E. Oberholtzer in or around the Liao Chow area of Shansi, (I suspect this may be modern day Liaozhou, Shanxi Province, but I'm having a bit of difficulty getting cross referenced confirmation), China, during the 1920-1930s. Once again, it is due to the dedication of private citizens that images which would otherwise be lost to history, is instead seen by all. This validates and burnishes that part (in this case, of a part of China), and makes indelible an isolated stitch in the fabric of time. Woven together with the contributions of others, that fabric becomes a tapestry that testifies to our collective history in a vital visual record. We all hold a debt of gratitude to the generosity of such net contributors.
Most people consider the China of today as a nation that has 5000 years of continuous unbroken history as one political entity; that is not so. As recent as a century ago, China was politically fractured akin to a nation say, like Pakistan, where the central government held political sway in name only. Genuine authority outside central urban areas resided in the hands of well financed individuals, called warlords, each armed with their own personal army.
Warlords held their positions by strength of the sword, and areas under their control were effective fiefdoms that the Chinese central government had little or no control over. At times, even central government commerce movement needed to tender road tariffs to these local governments before being allowed passage. These regional governments functioned by their own rules, often created at the whim of their leader. They fought not only with the government but with each other. Between the years of 1912 and the second world war, most people understand and remember the national struggle between the communists and the nationalists in China. In fact, the nationalist government was only in nominal control, with the communists being but one external factor, along with a variety of warlord cliques and subordinate factions that competed for overall supremacy in 8 major geographic areas. Opportunistic coalitions often formed to work either against, or with the Nationalist government; though allegiances were well acknowledged to be something ephemeral as parties easily traded loyalties according to their individual needs of the moment. Regional armies with fidelity to a local leader instead of a national government wasn't an entirely new concept to the Chinese of the times. In fact this was business as usual as far as Chinese history was concerned. During the monarchy, Qing standing regional Bannermen armies could likewise have been a template for the Warlord phenomenon. Each Banner was separate and distinct from the others and only loyal to themselves, and not to any idea of national government, per se. They fought for the throne because they were paid to. Thus, they were similar to mercenary armies at the service of the government
The Qing Bannermen standing armies, in theory, is not at all unlike present day Blackwell industries, which has deployed private armed fighters in combat zones around the world in their work for the US government. One has to wonder if the Talib or Al Qaeda paid better, would they then turn their guns on their flag? But that's a question for another day and another forum.
During this period of national crisis, Outer Mongolia, long a part of the Qing empire, (under strong Soviet influence) successfully broke free and became, de facto, independent from China in 1921 . The Chinese nationalists successfully kept Xinjiang and Xizang (aka Tibet) from breaking away, and were also successful in keeping most other nations from further colonizing what was essentially a broken and defenseless China.
The Warlord private armies in essence were regionally raised military militias that were privately trained. They were armed with a variety of western equipment and in one battle alone (Central Plains Battle of 1930, in which three warlords allied against the central Nationalist government), involved an estimated one million troops. These troops rode roughshod over the populace with impunity. They were notorious for robbing, raping, and pillaging everywhere they went. If they didn't have enough men to perform support functions (like build fortifications or carry away loot), they would gang impress local manpower as slave labor. They would often take whatever crops there were, and allowed the local population to subsist on starvation rations. As patronage mills, they allowed men of affluence to buy officer postings either for themselves or their sons, to serve as midlevel leaders within a warlord's army. The situation was so socially severe and dire that the populace hungered for relief and easily bought into the communist message of land ownership reform, equality of treatment, shared burden, and national defense. This helped set the stage for the mass support that Mao needed to overthrow the nationalists and take the country by force of arms.
Afong Lai was one of the rare breed of Chinese photographer whom was recognized by his European contemporaries as a professional equal. He was well thought of by the legendary John Thomson, who rated Afong's work of a caliber that would be successful even if offered to the English in London. As a Chinese working in what was then considered to be a strictly European field, Afong established and fostered contacts with many foreigners, allowing his work to be brought home by Europeans and thus to be seen abroad. For this reason, historic examples of his work survives to this day. He was active in and around the Guangdong area (then called Kwangtung), particularly in Hong Kong, where he ran one of the colony's longest working photographic studios, reportedly from 1859 through 1900.
Entitled Group Of Chinese Women With Fans, Canton China [c1880] Afong Lai [RESTORED] I evened out the background, darkened the entire print, added contrast and a sepia. The original is behind the spoiler.
Professionally, Afong Lai specialized in portraiture and landscapes, and was well known for his stitched panoramic views. Unfortunately, other than his technical and artistic achievements, little of his personal life was ever recorded. In fact, there is even question over his proper name; that is, was his surname Fong or Afong, or Ah Fong? I suspect that this arose from the lack of western linguistic appreciation for the Cantonese dialect. Cantonese speaking Chinese would immediately recognize the "Ah" preceding Fong as just a colloquialism (denoting intimacy or familiarity). This is similar to the "Lil" (a truncation of Little, in this case, used as a term of endearment or affection) that may precede a typical American name like Joe. However, most non Chinese observers of Fong's times did not intuitively understand this distinction, and mistakenly assumed his proper name to be Mister Ahfong. An English version of this mistake would be referring to someone as Mister Liljoe. Despite this mistake of not having his real name remembered, it nonetheless burnished Fong's undeniable place in history as one of the great photographers of late Qing China.
There has been considerable confusion in the published literature about this photographer and this has meant that he is frequently referred to as Lai Afong but this seems to be an error and photographs attributed to that name should be checked. On his printed stationary, carte de visite backmarks and photographs showing shop signs the name should be Afong but also Ah Fong, or A. Fong. I would welcome further information that clarifies this.
On the stationary, it is clear that the printed name in English is AFONG. However, what is often lost to the English reader is the Chinese text, which reads Fong Wah, likely an amalgam of the proprietor's own name into the title of his business enterprise. In this case, that would mean that the owner's surname is simply Fong. The letter "A" (for "ah") placed in front of the surname Fong (a typical Cantonese surname), likely reflected the Chinese colloquial term of affection or endearment, but more importantly, also the title that Europeans normally knew Mr Fong as. Hence, Mr Fong probably kept that in his official English title as it was how he was best known to his foreign customers. Had Mr Fong been European say, with a name like Thomson, local Chinese may have then referred to him as Ah Thomson. It would have then been obvious that the colloquial "ah" was not a part of Thomson's name.
In probably one of the most celebrated unsolved crime mysteries of the early 1900's, a suspicion of murder centered around a Chinese immigrant who then disappeared from New York City during the summer of 1909. What made the case a national sensation was the revelation that a white woman of solid upbringing and class background had an active romantic relationship with not just one, but two separate Chinese men. Law enforcement officials surmised that one had apparently become angry over his lover's attention to the other, and had strangled the girl in a fit of jealous rage. The woman, Elsie Sigel, had been involved in missionary work and also taught at a Sunday school which was attended by many Chinese.
Entitled House In Which Miss Sigel Was Killed New York City, USA [c1909] Attribution Unknown. There were so many defects with this picture that I didn't even bother to make any corrections. I added a sepia tone and left the rest as is.
The murder of young Elsie Sigel during the summer of 1909 captivated the country. Police departments throughout the Unites States joined the manhunt for her killer and subsequently saw guilt on every Chinese face they encountered. In the days that followed, newspapers from various cities across the nation repeatedly announced, "we got him" only to have their statements retracted when it was ultimately revealed that their police were holding the wrong man. An untold number of innocent Asian (both Chinese and Japanese) men were thus hauled in and subjected to sometimes brutal interrogation on the suspicion of being the hunted man, Leon Ling. Due to the Anti-Miscegenation laws of the time, it was considered illegal for a "Chinaman"1 to marry a white woman. Of course, white women who willingly chose to do that were generally suspected of being low in social bearing themselves (ie prostitutes, criminals, or backward, uneducated European immigrants). What made this case such a sensational spectacle was that Elsie Sigel was from a good, well off family with impeccable social credentials (her grandfather was a decorated Union general and war hero). Moreover, not only was she dallying with one immigrant "miscreant," but two. If that wasn't politically incorrect enough, it was revealed that the suspected murderer, Leon Ling (who had gone by several similar sounding names), wasn't the pig tailed asexual "celestial" coolie that was often depicted in racist anti-Chinese cartoons; he was shown to be a handsome Americanized smooth talking, English speaking, dapper paramour that also had a bevy of other white women easily at his beck and call. This was considered to be the height of social impropriety which, for that era, nearly akin to beastiality. Social researchers at the time ascribed the phenomena to many different reasons, all of which centered on the self harm that girls like Sigel unknowingly or unwittingly brought upon themselves. In other words, they were as much innocent and blameless as they were naive, and hence did not realize the danger that they put themselves in while generously doing the Lord's work in attempting to Christianize the Chinese. The Chinaman was often described as an experienced, sly and cunning opportunist, only too happy to have one of purity, a white woman, thus fall into his dirty lecherous hands (British author Sax Rohmer later capitalized on this anti-Chinese hysteria with his 1912 creation of the Fu Manchu character, which was rich in negative racial stereotype).
Ling was never caught. After reportedly sending a deceptive telegram and being seen attempting to dispose of a large trunk (in which Miss Sigel's body was to be later found), Ling vanished without a trace despite an extensive national search for him. Subsequently it was suggested that Ling escaped back to China, having been reportedly seen disembarking from a tramp steamer in Hong Kong. Thereafter, he supposedly returned to a life of farming but there was never any conclusive evidence for that. The case remains unresolved to this day.
Note: The above lists Elsie Sigel's age as 22 at the time of her murder. Review of most other historical sources states that she was 19 at the time of her death.
THE MURDER OF ELSIE SIGEL, GRANDDAUGHTER OF THE CIVIL WAR HERO, GENERAL FRANZ SIGEL, BY HER CHINESE ASSOCIATE.
Franz Sigel was born in Germany and as a young man he made a brilliant record as a soldier in the Baden revolution. Shortly afterward he came to New York where he soon became very popular, especially with the German-Americans. When the Civil War broke out, he was appointed Colonel, and many of the Germans who volunteered to fight, expressed a desire to fight with Sigel. In recognition of his distinguished services, he was promoted to the rank of Major General. After the war he became a prominent factor in New York politics, because of the high veneration the German citizens had for him. He served as Collector of Internal Revenue and later as a pension agent. He had four sons, named Rudolph, Robert, Franz and Paul. Rudolph was committed to the insane asylum in Washington in 1904. Robert was convicted of forgery while serving in the pension office under his father, but subsequently was pardoned by President Harrison. General Sigel died several years ago and a large statue of him was unveiled on Riverside Drive on October 19, 1907. Many of the leading citizens of New York attended the ceremony to do honor to one of the unique figures in American history. Paul Sigel married a lady who afterward took an active interest in missionary work in the Chinatown of New York.
Mrs. Sigel frequently took her daughter Elsie into the Chinese quarters and as the girl grew older she became greatly interested in the work. On June 9, 1909, Elsie, who was then 19 years of ago, disappeared from her father's home at 209Wadsworth avenue. Three days later, Mr. Sigel received a telegram from Washington, D. C, which read: "I'll be home by end of week. Don't worry. "ELSIE."
Leon Ling (aka Leong Lung, William Leon) in an undated photograph
On the afternoon of June 19, 1909, Sun Leung, the proprietor of a chop-suey restaurant located at 782 Eighth avenue, went to the West Forty-seventh Street police station and informed the officers that he was worried about his cousin, a young Chinese named Leong Lung, alias William Leon, who had been missing for six days. He explained that his cousin occupied a room on the top or fourth floor in the same building where the restaurant was located; that the door was locked and that after knocking repeatedly he received no response. Policeman John Riordan was detailed to accompany the Chinese to the room and institute an investigation. With the exception of a bed and a trunk bound with rope and evidently prepared for shipping, the room was vacant. After removing the rope the officer opened the trunk, where he found the almost nude body of a well-formed young woman. The body was doubled up and wrapped in a sheet. The woman had evidently been dead at least a week. Around the neck was a light cord similar to those attached to window shades. The body bore no marks of violence. Suspended from a thin gold chain, which was about the girl's neck, was a bangle, upon which was inscribed the letters "E. C. S." After a further search in the room a bracelet bearing the initials "E. L. S." was found.
A cousin of William Leon, named Joe Leon, stated that Elsie Sigel was William's sweetheart, and that he had seen them together at the theatre. Captain Carey of the Homicide Bureau was then notified of the discovery. He learned that this room and the one with which it communicated were occupied by William Leon and his friend Chong Sing, both of whom were known as "Americanized" and "Christianized" Chinese. Both men disappeared about the same time, and both could speak English fluently except when "no sabe talk" served their purpose better. Leon was a promoter of Chinese restaurants.
A detective was sent to the Sigel residence. At first the family denied that Elsie was missing, but finally stated that she was out of the city. Mr. Sigel was induced to view the remains. The police say that he' acted rather indifferently and that after looking at the remains and jewelry he failed to identify either. Mrs. Sigel, however, immediately identified the body as the remains of her daughter. She also identified the jewelry. The photographs of the two missing Chinese were published in the papers, and the press all over America devoted much space to the tragedy. On June 19, Mr. Harvey Kennedy of Amsterdam applied at an employment agency located at 38 West Twenty-ninth street for a cook, and he engaged a Chinaman giving the name of Ah Sing. The next day Kennedy saw the picture of Chong Sing in the paper, and he at once recognized it as the photograph of his new cook. The police were notified, and when the Chinese was taken into custody he reluctantly admitted that he was the party wanted although he denied being implicated in the murder.
For several months, William Leon lived at Sigel's house, when the family resided at No. 550 West One Hundred and Eighty-eighth street. On the evening of June 1, 1909, eight days before Elsie's disappearance, Leon called at the West One Hundred and Fifty-second Street police station and told Lieutenant McGrath that while living at Sigel's he had loaned Mrs. Sigel $300. He also stated that there had been a misunderstanding regarding the debt and as he wanted to go to the house for the sole purpose of getting some of his clothing, he desired an officer to accompany him, so that he would not be accused of going to create trouble. The request was complied with, and the Chinese obtained his clothes and left the house in a peaceable manner. A few days after the discovery of the body, Mr. Sigel made the following statement: "I know that William Leon and Chu Gain, who conducts the Port Arthur Restaurant, were in love with my daughter, and that Leon was insanely jealous. On the evening of June 8, there was a party at my house during my absence, and several Chinese were present. Leon came to the party drunk. He called Elsie to one side and told her that if she had anything to do with Chu Gain he would kill them both." When interrogated, Chu Gain stated that Leon had threatened to kill him and Elsie because of his attentions to her. He furthermore stated that about noon on June 9, Chong Sing called on him and stated that Leon would leave the city permanently if furnished with sufficient money for transportation. Believing that he could thus save his life, Chu Gain offered Chong Sing $260, all the money in the place, and the latter, who appeared to be greatly agitated, accepted the amount and hurried away. Chu Gain was arrested pending further investigation, but was subsequently released.
The following letter, which was evidently written after the party on the night of June 8, was found in Chu Gain's room: "June 8, 1909. "Mr. Chu Gain, Nos. 7-9 Mott streeet: My Dear Friend—I don't want you to feel badly because Willie was here to-night. You know that I love you, and you only, and always will. Don't mind Willie. Although he is nothing to me now, I had to see him last night. I did not send for him. Your ever loving 'ELSIE'."
In the room where the murdered girl's body was found, the following letter was also discovered: "My Dear Willie—I am writing this letter while mother is away from home. She would not let me if she knew about it. Don't think, Willie, that I will ever give you up. I will always remember the good times we have had together. Please let me know if I can see you soon and how. With love, 'ELSIE'."
Chong Sing made several statements to Captain Carey, giving a little additional information each time. The following is the substance of his different statements: "About 10:30 on the morning of June 9, Elsie Sigel called to see Leon for the purpose of reprimanding him for his conduct at the party on the previous evening and also to notify him not to call at the house any more. I was downstairs and she went up to the rooms. After a while I went upstairs and when I went into one of our rooms I heard a noise in the other room. The door was slightly ajar and I looked through and saw Leon and Elsie struggling. I saw blood on her face and I also saw a handkerchief up to her mouth. Elsie was thrown on the bed and lay motionless while Leon ripped off her clothing. He then covered her body with bed clothing and went to the closet and pulled out a trunk. I went into the room at this time and felt the girl's hand, and Leon said she was dead. I said it was dirty work and that I was going away. I gave him $200 of my money and I then extorted $260 from Chu Gain which I also gave him. I saw him put the body in the trunk. I stayed at my cousin's house after the murder." At the conclusion of the examination of Chong Sing he was held as a material witness under $10,000 bail. It was ascertained that a Chinese of Leon's description sent the telegram from Washington to Mr. Sigel on June 11.
Within an hour after the murder, Leon began to make frantic efforts to dispose of the trunk. About 1 p. m. he appeared at the office of the Constitution Express Company, located at 717 Eighth avenue, and engaged Driver Arthur Logan to remove the trunk to a laundry at No. 370 West One Hundred and Twenty-sixth street, where a Chinese named Wah Kee signed for the trunk and paid the expressage. At midnight Leon engaged Martin Lauria, a chauffeur, residing at 310 East Fourth street, to convey him to the laundry in a taxicab. Leon then had two other Chinamen bring the trunk out and after it was tied to the seat by the driver, Leon instructed Lauria to convey him and the trunk to a Chinese restaurant conducted by Li Sing at 64 Market street, Newark. They arrived at the restaurant about 1 a. m. Leon asked that the trunk be left there indefinitely, but as Li Sing refused, Leon returned that afternoon with James Halstead, a cabman, residing at 18 Plum street, Newark, and the trunk was returned to the room where the murder was committed and where it remained until opened by the police. It was the theory of Inspector McCafferty that Elsie's clothing was burned in the stove in Leon's room. On September 24, 1909, the Coroner's jury rendered the following verdict: "That the said Elsie J. Sigel came to her death on the 9th day of June, 1909, at 782 Eighth avenue, by asphyxiation, inflicted at the time and place aforesaid at the hands of Leong Lung, alias William Leon." As there was not sufficient evidence produced to justify the holding of Chong Sing, he was released after the verdict was rendered. Notwithstanding the fact that all the leading papers in America and Canada published good pictures of Leon and for many days devoted columns to the case; that the police from the Atlantic to the Pacific made extraordinary efforts to apprehend him, and all ships upon which he could possibly have sailed were carefully searched, no trace of the murderer was ever found.
Source: Celebrated criminal cases of America, By Thomas Samuel Duke; JHBarry Co, San Francisco, Calif 1910, Pgs 652-657(Download link: PDF or ePUB)
...what could only be described as ghoulish commercialism; bordering on the macabre and tasteless at best, the cycle store (Tiger Cycle Works Company) seen in the picture on the ground floor, actually takes out advertising using the murder's notoriety in attempting to shill for business:
Source: Motorcycle Illustrated Volume 4, Number 15, August 01, 1909, Pg 46(Download Link: PDF)
Interestingly, the Chinese Empire Reform Association(of which Ling was a member), at the time was one of the most politically powerful overseas Chinese organizations with chapters in just about every major city around the world where there were Chinese in any large numbers. My personal suspicion is that Ling used his contacts within that organization to ultimately engineer an escape back to China.
1. Now generally viewed as an anti-Chinese or racist derogatory term, but at the turn of the 20th century was not considered to be insulting.
Another offering from Herbert George Ponting, whose iconic photographs of late Qing China were often uncredited or attributed (under work for hire rules) instead to his various employers. Ponting eventually gained fame when he undertook a 1910 trip to the Antarctic as expedition photographer for the famed explorer Robert F. Scottcompiling in excess of an amazing 1700 glass photographic plates. Ponting narrowly escaped doom as he returned from the Antarctic a few months before Scott's party met with a horrible end; weak from starvation with no way to get supplies, they were ultimately found frozen to death.
Curiously, Ponting, a British transplant to America in his twenties, had only taken up free lance photography after an unsuccessful venture in California fruit ranching threatened financial ruin. He traveled through Asia, and was later credited with an extensive amount of image work during the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War in Manchuria.
Entitled The Great Wall of China at the Nankou Pass, 50 miles from Peking, China  H Ponting. [RESTORED] I repaired spots and small defects, adjusted contrast, tonality, and adding a sepia tone. The original is behind the spoiler.
Ponting's placement of a person (or in this case, persons) somewhere in the foreground was a de rigueur photographic technique of the day. It was done primarily to add a human element and to provide a sense of scale to the scene. Additionally, this is only the right half of the picture. The entire photograph, which is almost twice the size (and twice as good) of what is shown can only be see by giving money to one of those "keepers of history" organizations. The real picture is unfortunately hoarded and kept by the Royal Geographical Society in the UK.
As you can see from this free, but low res image available from the RGS, the actual image entails a tremendous amount of additional information, especially of the wall winding towards the mountains into the distance. Of course, if you want the whole image, you would have to pay money for it as it is kept by those self appointed guardians of our past; museums or historical societies that "copyright" everything in their possession in order to "safeguard" it for our future. And meanwhile, nobody gets to see their history. Great job, RGS!
The Great Wall of China 萬里長城 is a misnomer (at least in its English translation, the Chinese meaning is more along the lines of "ten thousand Li long city"). It would be more accurate to describe it as the Great Walls of China, as they are the remnants from a historic series of stone and earthen barriers. Erected throughout northern China, they were mostly built and revised over two thousand years between the 5th century BC and the 16th century. Origins of each wall section from various times were contingent upon their political and military needs in accordance to their dynastic periods.
The oldest, original walls were constructed for the purposes of protecting against Xiongnu nomadic incursions into the areas occupied by the various disparate states that were to later form China. After the Qin consolidation, these separate structures were then integrated into an almost continuous whole, mostly using rammed earth structures. Unfortunately, little of that wall actually exists today. The majority of the wall that still remains (ie the one that we have generally come to know) was built during the Ming dynasty, which relied more heavily on integration of brick and masonry work. History, legends and myths about the Great Wall abound. In the last hundred year or so, industrialization and modernization of the areas which the wall passes through has endangered it as entire sections were destroyed to reclaim construction materials. Other sections were refurbished, in some cases rebuilt using modern engineering, and have seen heavy use as tourist attractions; still others have been entirely overgrown or reclaimed by nature. Reportedly, less than 30 percent of the wall remains intact. Nevertheless, it is considered to be one of the most important historic constructions of man and specific parts of it was listed since 1987 as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The present wall starts from Shanhaiguan, dipping into the Bohai Sea in the east, and ends at Xinjiang's Lop Nur in the west, following along the southern border of the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia. The most comprehensive survey to date has determined that the wall as currently recognized covers a distance of 8,851.8 km (or 5,500.3 miles), consisting of 6,259.6 km (3,889.5 miles) actual wall, combined with various other structures like trenches and natural defensive barriers of impassable hills and rivers. Contrary to popular myth, you cannot see the wall from outer space or the moon.
...The story of the faithful wife whose loving devotion to her husband so moved the Heavens that the wall itself was forced to give up his dead body for her to properly mourn:
Seeking Her Husband at the Great Wall
A Han Folktale
A little over two hundred years before our era, the first emperor of the Chin dynasty ascended the throne under the name of Shih Huang. This emperor was very cruel towards his subjects, forcing people from every part of the country to come and build the Great Wall to protect his empire. Work never stopped, day or night, with the people carrying heavy loads of earth and bricks under the overseers' whips, lashes, and curses. They received very little food; the clothes they wore were threadbare. So it was scarcely to be wondered at that large numbers of them died every day.
There was a young man, named Wan Hsi-liang, among those who had been pressed into the service of building Emperor Shih Huang's Great Wall. This Wan Hsi-liang had a beautiful and virtuous wife, whose name was Meng Chiang-nu. For a long, long time after her husband was forced to leave her, Meng Chiang-nu had no news of him, and it saddened her to think what he must be suffering, toiling for the accursed emperor. Her hatred of the wicked ruler grew apace with her longing for the husband he had torn from her side. One spring, when the flowers were in bloom and the trees budding, when the grass was a lush green, and the swallows were flying in pairs in the sky, her sorrow seemed to deepen as she walked in the fields, so she sang:
In March the peach is blossom-dressed;
Swallows, mating, build their nest.
Two by two they gaily fly....
Left all alone, how sad am I!
But even when autumn came round, there still was no news about Wan Hsi-liang. It was rumored that the Great Wall was in building somewhere way up north where it was so cold that one would hardly dare stick one's hands out of one's sleeves. When Meng Chiang-nu heard this, she hurriedly made cotton-padded clothes and shoes for her husband. But who should take these to him when it was such a long way to the Great Wall? Pondering the matter over and over, she finally decided she would take the clothes and shoes to Wan Hsi-liang herself. It was rather cold when she started out. The leaves had fallen from the trees and, as the harvest had been gathered in, the fields were empty and forlornly dismal. It was very lonely for Meng Chiang-nu to walk all by herself, especially since she had never been away from home in her life, and did not know the way and had to ask for directions every now and then.One evening she failed to reach a town she was going to, so she put up for the night in a little temple in a grove beside the road. Having walked the whole day, she was very tired and fell asleep as soon as she lay down on a stone table. She dreamed her husband was coming towards her, and a feeling of great happiness enveloped her. But then he told her that he had died, and she cried bitterly. When she woke up in the morning, she was overwhelmed by doubts and sadness as she remembered this dream. With curses on the emperor who had torn so many families asunder, Meng Chiang-nu continued on her way.
One day, she came to a small inn by the side of the hilly road. The inn was kept by an old woman who, when she saw Meng Chiang-nu's hot face and dusty clothes, asked where she was going. When Meng Chiang-nu told her, she was deeply moved. "Aya!" she sighed, "the Great Wall is still far away from here, there are mountains and rivers to cross before you. How can a weak young woman like yourself get there?" But Meng Chiang-nu told the old woman she was determined to get the clothes and shoes to her husband, no matter what the difficulty. The old woman was as much touched by the younger one's willpower as she was concerned about her safety. The next day she accompanied Meng Chiang-nu over a distance to show her sympathy. And so, Meng Chiang-nu walked on and on and on till, one day, she came to a deep valley between the mountains. The sky was overcast with gray clouds, a strong wind was blowing that chilled the air. She walked quite a long time through the valley without, however, finding a single house. All she could see were weeds, brambles and rocks. It was getting so dark that she could no longer see the road. At the foot of the mountains there was a river, running with water of a murky color. Where should she go? Being at her wit's end, she decided to spend the night among some bushes. As she had not eaten anything for the whole day, she shivered all the more violently in the cold. Thinking of how her husband must be suffering in this icy cold weather, her heart contracted with a pain as sharp as a knife. When Meng Chiang-nu opened her eyes the next morning, she found to her amazement the whole valley and her own body covered with a blanket of snow. How was she to continue her travel?
While she was still quite at a loss as to what to do, a crow suddenly alighted before her. It cawed twice and flew on a short distance, then sat down again in front of her and cawed again twice. Meng Chiang-nu decided that the bird was inviting her to follow its direction and so she resumed her travel, a little cheered because of the company of this living thing, and she began to sing as she walked along:
Thick and fast swirl round the winter snows:
I, Meng Chiang-nu, trudge, bearing winter clothes,
A starveling crow, alas, my only guide,
The Great Wall far, and I far from his side!
Thus she walked past mountain ranges, crossing big rivers as well as small streams. And thus many a dreary day had passed before she at last reached the Great Wall. How excited she was when she caught sight of it, meandering like a huge serpent over the mountains before her. The wind was piercingly cold and the bare mountains were covered with dry grass only, without a single tree anywhere.
Clusters of people were huddling against the Great Wall; these were the people who had been driven here to build it. Meng Chiang-nu walked along the Great Wall, trying to find her husband among those who were toiling here. She asked after her husband, but nobody knew anything about him, so she had to go on and on inquiring.... She saw what sallow faces the toilers had, their cheekbones protruding through the skin, and she saw many dead lying about, without anybody paying any attention. Her anguish over her husband's unknown fate increased, so that she shed many bitter tears as she continued her search.
At last she learned the sad truth. Her husband had died long ago because of the unbearably hard toil, and his body had been put underground where he fell, under the Great Wall. Hearing this tragic news, Meng Chiang-nu fell into a swoon. Some of the builders tried to revive her, but it was a long while before she regained consciousness. When she did, she burst into a flood of tears, for several days on end, so that many of the toilers wept with her. So bitter was her lament that, suddenly, a length of over two hundred miles of the Great Wall came crumbling down, while a violent storm made the sand and bricks whirl about in the air. "It was Meng Chiang-nu who, by her tears, caused the Great Wall to crumble!" the people along the edifice told one another with amazement, at the same time filled with hatred of the cruel emperor, who caused nothing but misery to his subjects. When the emperor heard how Meng Chiang-nu had brought part of his Great Wall down, he immediately went to see for himself what sort of person she was. He found that she was as beautiful as a fairy, so he asked her to become his concubine. Meng Chiang-nu who hated him so deeply for his cruel ways would, of course, not consent to this. But she felt a ruse would serve her purpose better than frankness, so she answered amiably: "Yes, I will, if you do three things for me." The emperor then asked what these three things were and Meng Chiang-nu said: "The first is that you bury my husband in a golden coffin with a silver lid on it; the second is that all your ministers and generals go into mourning for my husband and attend his funeral; the third is that you attend his funeral yourself, wearing deep mourning as his son would do." Being so taken with her beauty, the emperor consented to her requests at once. Everything was, therefore, arranged accordingly. In funeral procession, Emperor Shih Huang walked closely behind the coffin, while a cortege of all his courtiers and generals followed him. The emperor anticipated happily the enjoyment the beautiful, new concubine would give him.
But Meng Chiang-nu, when she saw her husband properly buried, kowtowed before his tomb in homage to the deceased, crying bitterly for a long time. Then, all of a sudden, she jumped into the river that flowed close by the tomb. The emperor was infuriated at being thwarted in his desires. He ordered his attendants to pull her out of the water again. But before they could seize her, Meng Chiang-nu had turned into a beautiful, silvery fish and swam gracefully out of sight, deep down into the green-blue water.
I love how Chinese poems can rhyme equally well in English too, LOL... But seriously, there are plenty of published variations to this story and I won't belabor artistic license. However, all remember the monumental cruelty that was used to build the wall. With this in mind, many people regard the wall as simply the world's largest Chinese cemetery. Legend has it that tens of thousands of dead are entombed within it, buried where they fell from the harsh inhuman slave labor that was forced upon them.
Many people celebrate Qin ShiHuang as the First Emperor and laud his accomplishments like his consolidation of the Great Wall. I personally tend to think of the millions of nameless, forgotten people that died because of him during his reign. Chinese history unfortunately, isn't always very nice.
*** Sidebar *** The Great Wall varies from tourist trap (like the section at Badaling, near Beijing) to extreme, off the beaten path wilderness. Certain sections are so dangerous that it would be suicidal to attempt ascending unless one has special climbing equipment with a technical and advanced mountaineering support team. Try as I might, I was not able to gather any real statistics on Great Wall related accidents or deaths, which is unusual as every tourist location has accidents. In any case, I suspect that the PRC government doesn't really want to keep such statistics to begin with. In another forum dedicated to just information about the Great Wall, one writer told of how one tourist was killed, and offered some safety tips.
For whatever reason, someone has issues with this thread and had "Page Stacked" it. That is, someone had tagged one of the images (specifically the Thomson Island Temple on River Min picture) so that it was artificially accessed 12,115 times over a short period (average of about 300 hits for the other pictures during the same time frame). This was what triggered the excess bandwith usage stop in service.
I have since deleted that picture and reloaded it. When the monthly quota at Photobucket rolls over again (as per their site, on the 4th of the month; ie tomorrow, as I type this) it should start a new bandwidth tally and release access to the pictures again. Hopefully that should solve the problem. If admin can look into just blocking out access from Phlap.net servers, that may also help prevent these kinds of childish manipulations.
And again, thanks to all who love Chinese history. -blush2
Another beautiful picture from the Benjamin West Kilburn Company. Benjamin West Kilburn was an American photographer and stereoscopic view publisher primarily of US and Canadian landscape. However, his company also produced a significant amount of far international images, including the far east and China. Many of the images credited to his company were actually taken by "work for hire" free lance photographers.
Entitled: Singing Girls, Hong Kong, China [c1901] BW Kilburn [RESTORED] I repaired a few spots and scratches, added contrast, adjusted tone with a final sepia treatment. I also added a shadow to better define the outline of the bound foot of the girl on the right. The Original is behind the spoiler and can also be seen at the US LOC digital collection where I found this beautiful image Reproduction Number LC-USZ62-118904.
This has always been one of my favorite despite the posed nature of it. This picture was one of a set of several artificially propped shots that purportedly showed a slice of Chinese life during the turn of the 20th Century. Most of these posed situational images were insanely ridiculous but nevertheless, sold to ignorant and gullible western viewers as an intimate look into Chinese culture.
Arthur Rothstein (1915-1985) a native Bronx New Yorker, photographed the Great Depression through the aegis of the Farm Security Administration(FSA, a federal agency that was established in 1935 by Franklin D. Roosevelt to help keep a starving United States from dying). The FSA used photography to not only record and document the dust bowl conditions but to galvanize a nation's sentiments into providing political and financial assistance, in order to get American farmers back into productivity again. A legion of who's who in American photography (eg. Walker Evans, Gordon Parks, Carl Mydans, Dorothea Lange, etc.) got their start in the FSA. [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Rothstein likewise fell into that group, taking a classic picture of a man with his two young sons, running from a coming storm. [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The photograph, entitled [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Fleeing a Dust Storm[/FONT],[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif] became one that helped to define the poverty and destitution of an era. [/FONT]During WW2 Rothstein was employ again by the FSA (which by the time had been subordinated into the US Office of War Information). This sent him to various parts of the China, Burma and Indian theater, where he helped to document US efforts in assisting the locals fight the Japanese. Returning from the war, Rothstein became Director of Photography for Look Magazine (a sister publication of Life Magazine) until it's closing in 1971. He went on to be photo director for Parade Magazine.
Entitled: A Boat On A River With Rolling Hills In The Background, In The Kiangsu Province Or Yunnan Province In China  A Rothstein [RESTORED] I cleaned up a few spots, made minor adjustments to contrast, and added a sepia. The original image was found in the US Library of Congress, where it was digitized from a gelatin silver print. It is listed under Reproduction Number LC-DIG-ppmsca-07797.
William Purdom (1880-1921) was another explorer botanist that surveyed and collected northern Chinese flora along the Yellow River for three years, from 1909-1911; and in Tibet and Gansu, from 1914-1915. If anything, China fascinated the west and even its flora and fauna enthralled European and American academics. Many universities sent researchers to the Chinese interior in order to map and record the biodiversity of the Chinese hinterland. In addition to the wide variety of plant life that they recorded, they were also witness to the differences in culture and ethnicity of the region.
Entitled: Six Strongmen In Traditional Dress, China  W Purdom [RESTORED] Spot corrections, contrast and tonal adjustments; I also more clearly defined the faint mountain line in the background, and increased (doubled) the image size as the original was very small. This of course introduced a lot of jpeg magnification artifact that I then blended with uniform random noise.
The original was discovered in Harvard University's Library Collection using their VIA (Visual Information Access) Search engine. It is listed under Record Identifier: olvwork270371. Other information included stated: "...Strong men at August games (Mongol). Photo by Wm. Purdom, 1909-1911. Weichang Xian, Hebei Sheng, China"
Mongolian wrestling(Mongolian: бөх, Bökh meaning strength, solidarity and durability) is a martial art and a traditional style of Folk wrestling that has been practiced in Mongolia for nearly 2,000 years. Wrestling is the most important of the Mongolian culture's historic "Three Manly Skills", that also include horsemanship and archery, and plays a key role in their sacrificial rituals and festivals. Genghis Khan considered wrestling to be an important way to keep his army in good physical shape and combat ready. The Manchu dynasty (1646-1911) Imperial court held regular wrestling events, mainly between Manchu and Mongol wrestlers. There are two different versions, Mongolian (in the country of Mongolia), and Inner Mongolian (in northern China).
Edward Bangs Drew was a Harvard graduate that was hired and worked for the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs Service near the end of the Qing Dynasty. His papers, with some photographs of various or unknown attribution, were purchased from Lucy Drew (his daughter ) in 1949. They are currently on repository at the Edward Bangs Drew Collection of the Harvard-Yenching Library at Harvard University.
Entitled: Kidnapped Girls, Foochow, China  Attribution Unk [RESTORED] I did simple spot corrections, contrast and tonal adjustments and added a cool tone, similar to the old selenium toner effect on bromide paper (original is behind the spoiler).
From China: a history of the laws, manners, and customs of the people, Volume 1, John Henry Gray, 1878, MacMillan & Co., London, pgs 246-247:
...As might be expected, slavery gives rise to a great deal of kidnapping. Female children, in particular, are seized and taken to a distance from their homes in order that, when they have grown up, they may be sold as slaves, or, in some instances, to the proprietors of brothels. Kidnappers of children are severely dealt with. Women taking female children are sometimes flogged through the streets. Boys as well as girls are kidnapped and sold as slaves in the north of China. Men convicted of kidnapping boys are, in certain cases which I need not specify, punished with death. The chief of the band is decapitated, the second put to death by strangulation, and the others, who are regarded as guilty in a lesser degree, are transported for life...
This picture was found in the Edward Bangs Drew Collection held in the Harvard-Yenching Library of Harvard University. The accompanying information stated: "Kidnapped girls, Foochow, Found hidden in a junk by customs inspector. These girls would have been sold for slaves. Chinese characters on mount, left of image." The information further stated that the scene was in "Fuzhou, Fujian Sheng, China." However, those Chinese characters (seen in the original) printed on the mount tell a slightly different story: (As far as I can make out)"Kidnapped male and female children, totaling forty one, being held in foster homes, Lam Hing Lan Company, Customs detention of 23 kidnappers." If one examines the photograph closely, it become rather evident that several of the children are indeed, boys (by their clothing and hair styles). Only 27 of the supposed 41 child victims appear in the picture. Behind the spoiler is also a second picture, that seemed to be of boys who were old enough to at least be able to remember their own names. It seemed that the authorities then photographed the boys each holding a paper printed with their names. However, the exposure was too bright to render the written text clearly. Hence, it looks like someone then took the time to individually rewrite and reinforce each name on top of the photographic print. However, it seems that the one boy's name of the far left was unfortunately so obscured that it couldn't be read, and does not bear a rewritten name. This allows us to know that the picture with each child's name affixed was likely passed around or posted somewhere, attesting to at least some official effort by the government to reunite these kidnapping victims with their parents.
The selling of children into a life of servitude was not uncommon in China, as slaves were owned by many wealthy families. Poor families often looked upon it with a benign fatalism as a child sold into slavery was still better than a child starving to death. However, quite a few unscrupulous people kidnapped their neighbor's children, or even just random kids off the street, to fuel this sad economy. The kidnapping and selling of children (and even adults) continues to be a despicable, yet lucrative business in China, to this day.
I recently found a private trove of Boxer era images that have been scanned and generously posted to Flickr by member P.Parison. It seems that they were taken by one of his forebears, one Lieutenant Rene Parison, and the images are of museum or auction house quality. Please take the time to see his extensive collection, but with a bit of warning; his images do contain several photographs of capital punishment. At any rate, any budding Sinologist would know that that means heads rolling. If graphic images such as those upset you, then avoid his album #4. The rest are relatively safe.
Entitled: Jeunes Filles Chinoises (Young Chinese Girls) [c1901] R Parison [RESTORED] I spotted small defects, adjusted contrast, tone, and did some edge repair and corner reconstruction (original is behind the spoiler).
The above picture was from Parison's China album #4, with several others on the adjoining pages depicting brothels. I suspect that the young girls above were likely prostitutes (one obviously frighteningly young), several of which have bound feet. This image provides ample resonance to the previous image (by Edward Bangs Drew that was posted immediately before this one). Young girls were kidnapped and then sold to brothel owners, with some often knowing nothing else from early childhood except for the flesh trade; a profoundly sad bit of history.
Joseph Francis Charles Rock (1884-1962), is probably the most well known Asian botanist of his era. From 1908-1962, he was literally a driving force for the discovery and research of Asian flora. Arriving to Hawaii in 1907, he largely self taught himself the indigenous plant life to a point that he quickly became a recognized authority, and was hired on as the US Territory (Hawaii was not yet a US state) of Hawaii's first official botanist, and joined the University of Hawaii's faculty in 1911. Embarking on a series of trips from 1922 to 1949, he discovered and researched new botanical material from the Chinese southwest (Yunnan, Sichuan, southwest Gansu and eastern Tibet). Many of the plants species that he collected are now housed and can be seen in the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. As a keen scientific observer, he also took scrupulous notes of the people, culture and customs of the areas that he traversed, compiling and contributing a wealth of knowledge to our current understanding of those societies and times.
Entitled: Bowl Shaped Objects Scattered Outside A Building, Yunnan, China  JFC Rock [RESTORED] I did light spot and scratch retouching, adjusted contrasted and tones, and added a false gradation to the sky. The original can be found usingHarvard's VIA(Visual Information Access) search engine under Record Identifier olvwork286140, or can be seen behind the spoiler.
Salt is probably one of the most under appreciated commodities of the present day. Years ago, throughout the world, it was almost as valued as gold or silver, with special government departments devoted to the full time control of production, distribution and sales. In China, for hundreds of years, the salt trade was controlled by the imperial government. Illegal production or trade of salt was punishable by death. Salt smuggling or the illegal manufacture of it, entailed the participation of criminal gangs who would control territory; people would be murdered or killed for the needs of the activity, similar to the harsh and cutthroat nature of the cocaine or heroin trade of today. Rock's picture of the salt processing building was likely of a government approved or licensed operation; else he probably would not have survived the encounter. The picture above is of a salt drying house (notice the open slat walls to allow good air flow). Typically, salt is either taken from the sea or an underground mine as brine (salt in solution), and then recovered by the boiling off of the water, leaving the dried mineral residual (as seen in the above photo). The salt "cake" then takes the shape of the vessel in which it was dried in.
Another Ernest H. Wilson image. For those that don't remember from my previous annotations; 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.
Entitled: Ching Yang Temple, Chentu  EH Wilson [RESTORED] I corrected for the minor spots and scratches. It appears to me that the original negative plate suffered from too little agitation whilst undergoing development and was left with a variety of uneven developer streaks. I made corrections as best as I could, then boosted overall contrast, added a warm sepia, and whited out the sky.
The original was found in Harvard's University's Arnold Arboretum/Horticulture Library collection, and can be accessed with Record Identifier: olvwork288700, or seen behind the spoiler. Other information that was included on the page is as follows: "West Szechuan. Pavilion with ornate stone pillars. Ching Yang Temple, Chentu. Altitude 1700 ft"
A simple yet stunning architectural study of a small, but beautiful structure; this is a classic example of the kind of superb art that is imbued into functional forms throughout old China.
Frank Nicholas Meyer(1875-1918), worked for the US Department of Agriculture. Starting from 1905, he undertook several trips to China with a USDA mission to seek out plant life that may have economic value. Among the many edible and noteworthy crops that he introduced to the west were soybeans, bamboos, Chinese cabbage, bean sprouts, and water chestnuts. Forced to curtail his explorations because of civil unrest, he and his guide were traveling the Yangtze, accordingly with Meyer's plan to return to the US. While on the steamer, he either fell, jumped, or maybe was pushed off the boat into the Yangtze, where his body was later found. Frank Meyer was buried in Shanghai, and his death remains a mystery.
Entitled: Cake Of Millet & Jujubes, Peking, China  Frank N. Meyer [RESTORED] I retouched out a few spots, added contrast, and a sepia tone.
The image was found in Harvard University's Library Collection, using their VIA (Visual Information Access) Search Engine, under Record Identifier: olvwork282583. According to the image page: "Zizyphus sativa. Peking, China. A cake of proso (Panicum miliaceum) and jujubes, boiled together, a delicacy for the peasants and coolie classes of China. For 2 or 3 coppers one gets a nice fat slice. April 27, 1915"