Looking at old photos is a visual way to get a feel for China’s history in the late Qing period.
Time flies, black and white photographs have captured moments of Chinese society and people’s life under the regime at that time.
In November 1908, Pu Yi was less than 3 years old when he was made Emperor. After ascending the throne, he and his father (Regent King Tai Phong) and his younger brother Pho Kiet took turns taking photos together. This made him the only Emperor of the Qing Dynasty to leave the most photographic records during his reign.
This photo was taken in early 1912, the same time Puyi abdicated. At that time, only 6 years old Pu Nghi was controlled by the empress Dowager Long Yu and forced to abdicate, declaring the end of the Qing court. Empress Dowager Long Yu revealed only half of her face and sat in the back. The action was clear: Emperor Pu Yi sat on the other side, but it was she who presided over the Qing dynasty.
The photo above is really interesting! Many men crowded to look at the camera from outside the door, each of them showed different expressions. Smiling, surprised, worried, curious, stunned, … all have enough.
The picture of a mother holding her son contains a sacred motherly love. The baby lies neatly in the mother’s arms, peacefully sleeping soundly, without worries. The mother sat on the chair to take pictures, but her eyes did not look at the camera, but tenderly looked at her sleeping son in her lap.
Wedding scenes were one of the favorite subjects of late Qing Dynasty photographers. The picture above captures a traditional Chinese wedding procession including the bride and groom’s palanquin, an umbrella, a wedding table, and a wedding party of more than 20 people.
After the rise of the Peace Corps, Tu Hi decided to change the diplomatic method, no longer holding hatred towards Westerners, put an end to enmity, and instead strengthened peace and built friendship. Under her direction, the royal women in the palace in turn made friends with the lady and princess of the country, promoting joint photo-taking and gift-giving activities.
This photo is a joint photo of two men from quite wealthy families. Because in order to take the best picture, the two wore the most expensive and trendy clothes. The content of the photo reflects the fashion concept of men at that time.
The job of recruiting to the palace falls under the duties of the Home Office. The girl was chosen to enter the Imperial Palace to serve the master, wash, sweep the house and do other daily chores. From the picture, it can be seen that the subjects participating in the selection are girls of all ages, with priority given to girls. In front of each child in the picture hangs a wooden tag stating whose daughter it is. Through a selection process by the Home Office, selected girls will be led away by the eunuch and taught the rules of the palace, those who are not selected will return the wooden card and be sent back home.
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