Trove of Old China Photos at the Visualising China Blog

While googling around for detail about Chinese compradors we came upon a post Last years of the comprador at the Visualising China Blog . This led Old China Books to Visualising China, “a web-based resource that allows users to explore more than 9,000 digitised images of historical photographs of China taken between 1870 and 1950. This tool, aimed at both researchers and more general users, brings information from related collections together with an interface that offers cross-searching and intuitive ways to filter image, video and textual resources according to time and geography.” The site is supported by the British Academy, “through its Academy Research Projects scheme, and from the Arts & Humanities Research Council, through an award to the British Inter-university China Centre.”

The Visualising China blog posts monthly blogs highlighting aspects of the collections to which the blog interfaces, and has a long list of links to those collections. As example of their articles, there is The Song of the River by Jamie Carstairs, posted in June of 2013, that discusses old photos of trackers and porters who pulled junks up rivers and shouldered heavy loads discharged from vessels up steep hillsides and long flights of stairs. Another representative article is Isabella Lucy Bird – photographer and traveller, posted by Carstairs in January 2014, that tells about this extraordinary lady who traveled in China in 1897 and wrote books full of photographs of the country as it was then, including The Yangtze Valley and Beyond, one of the many sources for Yang Shen.

In the Visualising China blog‘s Useful Links there are at least ninety entries for photo collections around the world that have photographs with China as their subject, including one we reference often, Virtual Shanghai, and another we posted about here, Beijing of Dreams. Many of these sites we have never visited, so Yang Shen will paging through them all, as well as the Visualising China website, looking for yet unseen visions of the world of China in the 1860s about which we write. And, of course, we have added the Visualising China blog to the list of Blogs We Follow.

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