Jinshan Temple, River Min, Fukien province, China. Photograph by John Thomson, 1870/1871.

  • Thomson, J. (John), 1837-1921.
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About this work


A temple on an island with a large spreading tree. Boats moored behind on the right hand side. The temple is Jinshan Temple, or the 'Pagoda Anchorage', as Thomson called it, is situated on the River Min, just west of Fuzhou. It is the only temple in Fujian that sits on the water. Due to the location, its style of construction is simple, with the result that not many visitors have been impressed by it. Thomson in his photograph, however, deliberately created a space so that the island appears to exist in isolation. This and the stillness of the water contribute to the effect of near-perfect serenity. The photograph seems to have been inspired by Taoist and Buddhist landscape art produced by Japanese and Chinese artists



Physical description

1 photograph : glass photonegative, wet collodion


The island joss-house, River Min Bears Thomson's negative number: "68"

References note

China through the lens of John Thomson, 1868-1872, Beijing: Beijing World Art Museum, 2009, p. 91 (reproduced)
Paisarn Piemmettawat, Siam through the lens of John Thomson 1865-66, including Angkor and coastal China, Bangkok: River Books, 2015, p. 140


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


Wellcome Collection 18760i


Where to find it

  • LocationStatusAccess
    Closed stores
    By appointmentManual request


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