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Amoy (Xiamen), Fukien province, China: two field labourers. Photograph by John Thomson, 1871.

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

Selected images from this work

About this work


Two men, both wearing hats, one of them holding panniers of straw on a yoke, the other a basket. The doorway of a large building in the background

The men are two field labourers who pose for the camera, one carrying straw on his shoulder, the other with a food pot. According to John Thomson, the people in the Amoy area were quite poor: an able-bodied man earned five pence a day, while skilled workmen were only paid about eight pence. The hard life forced many to seek work abroad, for Chinese labourers were highly rated in America and Southeast Asian countries



Physical description

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


Amoy labourers


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

References note

China through the lens of John Thomson, 1868-1872, Beijing: Beijing World Art Museum, 2009, p. 112 (reproduced)

Lettering note

Bears Thomson's negative number: "736"


Wellcome Library no. 19730i


  • English

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