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Sunday, 16 September 2012


Serene: A boat sails down a river in the Jiangsu province of China in 1946. The placid scene belies the turmoil of the previous half-century

Serene: A boat sails down a river in the Jiangsu province of China in 1946. The placid scene belies the rebellion, occupation, civil war and natural disasters of the previous half-century

Former US president and civil war general Ulysses S Grant meets Chinese viceroy Li Hung Chang in Tientsin, 1879. The two enjoyed friendly relations and discussed how to develop China and improve her trade with the world

Former US president and civil war general Ulysses S Grant meets Chinese viceroy Li Hung Chang in Tianjin, 1879. The two enjoyed friendly relations and discussed how to develop China and improve her trade with the world

A Russian soldier talks with Chinese camel owners in Beijing in 1901. Beijing was one of the many Chinese cities that remained under occupation by foreign powers in the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion of 1900

A Russian soldier talks with Chinese camel owners in Beijing in 1901. Beijing was one of the many Chinese cities that remained under occupation by foreign powers in the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion of 1900


The whipping or flogging with a paddle, known in Chinese as 'bastinado', was one of the many forms of corporal punishment employed in Qing China to maintain civil obedience

The whipping or flogging with a paddle, known in Chinese as 'bastinado', was one of the many forms of corporal punishment employed in Qing China to maintain civil obedience

Boxer Prisoners in Tientsin in 1901. Their captors - soldiers of the 6th US Cavalry - can be seen in the background

Boxer Prisoners in Tianjin in 1901. Their captors - soldiers of the 6th US Cavalry - can be seen in the background

Armed guards escort carts through the southern gate of the Imperial City in Beijing, 1901. Considered the ceremonial gateway to China, the archway had stood since Ming times

Armed guards escort carts through the southern gate of the Imperial City in Beijing, 1901. The archway was considered the ceremonial gateway to China




Maintaining law and order: The police force of turn-of-the-century Canton used these bridges to patrol the roofs of the city at night

On the prowl: The police force of turn-of-the-century Canton used these bridges to patrol the roofs of the city at night

East meets West: Children at the Peking Christian Mission School, in modern-day Beijing, form a dragon's head for the American photographer, Carlton H Graves

East meets West: Children at the Peking Christian Mission School, in modern-day Beijing, form a dragon's head for the American photographer, Carlton H Graves


'Ladies of the Palace' photographed by Frank Carpenter and his daughter Frances. The picture shows the rich detail of court fashion during the last years of the Manchu Qing dynasty

'Ladies of the Palace' photographed by Frank Carpenter and his daughter Frances. The picture shows the rich detail of court fashion during the last years of the Manchu Qing dynasty

A Manchu girl shows off the dress typical of the ruling Qing dynasty. The picture is from the mid nineteenth-century collection of William Lockhart, a British missionary who founded the first Western hospital in Shanghai

A Manchu girl shows off the dress typical of the ruling Qing dynasty. The picture is from the mid nineteenth-century collection of William Lockhart, a British missionary who founded the first Western hospital in Shanghai

This picture of two singing girls in Hong Kong was one of a series of posed shots by American photographer Benjamin W. Kilburn, which purported to show a slice of Chinese life around the turn of the century

This picture of two singing girls in Hong Kong was one of a series of posed shots by American photographer Benjamin W. Kilburn, which purported to show a slice of Chinese life around the turn of the century

The last Emperor: Pu Yi
Tragic: Wan Rong

The last Emperor of China: Pu Yi (left) reigned from the age of 2 in 1908 until the declaration of a Republic in 1912. In 1922 Wan Rong (right) was chosen to be his Empress. Ignored by her powerless husband, she would eventually die from malnutrition and opium withdrawal in a squalid Communist prison

Hardship: Workers stand barefoot at the mouth of a coalmine in the hills of rural China

The hardship of the country: Workers stand barefoot at the mouth of a coalmine in the hills of rural China

A bride wears a basket in lieu of a veil to obscure her face before her wedding. It was Chinese custom to not allow anyone to see the bride until she was secure in her new husband's home

A bride wears a basket in lieu of a veil to obscure her face before her wedding. It was Chinese custom to not allow anyone to see the bride until she was secure in her new husband's home

A group of five men proudly display a leopard they have shot in a mission compound. The photographer, an American clergyman was killed by bandits while ministering to the Christians in 1945

A group of five men proudly display a leopard they have shot in a mission compound. The photographer, an American clergyman was killed by bandits while ministering to Christians in 1945

The bustle of the city: Hong Kong's Queen's Road on Chinese New Year's Day 1902

The bustle of the city: Hong Kong's Queen's Road on Chinese New Year's Day 1902


The Chinese labourers in this South African gold mine show the global reach of Chinese emigrants, driven from their homeland by famine and social upheaval

The Chinese labourers in this South African gold mine show the global reach of Chinese emigrants, driven from their homeland by famine and social upheaval

A toy vendor shows off his wares in San Francisco's Chinatown around 1900. Immigration controls and strict marriage laws meant that the two Chinese children in this picture would have been an unusual sight

A toy vendor shows off his wares in San Francisco's Chinatown around 1900. Immigration controls and strict marriage laws meant that the two Chinese children in this picture would have been an unusual sight


On a Washington airstrip in 1939 Colonel Roscoe Turner presents Chinese aviatrix Hilda Yen with the aeroplane that would nearly kill her in a crash a month later

On a Washington airstrip in 1939 Colonel Roscoe Turner presents Chinese aviatrix Hilda Yen with the aeroplane that would nearly kill her in a crash a month later

A military vehicle makes it way through a mountainous region of the Jiangsu province, 1946

A military vehicle makes it way through a mountainous region of the Jiangsu province, 1946

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