Toy Vendor, Chinatown, San Francisco [c1900s] Arnold Genthe [RESTORED]
Toy Vendor in Chinatown, San Francisco

China, Manchu Ladies Of The Palace Being Warned To Stop Smoking [c1910-1925] Frank & Frances Carpenter [RESTORED]
Manchurian ladies (plus a creepy man in the background!)

Chinese Aviatrix Receives Gift Of New Plane From Colonel Roscoe Turner, Washington, D.C. [1939] Harris & Ewing [RESTORED]
Chinese Aviatrix Receives Gift of New Plane

My dad forwarded me an email full of these gorgeous photos of old Chinese culture, taken between the late 1800s and early 1900s, and I fell in love. Some are romantic and some are kitschy, but all of them have oodles of character. Thanks to Google’s new image search function, I found out that they aren’t all taken by the same photographer, but were compiled and restored by the same person on flickr, ralphrepo. He’s done an amazing job of restoring them, and researching the history behind every photograph, so I strongly recommend that you brew a cup of tea, click through each image, and have a good pre-bedtime read :) These three are my favourites.

Cholon Actress, Cholon, Saigon, French Cochinchina [c1900's] Attribution Unk [RESTORED]

Greatwall China [1907] Herbert G. Ponting [RESTORED]Gorgeous shot of the Great Wall. I like the men in the foreground.

Two Amoy Women, Fukien Province, China [1871] John Thomson

Manchu Bride In Her Wedding Clothes, Peking, Pechili Province, China [1871] John ThomsonI love that you can guess at the relationship between these two women. The bride looks jittery!

Peking Mission School Children At Play, The Dragon's Head, China [1902] Carlton H. Graves Co [RESTORED]Adore this one of children playing at school.

Taiwan Aborigines, Bunun Tribe, Formosa [c1900] Attribution Unk [RESTORED]Taiwan Aborigines

Bridges By Which The Night Police Of The Roofs Cross The Streets, Canton, China [1900] Underwood & Co. [RESTORED]Bridges that the Night Police used to cross the roofs!

Bomb Protection [c1940] Attribution Unk [RESTORED]War-time? I wonder why there’s a swastika painted on a roof.

Stele Pavilion, SacredWay, Ming Tombs, Peking, China [c1900] Attribution Unk [RESTORED]

Chang The Chinese Giant [c1870] Attribution Unk [RESTORED]Chang the Chinese Giant

Peking To Paris Autorace [1907] Attribution Unk [RESTORED]Peking to Paris Autorace

Muslim Bandits, Xinjiang, China [c1915] Marc Aurel Stein [RESTORED]Muslim bandits, Xinjiang

Canton, China [c1880] R.H. Brown [RESTORED]

Kampa Dzong, Tibet [1904] John C. White [RESTORED]Tibet

Jade Belt Bridge & Boat, Summer Palace, Peking, China [c1924] Sidney D. Gamble [RESTORED]

The Meridian Gate, Entrance To The Forbidden City, Peking China [1927] Herbert C. White [RESTORED]

Men Laden With Tea, Sichuan Sheng, China [1908] Ernest H. Wilson [RESTORED]
Tea laborers

Natives At Breakfast, Movable Chow Shop, Canton, China [c1919] Keystone View Co. [RESTORED]

This one is so hilarious to me because it’s so kitschy and overly styled! Even the title sounds silly – Natives At Breakfast, Movable Chow Shop, Canton, China. Ralphrepo suggests that this, and the following two images were all taken in the same studio at the same time (note the floor tiles in every photograph), by the same American photographers who tried to capture a ‘real’ slice of Chinese culture.

Singing Girls, Hong Kong, China [c1901] Benjamin W. Kilburn Co. [RESTORED]

Rich Merchants Dining With Singing Girls, Pekin, China [c1901] Benjamin W. Kilburn [RESTORED]

Imperial Gate Of The Imperial City, Looking North, Peking, China [1901] Hawley C. White Co. [RESTORED]

4 thoughts on “Orient

  1. Omg these are so cool! They speak to the history nerd & photographer in me!
    Btw, swastikas are also a Buddhist symbol so it may not be a wartime thing. Also I don’t think the Nazis made it to China ;)

    1. oops, thanks! the guy on flickr noticed it but didn’t know why it was there too. you can comment on his flickr page and set him straight?

      glad you love these, miss you xoxo

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