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Pailou at Dagao Hall, Beijing, China, John Thomson

J. Thomson

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Credit: Pailou at Dagao Hall, Beijing, China, John Thomson. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

About this work


Arch near Peking. An old man on the right. In imperial China, any man might obtain permission from the emperor to erect a Pailou or honorary portal in honour of himself, his children or his deceased parents. This example was originally situated outside of Daoist Dagao Temple in the north of the Forbidden City. It was built by the Jiajing Emperor in 1542, who came here seeking immortality. In the years that followed, various emperors from Ming to Qing visited Dagao Hall in order to pray for rain. After 1949 this particular pailou was relocated to the northwest of Beijing, by Lake Lue-Yan. 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.



Bears Thomson's negative number: "551a"


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