Amoy, Fukien province, China: two Manchu soldiers with John Thomson. Photograph by John Thomson, 1871.

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


Two men, armed with staves, in front of a latticework fence. At the extreme left hand side of the frame stands a European man with face whiskers, wearing a coat with a velvet collar. This is a self portrait of John Thomson

Amoy, or Xiamen, was the southern frontier of the Qing empire. Although the Manchu finally managed to conquer the region, it continued to cause great difficulties to imperial rulers. In 1729 the Qing court introduced its first anti-opium edict to the area, as a means of social control. Although in 1842 the Qing government was forced to grant the British the right to trade freely in Amoy, it continued to station its army there. In its attempt to suppress the local branch of Taping rebels, the Qing army was reported to have brutally slaughtered a great number of the natives. In this photograph, Thomson appears together with two Manchu soldiers. Possibly he was trying to show that the city had fallen into the hands of outsiders: the Manchu and the Europeans



Physical description

1 photograph : glass photonegative, wet collodion : stereograph ; glass approximately 10.5 x 21.5 cm (4 x 8 in.)


Honan soldiers Bears Thomson's negative number: "735"

References note

China through the lens of John Thomson, 1868-1872, Beijing: Beijing World Art Museum, 2009, p. 107 (reproduced)


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 19728i


Where to find it

  • LocationStatusAccess
    Closed stores
    By appointmentManual request


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