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Fangguangyan monastery, Fujian province, China: three monks at the meal table. Photograph by John Thomson, 1870-18711.

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

Selected images from this work

About this work


Fangguanyan monastery was located in Yongtai county about 30 kilometres from Fuzhou, on the upper reach of the Min River. Here three monks of Fangguangyan are at the meal table. The youngest one was a boy 'full of vivacity'. According to Thomson their diet comprised only vegetables. However, he noted that all three of them were smokers and liked to indulge in tobacco. Thomson also suspected that the older man smoked opium. Fujian, being a sub-tropical country, harboured a variety of tropical diseases, including malaria. At the time people regularly used opium and tobacco as a prophylactic against malaria and as relief for miasmic fevers. The right-hand frame of the photograph is crossed through



Physical description

1 photograph : glass photonegative, wet collodion : stereograph


Blind Buddhist bonzu


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: "783"

References note

China through the lens of John Thomson, 1868-1872, Beijing: Beijing World Art Museum, 2009, p. 87 (reproduced)


Wellcome Library no. 19830i


  • English

Where to find it

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