China: a standing Manchu official, Beijing. Photograph by John Thomson, 1869.
- Thomson, J. (John), 1837-1921
Selected images from this work
About this work
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
Where to find it
Location Status AccessClosed stores By appointment Manual request