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Foochow, Fukien province, China: a woman carrying buckets of night-soil. Photograph by John Thomson, 1871.

  • Thomson, J. (John), 1837-1921.
  • Pictures

Selected images from this work

About this work


A woman holding panniers suspended from a yoke on her shoulders, standing outside by the wall of a house. This photograph was taken near to a tea plantation on terraced hills just outside of Fuzhou. Terraced fields were common in the Fujian countryside. To fertilize them the native women had to transport human manure from the city of Fuzhou. They did not bind their feet, and they carried the same burdens as the men did. Hard work rendered these women strong and healthy. According to Thomson, 'their olive cheeks are warmed with a glow of colour'



Physical description

1 photograph : glass photonegative, wet collodion : stereograph


Amoy field woman, Foochow field woman


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

Lettering note

Bears Thomson's negative number: "733"

References note

China through the lens of John Thomson, 1868-1872, Beijing: Beijing World Art Museum, 2009, p. 97 (reproduced)


Wellcome Library no. 19724i


  • English

Where to find it

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