John Thomson’s Remarkable Photographs of China from the 1870s – Design You Trust

John Thomson’s Remarkable Photographs of China from the 1870s

Portrait of Young Manchu Woman in her Wedding Dress.

John Thomson (1837-1921) created work that was ground-breaking and pioneering. Far more pioneering than an innovative coiffure or a teen’s product placement on YouTube.

Thomson was an Edinburgh-born photographer who travelled to China in the late 1860s. From 1870-71, Thomson travelled extensively in China photographing the people he met, documenting their customs, lives, costumes, and traditions. Thomson feared much of China’s culture would be swamped by the expansion of Empire and the opening of trading routes.

More: Wikipedia h/t: flashbak

A Manchu lady wearing a coiffure.

Thomson travelled with a camera the size of a large packing crate. He used the collodion process or wet plate process which was a time-consuming and difficult. Thomson hoped his work would bring an appreciation of the rich diversity of ethnicity and culture to Victorian Britain. That he succeeded and his works are still held in high esteem today is testament to Thomson’s pioneering work as a photographer.

Mandarin and Son.

A Mandarin’s house.

Old Chinese woman with elaborate hair style.

A Pekingese chiropodist.

A painter at work.

Manchu lady having her hair styled.

Manchu Lady and her Maid.

Three men, two older with beards, one younger with a moustache.

A Cantonese boat girl.

A man, with laden panniers, selling fruit outside a house.

A tradesman selling vases on the street.

An old Mongol woman and her horse.

A Nightwatchman, Peking.

Manchu women buying flowers for their headdress.

Prince Kung, now about forty years of age, is the sixth son of the Emperor Tao Kwang, who reigned from A.D. 1820 to 1850. He is a younger brother of the late Emperor Hien-foong, and, consequently an uncle to the reigning Emperor Tung-che.

Camel sculptures on the road to the Ming tombs.

Island Pagoda.

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

If you want more awesome content, subscribe to 'Oh, Design You Trust,' our brand new Facebook page! Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

More Inspiring Stories

Guardian Readers' Travel Photography Competition: July 2018 Winners
Red, White, Blue and Awkward: 20 Hilarious 4th of July Family Photos From the 1980s and 1990s
Photographer Fell In Love With Iceland And Moved There To Capture Its Captivating Nature
Instagram Helps Hide the Harsh Reality of Life in India
Chinese Artist Hides Optical Illusions in Plain Sight
2019 New York City Taxi Drivers Calendar Is Here!
Palermo Viejo: Photographer Captured Abandoned Vintage Cars in Italy
2 New and Awesome Wall Decal Collections from PIXERS
Inspiring & Rare Color Photographs Of Everyday Life In Hong Kong From The Photographer Fan Ho
Amazing Hand Painting Illusions By Ray Massey And Annie Ralli
A Photographer Compares Portraits of Cats and Their Owners, and the Results Are Too Similar to Be Ignored
These Portraits Show How People Are Just Like Their Pets
Photographer Anthimos Ntagkas Captures Mystically Unexpected Street Pictures
This Is Truly Heavenly Weather As Pictures Taken From An Airplane Cockpit Reveal What Pilots See From Above
September 10-11: These Days In Photos From The Past
Recent Entries For The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2017
The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers Awards
The Monster Building: Photographer Tristan Zhou Captures Epic Photos Of Dystopian Asian Cityscapes
Vintage Pictures of Snow King Chairlifts without Any Safety Bars that Look Very Unsafe, 1950-1970
The Dreadful Beauty Of Abandoned Places
Rosie Hardy Escapes Into Fantasy Worlds Through Her Self Portraits
Photographer Spent An Entire Year Trying To Get Permission To Photograph The Empty Moscow Subway
Stunning Color Photos Captured The Life At Beaches Of Chile In The 1980s
Photographer Took Photos Of Pan Bottoms, Which Are Visually Similar To A Planet’s Surface