Peking, Pechili province, China: a travelling fruit-seller. Photograph by John Thomson, 1869.
- Thomson, J. 1837-1921.
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A man, with laden panniers, selling fruit outside a house. A boy leaning on a nearby pillar, looking at the fruit. Seems identical to Thomson's negative number 728. In imperial Beijing, shop-owners and travelling salesman were mainly Chinese or Muslims (although despite the shared business culture, the latter were considered to be lower down the social scale). They carried their 'shop' on their shoulders, walking from street to street while calling out to advertise their wares. Unlike today, back then it was the customer who had his own weighing machine to hand to ensure he received the amount he was paying for. Here a costermonger is calling out to would-be customers that he has brought to their doors the choicest grapes of the season
1 photograph : glass photonegative, wet collodion
This is one of a collection of original glass negatives made by John Thomson. The negatives, made between 1868 and 1872, were purchased from Thomson by Sir Henry Wellcome in 1921
John Thomson, Illustrations of China and its people, London, 1873-4, vol. IV, pl. XI, fig. 29, "A Pekingese costermonger"
China through the lens of John Thomson, 1868-1872, Beijing: Beijing World Art Museum, 2009, p. 48 (reproduced)
Wellcome Library no. 19710i