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Fukien province, China: a sedan chair. Photograph by John Thomson, 1870-1871.

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

Selected images from this work

About this work


A man looking out of a sedan-chair, carried by three bearers. An aide-de-camp (?) holding flowers standing beside the chair. On the right a European-style building

Until the advent of motorised vehicles, the sedan chair was one of the main means of carriage in China. Mandarin officials and people of wealth and rank kept their own private sedans. Mandarin officials in particular, indicated their rank by means of marks on the frame and cover of their sedans, and by the number of bearers and footmen in attendance. Sedan chairs could also be hired, just like taxis in later times



Physical description

1 photograph : glass photonegative, wet collodion : stereograph


Mandarin in official chair


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

References note

China through the lens of John Thomson, 1868-1872, Beijing: Beijing World Art Museum, 2009, p. 117 (reproduced)

Lettering note

Bears Thomson's negative number: "662"


Wellcome Library no. 19568i


  • English

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