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China: a standing Manchu official, Beijing. Photograph by John Thomson, 1869.

  • Thomson, J. (John), 1837-1921
Date
1869
Reference
19560i
  • Pictures

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About this work

Description

A man standing indoors, reaching out to a plant in a pot. Another man (a servant?) stands in the background. This man wears a Manchu-style silk robe, a hat and spectacles, an outfit that suggests he is of some wealth and the holder of an official rank. He seems to be the same Manchu official who is shown in no. 19578i. The foreign spectacles further convey his prestige. In China, photographs were always related to wealth and status. Thus like this man, most people looked straight at camera and were photographed in full: clothes offered visual evidence of a man’s worth, while full body photograph captured a larger part of the all-important backdrop. Furthermore, because funeral portraits were always half-length, a general taboo developed in which half-length photographs were deemed unsuitable for the living

Publication/Creation

1869

Physical description

1 photograph : glass photonegative, wet collodion : stereograph

Lettering

Manchu

Notes

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: "658"

References note

China through the lens of John Thomson, 1868-1872, Beijing: Beijing World Art Museum, 2009, p. 30 (reproduced)

Reference

Wellcome Library no. 19560i

Languages

  • English

Subjects


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